Delayed Periods: Causes, symptoms and how to treat it
May 31, 2022

Delayed Periods: Causes, symptoms and how to treat it

Is your menstrual period late or delayed? Fret not as this is a frequent symptom brought on by lifestyle changes such as weight reduction or a medical issue. Hormonal imbalances and significant medical issues are some of the common causes of a delayed period. Most women who have not yet reached menopause have 28-day cycles. The menstrual cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 40 days in a healthy woman. If your period does not fall within these parameters, one of the following factors could be the reason.

When to be concerned about irregular or delayed periods?

There are a variety of reasons for delayed periods, and while the majority are not cause for concern, if you have missed more than one period, you should seek medical attention. The treatment for missing periods is determined on the reason for your absence. Treatment may include dietary or stress-reduction adjustments, as well as hormone replacement therapy.

Causes of irregular or missed periods

1. Stress

A little stress is acceptable, but prolonged stress can destabilise your health. The hormone cortisol is activated by stress, putting your body into survival mode. Your body can cause amenorrhea and avoid menstruation if you are under a lot of stress for a long time.

2. Breastfeeding

Do not be frightened if your period does not show after your baby is born. A lack of periods is perfectly natural if you are breastfeeding your child. Lactational amenorrhea is a phase that causes the rhythm of your menstrual cycle to be disrupted. Your monthly period should be back on track after a few months.

3. Increased exercise

While including exercise into your regular routine is beneficial, excessive activity may result in reduced estrogen levels, which govern the female reproductive process. Due to their intensive training, many athletes have secondary amenorrhea, which means they don't get a period for six months or longer.

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Although little is known about what causes PCOS, it is estimated that approximately five million women in the United States are affected. PCOS, like thyroid problems, can cause hormonal imbalances in the body, resulting in missing periods.

5. Weight loss or weight gain

Any change in weight, whether you're overweight or underweight, can impact your monthly cycle. Eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia, as well as uncontrolled diabetes, are common health problems associated to weight and irregular menstruation. If you feel this is a problem for you, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

6. Sleep schedule changes

Changing to the night shift or travelling to a different time zone may delay the onset of your menstrual cycle. Any changes to your circadian rhythm—the internal clock that controls essential cellular processes—can induce irregular periods, according to a study published in Frontiers in Endocrinology.

7. Medication

If you're starting a new medicine, irregular periods could be one of the negative effects. Amenorrhea is caused by an imbalance in prolactin levels, according to a study on the effects of antipsychotics on menstruation. Additionally, while on some birth control drugs, such as an IUD, implant, or injection, your periods may stop.

8. Thyroid dysfunction

Thyroid problems, such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, might throw your menstrual cycle off. The thyroid generates hormones that assist control the body's activities, and if it's out of whack, you may miss periods. Thyroid issues are treatable, so schedule an appointment with an endocrinologist for a blood test if you suspect you have one.

When to call your doctor?

Missing a period now and again is usually not a reason for alarm. If you miss more than one period or if your missed period is accompanied by new or unexpected symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

Visit a doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • New or worsening headaches
  • Vision changes
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever
  • Hair loss
  • Breast discharge or milk production
  • Excess hair growth

Every woman has different cycles, which differ from month to month. There are a lot of apps that help you track your periods, so you could make use of them. If you have any concerns or questions about delayed periods, speak to your healthcare provider who will be able to answer your queries.