Personally, I’m not my period’s biggest fan.
Yes, having a period allows you to have a baby. Super. I found one of the best parts of that is there was no period for a good 18 months there – per kid (obviously, I’m counting pregnant months, too).
But then there is all the drama of not wearing white pants, being bloated, having emotional outbursts, crying about anything, hating the world, then loving the world, worrying constantly that a shark will eat you if you’re in the ocean, no sex without a huge mess, the wearing of tampons or pads and that feeling that you are not-so-fresh-no-matter-how-much-you-wash.
Whether you love or hate yours, any irregularities can induce anxiety, especially when you are not trying to get pregnant.
Hold up, wait a minute! There’s no need to rush off to the chemist at the first sign of an AWOL period, there are many things that can be responsible for irregular and late periods. Here’s our top ten reasons for period irregularities and missing period, without being pregnant.
1. You Are Under Stress
Stress is one of the major reasons your period may all of a sudden disappear. When you are under stress, usually due to a life-changing event such as the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a serious relationship, this affects the stress hormone ‘cortisol’ which then impacts how much oestrogen and progesterone your body produces. This, in turn, can disrupt ovulation and therefore, your menstrual cycle. It can take a few months of built-up stress to stop your period in the first place and a few months of reduced stress to get it back.
Theories on why this happens date back to our caveman days when survival depended on us not getting pregnant in a life-threatening situation.
2. Too much exercise or being underweight
A condition known as amenorrhea, is when your ‘Aunty Flow’ stops ‘visiting’ due to exercising excessively for a period of time and being underweight. Your weight can affect the level of oestrogen produced by your body. If you’re underweight, oestrogen levels drop and when they are so low you no longer ovulate, then you lose your period until you can gain enough weight to regulate your cycle again.
3. You are Overweight or Obese
Being overweight means you produce extra oestrogen, which can also cause more severe periods. But sometimes, your body recognises the exta oestrogen as pregnancy, and will stop ovulation (and therefore, your period). Quite often, being obese makes your periods erratic as your body may not recognise the correct hormones to spike to cause ovulation to occur.
A BMI over 30 can affect your fertility and cycle. If you want to try for a baby or just want to lose the weight, see your GP about checking your health (get tested for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and look at visiting a dietician to address your diet.
4. You May Have Thyroid Issues
If you have any type of thyroid issues such as hypo or hyperthyroidism, it can interact with your period. The thyroid gland regulates metabolism and helps your body run smoothly, you’ll need to see your doctor for more advice though if this sounds like you.
5. Or a Hormonal Imbalance
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is associated with problems such as irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, acne, obesity, reduced fertility and an increased risk of diabetes. Management of PCOS can include weight reduction or the use of medications or hormones.
6. Is it your Contraception?
Contraceptive pills can cause missing periods. More commonly, they can be used to actually miss a period here and there, by ditching the sugar pills (the white ones). Hormonal IUD’s, injections or implants may also be responsible for late or missed periods.
7. Menstrual cycle calculations
Not every woman has a 28-day cycle. If your cycle is realistically 21 or 34 days, then you’ll always think your period has gone crazy when it doesn’t show up every 28 days. If you have irregular periods but you know when you ovulate, expect your period 2 weeks after you ovulate, this might help you correct your calculations.
8. Early or premature menopause
When you enter a non-reproductive age from the reproductive time in your life, you may experience lighter, heavier, less frequent, or more frequent periods, there is still a chance you are fertile at this time, so don’t stop taking precautions.
9. You Are Sick
Being sick can put stress on your body. So if you are sick at the time of your supposed ovulation and that’s what has caused you to be irregular, don’t fret, Aunt Flo will return to normal once everything is in place again.
10. Change in routine or schedule
A change in work routine and schedule can sometimes throw off your body clock, which regulates your hormones, but it should get back to normal when your body adjusts to the change or your schedule returns to normal.
Obviously, if you’ve been through this list and still can’t be sure, see your doctor….maybe it is a baby after all!
Have your periods ever disappeared outside of pregnancy/new baby time? How did you get back on track?
If you become concerned about your or anyone else’s health please seek immediate medical attention or go to our health hotlines and website post for further resources.
SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.