Besides pregnancy, there are a number of possible reasons for a missed period. Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period, but there are some other medical reasons and lifestyle factors that impact your menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, hormonal irregularities, and menopause are among the most common causes if you’re not pregnant.
You may miss a period for one or two months, or you may experience complete amenorrhea, which is a lack of menstruation for three or more months in a row. Here are 10 common reasons your period may be delayed:
Recently Started Periods:
A normal menstrual cycle lasts from 21 to 35 days in healthy women, but it can vary. This is especially true for young women who are just starting to get their periods or for women who have not had periods for several years and are starting again.
A young woman who has had just a few cycles may go months without another one until a regular pattern begins.7 And women who have not had a period due to contraceptive use, hormonal therapy, or illness may not resume having a regular period every month right away.
Perimenopause and Menopause:
Perimenopause is the period of time of transition from reproductive age to a non-reproductive age. Your periods may be lighter, heavier, more frequent, or less frequent.8
In most cases, they’ll just be something different than what you’re used to.
Irregular Bleeding During Perimenopause:
Menopause is when you have reached the point in your life where you will no longer ovulate or menstruate. The average age of menopause is 51 years old.
You may not have periods at all or you may have infrequent or very light periods when breastfeeding,3 particularly if breastfeeding provides your baby with all or almost all of his or her caloric intake.
Many women believe that breastfeeding is a form of birth control, but it’s is not. Even if you don’t have periods when you are breastfeeding, you can get pregnant, so use another form of birth control if you are not ready for another little one.
If you think that you can’t be pregnant because you have an IUD, there is a small chance that your missed period could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.9 Ectopic pregnancy can happen sometimes due to the shape of the device and may not cause you to test positive on a pregnancy test. Your doctor can confirm or exclude this possibility with a pelvic examination or an ultrasound.
When to Call Your Doctor:
Missing a period or two, even when you suspect that you know the reason, is something that needs to be investigated by your doctor.10
You should see your doctor urgently if you experience any of the following:
New or worsening headaches
Nausea or vomiting
Breast secretions or milk production
Excess hair growth
When to Worry About Irregular or Absent Periods
A Word From Verywell:
There are many reasons for late periods, and while most are not cause for alarm, you do need an evaluation and treatment if you have completely missed more than one period.
How your missed periods are treated depends on why you aren’t having your period. The treatment can include lifestyle changes, such as diet or stress reduction, or may involve hormone replacement therapy.