Whether one is trying to conceive or not, late period can result to a great deal of stress, worry, confusion, and conjecture for any woman. Especially if one wishes to have a baby, having late period usually builds up anticipations of being pregnant but a negative pregnancy test can be a disheartening experience. Though both are seemingly contradicting situations and very common, there are quite a number of potential explanations for it. Normally, there are reasons other than pregnancy for a late or missed period, and likewise there can be possible situations where a late period is indeed due to pregnancy, but still one receives a negative test result.
Unlike the common belief, conception in most cases is not the only reason for having a late or missed period. Cramping, breast tenderness, light spotting, elevated body temperature, morning sickness, etc., are some common pregnancy symptoms that should be kept in mind to clear the doubts that may develop about being pregnant, if one has a late period. No symptoms other than these, can actually confirm whether one is pregnant or not. However, some of the possible reasons for late period are given below:
Irregular Periods: Whether one usually experiences irregular periods or not, it is completely normal to experience some variation in the length of the menstrual cycle. Late ovulation or miscalculating the cycle can be a few good reasons for a late or missed period.
Stress: Long periods of stress or anxiety are considered to be one of the main late period causes in women. Such conditions produce specific hormones in the body that disrupt the balance of reproductive hormones and delay ovulation, hence causing irregular menstruation.
Thyroid Problem: Women affected by problems related to thyroid gland (the gland that controls body's metabolism) are likely to have irregular or late periods. Besides this, extreme tiredness, hair loss, weight gain, etc., are some other symptoms observed in women having thyroid problems. However, it is not a severe health disorder and can be treated with medications.
Birth Control Pills: Birth control pills or contraceptives artificially control the balance of reproductive hormones in the body, hence even if a woman stops taking them it takes a few months to get back to the natural rhythm of menstrual cycle. Hence, intake of these pills can lead to a late period and sometimes no period in a woman.
Weight Problems: Being under or over weight can also contribute to a late or missed period as it disrupts the hormonal balance that maintains the menstrual cycle and ability to conceive.
Premature Menopause: A premature menopause can be another possibility for a late or missed period that can be diagnosed by measuring the FSH blood level on the third day of the menstrual cycle. Increased levels of FSH show that the body is working extremely hard to stimulate follicular development.
Causes for a Negative Pregnancy Test
A pregnancy test primarily detects the presence of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the urine which is released by the body once the fertilized egg implants in the inner lining of the uterus. Though the home pregnancy test is considered to be one of the most simplest option to check for the same, sometimes it is not 100% accurate and so a woman may be pregnant but still the test shows a result that is not positive.
Early Test Conduction: One of the main cause for a false negative pregnancy test can be early detection attempt i.e. performing the test at a very early stage. As mentioned above, the test detects the presence of hCG hormone, which is secreted by the developing placenta after a woman conceives and takes 6-8 days to rise up to a level at which it can be detected in the test.
Unreliable Method of Conduction: Another reason can be incorrect technique of conducting the test or not performing the test properly. Drinking lots of fluids before conducting the test can dilute the concentration of hCG hormones in the urine. Hence, it is advisable to perform the test by using the first morning urine, as it contains the maximum amount of hCG hormones in it.
Reading before Stipulated Reaction Time: Interpreting the test results before or after the stipulated reaction time given on the pregnancy kit can also be a probable cause for a false test.
While using a home pregnancy test, it is recommended to conduct the test twice or thrice on consecutive days to confirm the results. Or if you have a late period and yet a negative test, it is better to consult the gynecologist for proper diagnoses and treatment, if necessary.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.