WOMEN are pretty used to the ups and downs of their monthly cycle.
In fact, for much of her life, each month is dominated by hormones that drive menstruation, prepare the body for pregnancy, and then shed the thick lining of the womb (the bleeding) when an egg is not fertilized.
Missing a period — and we’re sure we haven’t gotten pregnant — can be a little scary.
Most women start their periods around the age of 12 (although they can start as early as nine or as late as 16) and this monthly cycle usually lasts until age 51, the average age at which a woman begins menopause.
According to Rachel Butcher, Head of Nutrition at Third Space, each cycle consists of four phases.
Phase one is days one through five, your period, when the hormones estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest.
Phase two, days six through 14, extends from the end of your period to ovulation, when an egg is released.
Estrogen levels spike and progesterone levels are still low.
Rachel adds, “Stage three, day 15 to 23, period from ovulation.
“Estrogen levels first drop, then estrogen and progesterone begin to rise and stay high.
“Phase four is days 24 to 28 and estrogen and progesterone levels drop to their lowest point.
“A ‘normal’ menstrual cycle can last anywhere from 21 to 40 days, so it’s important to know your cycle and figure out what’s ‘normal’ for you.”
Pregnancy is the first obvious reason for a late period.
“If your period is more than seven days late and you’ve had unprotected sex, rule that out,” says Jodie Relf, PCOS nutritionist and spokesperson for MyOva.
But there are a number of other possible reasons for late or missed periods…
1. You exercise too much
Christopher Barker, nutrition director and coach at The Female Curve, says that overtraining is more a combination of too much exercise combined with too little energy.
She says, “With the recent trend of more women trying out high-intensity HIIT workouts and CrossFit, we’ve seen an increase, along with the ongoing pressure to be lean.”
He advises women to avoid training without food or diets that exclude carbohydrates.
Chris adds: “Also, progesterone is naturally catabolic – it breaks down muscle – so if you train too much and don’t get enough energy during exercise, you’re likely to lose muscle mass over the long term, which also leads to bone loss .”
2. You are underweight
Chris says, “Being underweight can cause a condition called hypothalamic amenorrhea.
“This is where your menstrual cycle stops the hypothalamus, a gland in the brain that regulates body processes, slowing or stopping the release of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), the hormone that starts the menstrual cycle.”
People with eating disorders such as anorexia may find their periods are late.
3. You are overly stressed
Emotional stress caused by work, anxiety, or depression, and physical stress caused by surgery, illness, and bacterial infections, to name a few, can potentially lead to missed periods.
According to Jodie, the science is behind it: “When we experience a lot of stress, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is activated and has an inhibitory effect on the female reproductive system.
“It affects the amount of GnRH, luteinizing hormone, estrogen and progesterone that are secreted, and these hormones play an essential role in ovulation and the initiation of menstruation.”
When we experience irregularities in our cycle from things like stress or not having enough calories, it can take a cycle or two for things to even out.
Jodie says, “If your cycles are irregular for two or more cycles, you should tell your GP to see if further testing is needed.”
4. You have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Jodie explains, “Predominantly an ovulation disorder, many of those with PCOS will experience anovulatory cycles (a menstrual cycle without the release of an egg) or irregular ovulation, manifested as either absent or irregular periods.”
People with PCOS often have higher levels of testosterone.
She says, “When testosterone levels are high, the ovaries don’t function as they should.”
Missing a period isn’t the only possible symptom of PCOS.
“Other symptoms include excessive facial hair, increased abdominal weight gain, oily skin and acne, and thinning hair or balding.”
Affected? Book an appointment with your family doctor.
5. You don’t eat enough
Jodie says, “When we create large calorie deficits, our bodies will look for ways to conserve energy.”
Similar to the overtraining principle, when we don’t eat enough, our body downregulates systems that aren’t essential for survival, such as the brain. B. reproduction.
She adds, “A significant calorie deficiency due to restricted food intake or excessive exercise is also a real strain on the body, which then triggers the stress response and affects menstruation.”
6. You have an overactive or underactive thyroid
“When your thyroid isn’t working the way it should, menstrual irregularities can occur,” explains Jodie.
Our thyroid is a tiny gland that sits at the base of our neck.
Jodie says: “The thyroid produces hormones involved in menstruation, so an imbalance in these hormones results in absent or irregular cycles.
“Both underactive and overactive thyroid needs to be treated by a family doctor or specialist.
“From a lifestyle perspective alone, there is very little you can do.”
7. You enter perimenopause
Chris says, “One reason for a change in cycle length that is often overlooked can be the onset of perimenopause and the transition into menopause.”
However, he says if you’re under 40, your missed period is probably not menopause, since only 1 in 100 women will experience premature menopause or primary ovarian failure.
“If you want a rough idea of when that might be, it’s largely genetically programmed.
“So ask your mom, aunts, older sisters when their periods stopped as this will be a good guide to when your periods might stop.”
Chris adds that you can’t delay menopause with the pill or any natural treatment.
It’s worth seeing your GP if you’re unsure if you’ve entered perimenopause.
On the pill?
Rachel says the birth control pill is often prescribed to “regulate” the menstrual cycle, but “the withdrawal bleeding that occurs on a birth control pill is not the same as your period.”
She adds, “That’s because your body doesn’t receive any exogenous hormones, so some uterine lining will be shed, but it’s not the same as a real period.
“It can actually often cover up problems with amenorrhea (missed periods) or low energy availability.
“If it’s working for you and your body, you might want to consider switching to an IUD.”
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7716882/reasons-late-period-not-pregnant-hormones/ 7 reasons why your period might be late – other than being pregnant