Periods may be annoying but their continuity is a guarantee that you are not pregnant. It is normal to miss the menstrual period when you are pregnant. But all is not well with your body if you have a missed period and you are not expecting either. Perhaps there could be several reasons for an absent period, besides pregnancy.
Monthly periods are associated with an array of discomforts, such as stomach cramps, headache, mood swings, and bloating. But a missed period gives you more reasons to get anxious, especially if you are not pregnant. There may be physical and emotional factors behind an absent period. In medical parlance, the term amenorrhea – meaning suppression of menstrual cycle – is used to describe the absence of a menstrual period for three months in a row. Typically, you may miss a period if the hormonal balance is disturbed in your body.
Stress Can Cause Delayed or Missed Menstrual Period
Stress can cause several changes in your body, such as acne, ache, heat-related problems, weight gain, and skin-related issues. Besides, it can affect your menstrual cycle and delay your period. Physical or emotional stress causes an increased production of stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. Your menstrual cycle is regulated by hormonal balance. But when you are stressed, your brain sends out a fight or flight response to the hypothalamus that there is some danger. The hypothalamus, which is the control center of the brain, sets off a danger alarm to the pituitary gland. This induces the secretion of cortisol and adrenaline.
Such response from the body can disrupt its normal processes.
The brain starts focusing on the most essential bodily functions, such as blood supply to muscles and oxygen flow to lungs. This compromises with the blood flow to the digestive and reproductive systems. In extreme cases, blood and oxygen supply to these organs may stop, resulting in a delayed menstrual period.
Weight Fluctuations Can Trigger Menstrual Irregularities
Do you know your weight or body mass index (BMI) can affect the glandular responsible for the regulation of various processes in the body? Surprisingly, this could alter your menstrual cycle.
If you are underweight or experience extreme weight loss, your body cannot release estrogen hormone essential for building the uterus lining. Even eating disorders can affect estrogen levels, causing them to drop too low. In an overweight woman, estrogen levels tend to rise. The overload may result in the overgrowth of the endometrial lining, making it unstable and resulting in irregular period.
Whether you are overweight, underweight, or experiencing sudden weight loss or gain, the fluctuation in estrogen can impact your menstrual cycle. Sudden weight loss may cause a lack of estrogen production, whereas too much weight gain may cause a spike in estrogen levels. Either way, your menstrual cycle is affected.
Sickness May Lead to Missed Menstrual Period
When one system in the body does not function properly, it has an impact on other organs as well. You may be surprised to know that even a common cold or flu can affect the continuity of your menstrual cycle. The body may shut down the menstrual period to restore the functioning of other important organs.
Birth Control May Cause Missed Menstrual Period
Are you taking a birth control pill or have an IUD (intrauterine device) implanted? Then this could be the cause of an irregular period. Hormonal birth control may result in a thin endometrial lining. This could result in a missed period, especially if the lining is too thin and there’s nothing to shed.
Thyroid or Hormonal Disturbance Can Cause Missed Menstrual Period
The thyroid gland produces hormones that play different roles in the functioning of the body, including your period. An overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism may be responsible for lighter periods. Contrarily, an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism may cause a heavy period. Both conditions can affect the flow, causing irregular cycles. As a result, you may experience delayed or missed period.
Travel Can Disturb Your Cycle, Cause Missed Menstrual Period
Traveling is fun but it can cause immense stress on your body. If you have been traveling a lot, you may feel physically and mentally stressed out. The stress level can have an influence on your monthly period.
Besides, when you travel, your eating habits tend to change. Not to mention, your physical activity levels also alter. For example, if you have a strict exercise regimen, you may not get enough time for a workout when you are traveling. Similarly, if you are not too much into moving your body, traveling can take a toll on you and make your body stressed. This is enough of a reason for a delayed period.
Jet lag following travel also impacts the sleep. Any disturbance in your sleep schedules can affect your circadian rhythm. This could further affect other systems in the body, which may impact your menstrual cycle.
Rigorous Exercise Responsible for Missed Menstrual Period
Rigorous workouts or training requires high energy expenditure, putting a lot of stress on the body. As a result, women who participate in sporting activities often experience skipped periods. The high energy expenditure and low body fat can result in impaired ovulation and ultimately lead to missed periods.
Uterine Scarring Can Cause Missed Menstrual Period
A scarred uterus may prevent the normal buildup of the uterine lining. This may also affect shedding of the lining, which results in an irregular menstrual cycle. In some women, the uterus may become scarred during a cesarean section, following the use of intrauterine birth controls, due to a uterine fibroid, or because of serious health complications.
Other Reasons for a Missed Period
Premature ovarian failure from chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation therapy can cause menstrual period problems, resulting in menopause even before you turn 40 years of age.
Certain diseases can also cause irregular period. Liver disease, tuberculosis, or irritable bowel syndrome, are some of the diseases that may cause menstrual irregularities.
If you have had a missed period, do not worry. Either you are pregnant or there may be some medical reasons. If you miss the menstrual cycle for the second month in a row, consult with a doctor for a clear diagnosis.