Having a missed or late period can be stressful and alarming especially if you are not trying to conceive. Our minds often rush to, “OMG am I pregnant?”
Then we torture ourselves by searching online, thinking about the last time we had sex, researching the effectiveness of birth control, and reading all kinds of forums. Sometimes we even go out and get a pregnancy test (or five) to rule out pregnancy.
If pregnancy has been ruled out by a negative test, then let your mind rest! There are plenty of other reasons your period might be late or missed.
Stress is a very common reason for having an irregular or missed period. Our bodies are sensitive and stress can take a negative toll on our bodies. Stress creates an increase in cortisol. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone.1 If this hormone is increased it can have an impact on your menstrual cycle.
Estrogen, progesterone, and hormones all play a part in your menstrual cycle. If these are unbalanced (hi there, stress) it can affect your cycle.
Evaluate your stress level. Have you been feeling more stressed than normal? Is there something going on in your life that is causing this stress? And how can you reduce it and manage this stress better?
Ways to Reduce Stress
If exercise if your thing, great! Go hit your favorite class and let go of all that stress. But if you aren’t into exercise as much, it doesn’t need to be an insane cardio workout. It can be taking a walk in the park and getting outside.
• Reduce Caffeine Intake
Drinking too much caffeine can sometimes make people more anxious and cause insomnia. If you are battling these two issues then that can lead to even more stress.
• Consider Supplements
There are all kinds of supplements on the market that are used to naturally reduce stress.
Lemon balm is an herb from the mint family. It has been known to help with many health problems and some people claim this herb produces calming effects and swear by it for insomnia or anxiety.
This herb comes from the South Pacific Islands and the natives have used it for hundreds of years to achieve relaxation. Consuming Kava can produce a relaxing, euphoric effect. 2
Stress Remedy: Planetary Herbals, Stress-Free Botanical Stress Relief Tablets
There are tons of stress remedy supplements that contain a blend of stress-relieving herbs. This is a great option if you are looking for just one tablet to take.
2. Low Body Weight
Women with eating disorders may experience missed periods. If your body weight is below normal for your height, this can impact ovulation and cause a missed or delayed period. 3
3. Birth Control
Starting and stopping birth control can affect your cycle. Some birth control methods can cause periods to become irregular, sometimes causing women to go months or even years without getting a period. 4
When starting or stopping birth control, it is always smart to ask your doctor what some normal and not so normal side effects when starting and stopping. Knowledge is power!
4. Change in Sleep Patterns
Maybe you have picked up some night shifts or are jet-lagged from traveling abroad. Changes in your sleep cycle can have a major effect on your menstrual cycle.
For more information on how jet lag can affect your period, visit the EmpowHER question,
Can Jet Lag Affect A Period?
Sometimes a side effect of a particular medication can be irregular periods. When starting or stopping a new medication, ask your doctor if this can be a side effect.
Also known as the menopausal transition. During this time, ovulation can become more unpredictable. The timing and length of your cycle can vary.
The average age for menopause is 51 but some women start their menopause journey in their 40’s or late 50’s. 5
7. Thyroid Issues
Thyroid issues seem to be the culprit of many uncomfortable symptoms for a variety of health issues and yes, it can affect your periods. Since your thyroid helps to control your menstrual cycle, the thyroid hormone levels and be too high or too low which can result in an irregular period. 6
If you suspect your thyroid is the cause of an irregular period, it may be time to visit the doctor. This is a treatable condition and once it is under control, your period should return to normal.
8. Other Health Issues
You know your body. If something seems off and you can’t seem to narrow down the cause of a delayed or missed period, always visit your doctor. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
A doctor can take blood samples and run other tests to rule out serious health problems.
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