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Reasons for a Missed Period

Reasons for a Missed Period

A regular menstrual cycle indicates good health. However, most women do miss their periods at some point of time or the other. There are many reasons for a missed period other than pregnancy.
Bhakti Satalkar
Last Updated: Dec 31, 2017
On an average, women have 11-13 menstrual cycles per year. However, the number of menstrual cycles may increase or decrease under certain circumstances. Menstrual cycle usually lasts for 28-35 days, which is why you need to determine what is normal for you. It is important to note that periods are irregular for the first few years after the onset of menstruation. This irregularity is again experienced when a woman reaches menopause.
Reasons for a Skipped Period

There are many factors which can cause you to miss a period.
Hormonal Imbalance
It is the interplay between hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, that brings about various physical changes in women during different phases of their lives. Menstrual bleeding occurs due to the shedding of the uterine lining, which in turn occurs if the released ovum doesn't get fertilized with a sperm. If the levels of estrogen and progesterone are lower or higher than usual, processes involving thickening of uterine lining, release of ovum, etc., are likely to get adversely affected. The duration of the menstrual cycle could change, and other symptoms may appear due to such a hormonal imbalance.
Pregnancy
Pregnancy causes a missed period. You can make use of a urine pregnancy test or blood pregnancy test to confirm whether or not you are pregnant. However, it is advisable to practice birth control measures if you are not planning a child.
Perimenopause and Menopause
Menopause is that stage in life, when the menstrual cycle stops. As women age, they may stop ovulating and menstruating. Perimenopause occurs before menopause sets in. Estrogen predominance and low progesterone levels could be responsible for irregularities in the menstrual cycle. This phase is characterized by an irregular menstrual cycle. However, remember to take precautions if you do not want to get pregnant, as you still have chances of conceiving.
Work Schedule
If you work in shifts, and have recently changed from night-shifts to day-shifts or vice versa, there are chances that your work schedule is responsible for your skipped period. The change in shifts results in disturbance in the functioning of the body's biological clock. It is, therefore, important that you take adequate sleep, irrespective of the shift you work in.
Stress
One of the main causes that can give rise to a lot of physiological problems is stress. Amongst them, one is a decrease in the amount of hormones which cause ovulation and menstruation. You will have to find ways of relaxing yourself so that your schedule comes back to normal.
Weight Issue
If you are overweight, it can cause a hormonal imbalance. Such a condition can cause a shift in the menstrual cycle. On the other hand, if you are underweight, your periods might get delayed. Excessive weight loss or weight gain in a short period of time can also be reasons for missed or irregular periods.
Miscalculation
Although an average menstrual cycle is said to be of 28 days, it can differ from woman to woman. In case you have a history of irregular periods, and if you understand when you ovulate, you should count 15 days after ovulation to get the exact date of your menstrual cycle.
Drugs and Medication
Change in medication can cause a delayed period. If you have recently changed your medicines, then it is suggested that you talk to your healthcare professional to know about the side effects of the new medicines. Infertility, which sometimes results from taking birth control pills, is also attributed to irregular periods. Birth control pills are especially known to contribute to this condition due to the low levels of estrogen they contain. Progesterone-only pills can also be the reason for a skipped period.
Excessive Exercise
This is often the common cause in athletes and women who have a rigorous exercise schedule.
Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding a child can also be a contributing factor to a missed period. The menstrual cycle becomes regular again, once the mother stops nursing the child.
Health Problems
Illness, very often, can be one of the causes for a missed period. The duration of the illness can be short or long, and this is what hampers the regularity of a menstrual cycle. This is usually a temporary phase which gets rectified on its own, without any medical intervention. If none of the above-mentioned reasons are the causes, there is a possibility of health complications such as, tumors and problems in the ovaries, thyroid, pituitary, etc. Although these problems are rare, you need to take care of your health and wellness.
If none of the above reasons hold true for you, and you still haven't got your period for three months, it is time for you to see a healthcare professional.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is solely for informative purpose and not intended to replace the advice of medical experts.