Periods are already quite annoying but the worst thing is their unpredictability; sometimes they surprise you way before your date and sometimes they show no sign of arrival, even way after the date has passed. Either way, it leaves you confused! Ladies who get their periods on a fixed date every month are lucky – they can be prepared before hand! But contrary to popular belief, late or missed periods aren’t just a sign of pregnancy; there are several other reasons that can cause the delay. From medical conditions to hormonal and weight changes; here are all the factors that can cause a delay in your periods.
1. Weight Changes
One of the most common causes of irregular periods is weight fluctuation. Whether due to an eating disorder or a crash diet, having body weight below 10 percent of what is ideal for your height can result in missed or delayed periods. Similarly, weight gain can disrupt your cycle as well. Increased body weight leads to changes in the levels of oestrogen, and excess amounts of oestrogen affect your period’s frequency. Following a balanced diet and staying fit can help regularise your period cycle.
Stress doesn’t just effectyour mind; it can also disrupt your hormonal balance and, consequently, your menstrual cycle. It affects the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that helps regulate your periods. Your periods may get shorter, delayed or stop altogether. Stress often leads to various illnesses, sudden weight gain or loss, all of which also impacts your periods. So if you’re stressing about a late period, you’re probably prolonging it!
3. Early Perimenopause
Menopause usually begins between the ages of 45 and 55. Some women, however, may start experiencing its signs and symptoms much before, around the age of 40. This transitional stage is known as perimenopause. If the symptoms start before 40, then it’s considered as early perimenopause. In perimenopause, your oestrogen levels decrease and ovulation becomes less regular. This indicates that you’re nearing menopause and, as a result, you start missing periods.
4. Thyroid Issues
The thyroid gland is involved in regulating many of the body’s functions, such as metabolism, growth and body temperature. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that it effects our menstrual cycle as well. An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can cause your hormonal levels to fluctuate, leading to irregular or missed periods. By treating your thyroid problems with medication, your periods can get back to normal.
5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most known causes of missed periods. It is a hormonal disorder that causes cysts to form in the ovaries. The formation of cysts can either make ovulation irregular or stop it altogether. This leads to irregular or missed periods. PCOS is very common, with around 1 in 10 women getting it, but it can be treated.
6. Chronic Diseases
Menstrual problems can often be a result of an underlying condition. Some chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or celiac disease, can play a role in disturbing the menstrual cycle. Changes in blood sugar can also cause hormonal changes and if not controlled properly, diabetes can lead to irregular periods. On the other hand, celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disease, affects the lining of your small intestine and prevents your body from absorbing vital nutrients. The lack of these nutrients can also delay your period.
Disclaimer: If you’re experiencing any irregularity in your menstrual cycle, please consult with a gynaecologist.