June 21st, 2012 by Hasham
Reasons for Missed Period – When You’re Not Pregnant
What are the reasons for a missed period when you are not pregnant? For most women, a missed period is often the first sign that they are pregnant. (For many women, they’re no longer wondering if it’s PMS or Pregnancy.)
But what if you’ve missed your period, and you’re not pregnant – what could be the cause or reason?
Amenorrhea – Missed Periods
The medical name for a missed period, or an absence of periods (one or more missed periods) is amenorrhea.
There are two types of amenorrhea:
Primary amenorrhea – You’re older than 15 and you’ve never had a menstrual period.
Secondary amenorrhea – You’ve been having normal menstrual cycles and they’ve suddenly stopped. This is the more common form of amenorrhea.
A majority of women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. Most periods are 28 days apart (this is the average length of a menstrual cycle), but a normal menstrual cycle can range between 21 and 35 days apart. A missed period, or an irregular period, should be examined in terms of what’s normal for your individual case. (Because menstrual cycles can vary, for a number of reasons, if you have a period every month, but it falls outside of this 35 day mark, you are probably fine. If your cycle is over 40 days apart, it is highly advisable that you go see a gynecologist to get checked out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!)
When you’ve missed a period, you should first take a home pregnancy test to confirm that you are not pregnant. Missing a period can cause you a lot of stress and anxiety, so it’s important that you talk to your doctor if you’re concerned.
Unfortunately, secondary amenorrhea isn’t diagnosed until you have missed three menstrual cycles in a row. However, if you’ve missed your period, it’s possible that you’ll get one next month. Secondary amenorrhea and skipped periods often have the same causes.
* Note, if you are ever worried about your period, you should go see a gynecologist or a doctor and ask about your problems! *
Causes for Missed Period – Not Pregnancy
If you’ve missed your period, you’ll want to go to the doctor to rule out pregnancy. (You should also take a home pregnancy test to confirm that you’re not expecting.) If you’re not pregnant, your missed period may be due to the following:
1. Stress and anxiety – Stress isn’t good for your body, and it can cause you to have delayed ovulation. When you don’t ovulate at your normal time, this can mess up the regular timing of your menstrual cycle. As a result, you have a late period. Sometimes, you are so stressed that you don’t ovulate at all. So you will have a missed period that month.
Stress temporarily alters the functioning of your hypothalamus – the part of the brain that regulates your menstrual cycle. Once your stress level decreases, your periods should resume.
2. Excessive weight loss, or weight gain – Losing a substantial amount of weight, or gaining too much weight too quickly can cause you to experience menstrual problems, like a missed period or a delayed period. In order to have normal menstrual cycles, you need a specific amount of body fat. The fat cells in your body are responsible for producing estrogen, which is the female hormone that is responsible for maturing the eggs in your follicles, so that you ovulate and have a normal period every month. The balance of fat on your body is important. Not enough weight, or too much weight can cause you to have a missed period.
If you are overweight, you have too many fat cells. This can cause you to produce too much estrogen. As a result, your body may react to this excess level of estrogen like it’s birth control. You won’t ovulate; you will experience missed periods or no periods at all; and you may become infertile. This is the reason that many obese women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Losing weight is often one of the best ways to treat PCOS and regulate your periods.
3. Contraceptives – Some women who take certain birth control pills don’t have regular periods. They can have missed periods or irregular periods. Some of the newer birth control pills (Seasonale, Yaz, Seasonique, Yasmin, and Lybrel) can change the regularity of your period (i.e. missed periods), as well as your menstrual flow when you do have your period. Unlike the traditional birth control pills, which made you take 21 days of pills with hormones and seven days of placebos (in which you experienced vaginal bleeding like with a regular menstrual period), many of these newer birth control pills contain continuous hormones. They combine smaller doses of estrogen and progestin (the synthetic form of progesterone in your body). You may have no periods at all, due to the continuous hormones, or you may have missed periods for several months in a row. For example, Seasonique and Seasonale gives you only four menstrual periods a year; Yaz gives you shorter and lighter periods that are more regular; Yasmin makes your period lighter and more regular; and with Lybrel, you have no periods at all. Once you stop using these birth control pills, it may take you between three to six months to have regular ovulation and menstruation again.
Birth control that is injected (like the Depo-Provera birth control shot) or implanted (like Implanon) can also cause you to have irregular, missed or no periods at all.
With the Depo-Provera birth control shot, it’s common for you to experience changes in your regular menstrual cycle. Many women experience irregular bleeding, spotting, and missed period with this contraceptive shot. After a year of getting regular shots, over 50 percent of women on this birth control will stop having their periods at all. This is normal side effect.
If you have Implanon, a common side effect are irregular periods, missed periods, and unpredictable menstrual cycles. Some women experience more vaginal bleeding than before they used this contraceptive. Other women experience less bleeding (such as spotting) or no periods at all. The time in between your periods may also change.
4. Breastfeeding – When you breastfeed exclusively, the hormones that are allowing lactation to occur can block ovulation and your regular menstrual cycle. Some women won’t have their period again until their baby is eating solid foods. In other women, their periods may return sooner.
5. Eating disorders – When you have excessively low body weight (i.e. you’re way too skinny), this can interfere with hormonal functions, which might stop ovulation. These abnormal hormonal changes are the reason that anorexics and bulimics often stop having periods.
When you’re too thin (due to anorexia or excessive weight loss), you don’t have enough fat cells in your body to produce enough estrogen for healthy ovulation. You don’t ovulate, and you will either have a missed period or irregular periods. (Or no periods at all).
6. Rigorous Exercise – Women who participate in activities and sports that require them to undergo rigorous training often experience skipped periods or no periods at all. The high energy expenditure, stress, and low body fat can contribute to no ovulation and missed periods.
7. Medication – There are some medications that can disrupt menstrual cycles. For example, some chemotherapy drugs, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and oral corticosteroids can cause you to have missed periods, or no menstrual periods at all.
8. Hormonal imbalance – When you have hormonal problems, it can change the levels of hormones that your body requires to support ovulation and the menstruation process. For example, one common cause of irregular periods is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which causes high levels of estrogen and androgen (the male hormone), rather than fluctuating hormonal levels common to a regular menstrual cycle.
9. Problems with your thyroid – Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can cause you to have missed periods and other menstrual irregularities. Thyroid disorders can alter the production of the hormone prolactin. This affects your hypothalamus and disrupts your regular menstrual cycle.
10. Uterine scarring – If your uterus is scarred from disease or medical procedures, this can prevent the normal buildup and shedding of the uterine lining common to a regular menstrual cycle. As a result, you may have very light periods, or no menstrual periods at all. Your uterus can become scarred during a cesarean section, D & C procedure, treatment for uterine fibroids, or due to a health complication.
Default Missed period and not pregnant?
Okay, so this is a little embarrassing, and maybe TMI, but I’m really worried now. I am about 5 days late for my period, and I am NEVER late. This is really strange because I haven’t been sick recently, and I haven’t had any more stress than usual. I thought the only other option would be that I was pregnant, as I am married, and well, you know…lol. So I took a pregnancy test, and it was very clearly negative. I just don’t know what to do. Honestly, I do feel slight cramps, but I dunno….I’ve been worried about it for the last 3 days, so I’m sure that’s added to it.