Whatever the situation in our life is, whenever the red dot is simply not appearing on the calendar, we all freak out. Before you jump to conclusions and re-plan your near future, let me tell you why this may be happening. I have learnt from my personal experience that the monthly period is a very sensitive matter. It could be attributed to various factors, and one significant aspect to consider is hormonal imbalance. I’ve researched it thoroughly, and I created this list of 7 reasons for you…
Stress can cause lots of unpleasant things to our bodies – from acne, to weight gain, insomnia, headaches, digestive problems and so much more. When your body is under physical or emotional stress, it produces the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. When they reach higher levels, the brain “decides” which bodily functions are essential until the stress period is over. If you’ve recently experienced a life changing event like moving house or loosing someone close, the reproductive cycle may be delayed.
Hypothalamus is a gland in the brain responsible for regulating various processes in the body and it can be affected by your weight. Extreme weight loss, low caloric intake or being very underweight may stress the hypothalamus and your body won’t produce enough oestrogen to build the lining of the uterus. On the other hand, gaining lots of weight in a short period of time or being overweight may produce too much oestrogen. Your ovaries may go for months without ovulating or the high hormonal level will make the endometrial lining to overgrow and become unstable, causing you heavy, irregular periods.
3. Hormonal imbalance
Polycystic Ovary Symptom (PCOS) is a hormonal imbalance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. It can cause cysts on the ovaries and irregular ovulation. The side effects of PCOS can be excess hair growth, acne, weight gain and possibly infertility. If you think this may be the reason for your delayed menstruation, visit your doctor for a blood check. The doctor may give you birth control pills to regulate the hormonal levels.
4. Thyroid disorder
The thyroid gland is located in the neck and regulates your metabolism. If it doesn’t function properly, it can cause abnormal menstrual changes. An overactive thyroid can cause your monthly period to be lighter and less frequent, along with weight loss, rapid heartbeat, increased sweating and trouble sleeping. An under-active thyroid may be the reason for less frequent but heavier periods with weight gain, fatigue, dry skin and hair loss. If you have any suspicions, visit your doctor for a blood test that will determine if you have thyroid disorder.
Sometimes even catching a cold can put your body under stress and it would reduce the bodily functions to only the most essentials ones, as I mentioned above. If you had an illness around your ovulation time, it might have put it on hold, but it should return next month.
6. Birth control pills
Probably one of the most common reasons for delayed or missing monthly period are the hormonal contraceptives. The pill or the patch work by stopping your body from ovulating and that means no menstruation. When you take a break or go patch-free during the fourth week of your cycle, you’re actually experiencing a withdrawal bleeding or a “fake” period caused by the drop in hormones. It can also take some time for your period to come back if you’ve recently stopped birth control, but it should usually resume without issue in a few months.
7. Excessive exercise
Exercising is good for you, but if you over do it in a short period of time, especially accompanied by low-calorie diet, your body won’t be able to produce enough oestrogen to complete the menstrual cycle. Some women who do high intensive sports such as a ballet dancers, marathon runners or athletes are at greater risk of missing their period for three or more months in a row. The simplest way to find out if you’re overdoing it, is note if your physical performance have decreased or you’ve rapidly lost lots of weight. You may need to slow down a bit and gain a little bit of weight to get things back on track with your monthly cycle.
Home pregnancy test
Just to be on the safe side, you can always do a home test. Make sure you follow the instructions. According to NHS “A positive test result is almost certainly correct”, but a negative result may be wrong if the instructions weren’t followed strictly or it was taken too early.
If you suspect that you may have a hormonal imbalance or another syndrome caused by stress, excessive weight changes or workout routine, make an appointment with your doctor to find the best resolution to restore your monthly period.