Missed Periods: Possible Causes You Should Know About

March 25, 2019
If you aren't getting your period, the first thing you need to do is see a specialist. Only a medical doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis based on a physical exam and, if necessary, further testing. 

Delayed or missed periods are a frequent cause of worry among women. The possible causes are diverse and, more often than not, benign. However, it’s still good to know what might be behind you not getting your period.

When maternity isn’t within a woman’s plan and she’s sexually active, it’s normal to experience a certain “fear” in the face of a late or missed period. However, there are many factors that can affect a woman’s body in this way. The most well-known cause is stress.

Below, we’ll mention some of the most common causes behind missed periods. It’s important to mention that if you believe one of these cases applies to you, you should see your doctor

Reasons for missed periods

1. Stress

Stress can end up having such an effect that our bodies can produce a variety of physical symptoms. Various alterations can result, including the absence of menstruation.

It’s important to remember that stress can modify the normal functioning of the hypothalamus. This is the part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland.

This gland, in turn, is responsible for releasing estrogen and progesterone. Both of these hormones play a very important role in the menstrual cycle.

Missed Periods: Possible Causes You Should Know About

2. Medication

Absent or irregular menstrual periods can be part of the side effects of some medications. In fact, psychiatric medications like antidepressants as well as some cancer treatment drugs can produce delayed and missed periods.

Hormonal contraceptives can also come to cause missed periods. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a gynecologist to determine if the current hormonal treatment is the best option.

Non-hormonal contraceptives don’t have any effect on menstruation, as opposed to hormonal birth control methods.

3. Increased physical activity

If women increase their physical activity in a disproportionate or excessive manner, this may alter their menstrual cycle. Therefore, they may experience delayed periods, or an absence of menstruation all together.

At the same time, performing intense physical exercise can cause periods not to come.

4. Unhealthy weight

Women who are either underweight or overweight can suffer alterations in their menstrual cycle.

In fact, an unhealthy body weight can cause a woman’s body to produce too much androgen, as well as other hormones. This leads to an alteration in ovulation which, in turn, affects menstruation.

If your weight isn’t within a healthy range and you haven’t been getting your period, you should see a physician or gynecologist. Also, a nutritionist can further help you readjust your eating habits to recover your health.

5. Ovarian problems

If your period isn’t coming regularly, you may be suffering from some gynecological condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome. This condition is the result of a hormonal imbalance that can lead to the loss of menstruation.

This imbalance is characterized by the presence of multiple cysts and abnormally high androgen levels.

Polycystic ovary syndrome may involve other symptoms, such as unusual hair growth, acne breakouts, weight gain and diabetes. In this case, it’s best to see a doctor.

6. Poor nutrition

Unfortunately, this is a factor that many women are unaware of. Diets that are overly strict or too low in fats can cause alterations in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

In fact, our diet has an impact on the our ovaries’ hormone production. If this happens, then it’s an indication that a woman needs to take in more fats in order for her ovaries to function correctly.

Keep in mind that diets that are too severe, including those that require cutting out all fats, can seriously damage our bodies.

7. Thyroid problems

Thyroid problems can also cause delayed periods. The thyroid gland, located in the neck, is related to the majority of the systems in our bodies. Therefore, hypothyroidism directly affects our menstrual cycles and can cause our periods to become delayed.

Other well-known causes of missed periods

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the number one explanation for missed periods. When women are pregnant, the ovulation cycle ceases and so does, therefore, menstruation. 

In fact, even though in some cases a missed period doesn’t necessarily indicate pregnancy, it’s still one of the most likely explanations.

Missed Periods: Possible Causes You Should Know About

Breastfeeding

In general, exclusive breastfeeding pushes the reappearance of menstruation back for some time after giving birth. Therefore, it’s normal not to get your period for several months after having a baby.

In fact, high levels of prolactin, the hormone involved in the production of breast milk during this period, can also have to do with the absence of menstruation.

Menopause

The age in which a woman reaches menopause is genetically determined. However, the moment can vary somewhat depending on her overall health.

If you’re around 45 years of age and haven’t had your period for at least 4 months, then you may be experiencing premenopause. Of course, menopause isn’t declared until periods are absent for an entire year.

In fact, before menopause is established permanently, our cycles become irregular due to a decrease in estrogen levels.

Finally, remember that if you aren’t getting your period, the most important thing to do is talk with your doctor. That way, you can discover the exact cause and apply proper treatment, if necessary.

We recommend always keeping your calm, since the stress that accompanies worry and frustration may have negative effects.