Late Period?—5 Reasons Other Than Pregnancy

Late Period?—5 Reasons Other Than Pregnancy

There’s one obvious reason for not getting your period —you’re pregnant! But if you’re not planning to become pregnant and know you’re not, you may wonder why your period is late. It happens to all of us every once in awhile. Read on to learn some potential reasons your period is late that have nothing to do with babies.

Excessive exercise or major weight loss.

This is a reason I see not that infrequently in my office,” says ob-gyn Alyssa Dweck, MD, coauthor of V is for Vagina. “If your BMI rapidly dips below 18 or 19, you may start to miss periods.” It’s not only based on BMI, though. Yes, serious illnesses such as anorexia and bulimia can cause missed periods, but excessive workouts can, too. “Nature has a way of protecting you from getting pregnant if your body is under such extreme stress. Your body prevents ovulation so you don’t have a lot of estrogen, don’t build a big uterine lining, and then don’t get a period,” says Dweck.

Thyroid issues.

Your thyroid regulates your metabolism and interacts with a lot of other systems in your body to keep things running OK. If you’re dealing with any type of thyroid imbalance, whether it’s hypo- or hyperthyroidism, that can have implications for your period,” says Dweck. Make sure to visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis or rule-out if you suspect any thyroid disorder.


An event in your life that is significant and scary can cause “hypothalamic amenorrhea“. “This particular area of the brain, the hypothalamus, is where a lot of the hormones for your period are regulated,” says Dweck. Stress greatly affects the hypothalamus. You may be dealing with a death, breakup, big move, or any other life event that’s keeping your period from arriving on time.

Polycystic Ovary Symptom (PCOS).

PCOS is an imbalance in the hormones and a lack of ovulation. This means there are altered levels of estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. “We’re seeing a lot more of this, although there are varying degrees. It can cause you to completely miss your period or just not menstruate regularly,” says Dweck. Additional symptoms of PCOS include hair growth on the chest and face, possible fertility issues, and trouble losing weight.

Premature menopause.

Women under 40 may have hormones that are fluctuating significantly and this might mean they’re experiencing premature menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure. Missed periods are accompanied by night sweats, vaginal dryness, and hot flashes. This isn’t very common, fortunately. As always, make sure to check in with your doctor for a proper examination and diagnosis.



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