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Some women live with irregular periods, and so do not fret over late periods. For others, however, a missed period could be cause for alarm. If you’re one of those latter women, you may wonder if there are reasons, aside from the obvious, that your period is MIA.
The good news is, there are several possible reasons for a period that pulls a no-show.
Given the current state of events, it’s understandable that you’re under a lot of stress. Excess stress is one of the most common reasons for a missed period. Cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone, can suppress a number of bodily systems, including the digestive system, the immune system, and yes, the reproductive system. Over time, uncontrolled stress can lead to sudden weight changes, which is another factor that also negatively affects the monthly cycle. If you think stress is the reason behind your late cycle, take up exercise and practice relaxation techniques to see if that helps to get things back on track.
2. Birth Control
Many birth controls these days are designed to prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs, according to Healthline. Once you quit taking your birth control, it may take up to six months for your cycle to become consistent again. Other types of birth control, such as the IUD or patch, can stop your periods from coming altogether.
3. Early Peri-Menopause
Though somewhat uncommon, some women begin to develop signs of menopause in their early 40s, as opposed to the standard 45-55 range. If you experience missed periods before you are 45, you could have this condition, which simply means your ovaries are beginning to slowly reduce your egg supply. This may lead to late periods, periods that never come, and, eventually, the end of menstruation entirely.
4. Weight Gain or Loss
Both excessive weight gain and weight loss can cause hormonal changes. Women who weigh 10% or more below the normal range for their height may experience several missed periods. In fact, a woman’s menstrual cycle may not return to normal until after she obtains a healthy BMI.
On the flip side of the same coin, young women who are overweight can also experience hormonal changes. If your doctor determines your weight is the culprit, he or she may recommend a diet and fitness regime.
5. Chronic Disease
Chronic conditions such as celiac disease and diabetes can cause a woman to live with irregular menstrual cycles. This is especially the case if the woman doesn’t get her condition under control quickly. Blood sugar levels that either too high or too low can cause hormonal changes that have been known to affect the menstrual cycle. Celiac disease, if left untreated, can damage the small intestine and hinder the body’s ability to absorb key nutrients necessary to menstruation.
6. Thyroid Issues
A thyroid that is over- or underactive can impair the body’s ability to regulate metabolism. This may lead to changes in hormone production, which would account for a missed period. By taking certain medications, you can correct the condition and return to a normal cycle.
If you do not live with chronic stress, are of a healthy weight, do not take birth control, do not currently live with any health conditions, and are sexually active, there may be a very good chance that you are pregnant. If you suspect this is the reason behind your late period, take a test now and then again in another two weeks.
If you are missing one or several periods, the best thing you can do is to visit your primary care physician. Your doctor can run health screenings and possibly a few tests to determine the cause behind your missed period.