15 Common Causes for Late Menstruation

Delayed menstruation is usually the first sign of pregnancy, but dozens of other causes may explain why your period did not go down on the expected day.

Late menstruation causes
Late menstruation causes

In general, a few days of menstrual delay can occur even in women with a regular menstrual cycle, without this having any clinical relevance.

In non-pregnant women, even when menstruation decides not to come in a given month, the chance of this being important is small. Stress, miscalculations, changes in the contraceptive method, urinary tract infection and other less relevant situations are often the most common causes.

However, when menstruation does not go down for 3 consecutive months, we consider that the woman has amenorrhea. In this case, once excluded pregnancy, some diseases may be behind the cessation of menstruation.

1. Pregnancy

Every sexually active woman who has menstrual delay should necessarily think about pregnancy. Pregnancy should be the first hypothesis to be ruled out, even in women who report using contraceptive methods, such as a condom or birth control pill.

The cessation of menstruation is usually the first symptom of pregnancy. However, since about 1/3 of pregnant women experience minor bleeding in the first trimester of gestation, many women find that their menstrual bleeding is coming normally.

So if your menstruation has been delayed for a few days, and soon after you have had vaginal bleeding different from the one you are accustomed to having during the menstrual period, a pregnancy can be the cause.

Do not expect nausea, increased breasts, food cravings, abdominal pain, or increased urination before menstruating. The menstrual delay usually appears with 3 or 4 weeks of pregnancy, while the other symptoms usually appear only after the 4th or 5th week.

There is no safer way to confirm or rule out an ongoing pregnancy than to take a pregnancy test . The current tests are already able to identify a pregnancy with only one day of delayed menstrual. However, the tests are more reliable if performed after a week late. The dosage of blood bHCG is the most reliable test, but the pharmacy pregnancy test is easier to be done and also has a high hit rate.

2. Stress and anxiety

The menstrual cycle is easily influenced by factors external to the reproductive system. Emotional factors are enough to delay your menstruation for a few days. Excessive stress or anxiety can negatively affect your hormone production, which is regulated by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain. Stress can even stop you from ovulating in a certain cycle, by stopping menstruation this month.

When we talk about stress, situations that are common to many people, such as excessive work, professional problems, financial or family problems, important evidence in the short term, defense of a thesis, sick child at home, etc. are included. Abrupt changes in working hours, as a constant need to work at dawn, can also disrupt the sleep cycle and interfere with the normal ovulatory cycle.

If you do not want to get pregnant at the time, and something wrong has occurred in one of your sexual relationships, such as breaking a condom or forgetting to take the pill correctly, the stress generated by the risk of becoming pregnant may also be large enough to delay the menstruation.

This process can also become a snowball, because anxiety leads to menstrual delay, which, in turn, causes even more anxiety. The ideal in such cases, if the menstruation is already 2 or 3 days late, is to do the pregnancy test soon to break this vicious cycle.

3. Interruption of the contraceptive pill

Women who regularly take oral contraceptives menstruate regularly. However, if after a few years of using the pill, you decide to suspend it, your natural cycle may take some time to normalize.

There are women who go into amenorrhea and stay months without ovulating after the contraceptive is stopped. Eventually, menstruation will return, with no risk of infertility. Just be patient, that the ovulatory cycle will reorganize naturally between 3 to 6 months.

However, it should be noted that any woman with more than 3 months of menstruation should seek advice from her gynecologist.

Post-contraceptive amenorrhea may occur in all forms of administration, including implants, injections, or tablets.

4. Infections or diseases

Being ill can be a cause of menstrual delay. It does not have to be a serious illness like heart attack, tuberculosis or hepatitis. Common viruses such as flu, or simple infections such as cystitis or tonsillitis may be enough to disrupt your menstrual cycle by delaying your menstruation for a few days.

Some medications can also influence the hormonal cycle, deregulating your menstruation. Among the most common are:

Note: the use of antibiotics, in general, does not cause menstrual delay. What usually interferes with the menstrual cycle is the infection for which the antibiotic was prescribed.

5. Calculation errors

Women with irregular menstrual cycles may have some difficulty calculating the day when menstruation should come. You may find that your period is late, when, in fact, it will only come 2 or 3 days later. Even women with regular cycle may eventually have a menstruation with a few days late, for no reason at all. Your uterus does not have a fixed calendar; it is not required to act like a holy month clock.

6. Recent changes in body weight

Gaining too much weight or losing it in a short time is also a cause of deregulation of the menstrual cycle. The fat cells in our body contribute to the production of estrogen, the female hormone responsible for the maturation of the eggs. Sudden changes in the amount of fat in the body alter estrogen levels acutely, and may interfere with ovulation and, consequently, the date of menstruation.

7. Obesity

This cause is a variation of the above situation. Overweight women possess large mass of fatty tissue, which causes excessive estrogen production. This female hormone is required for ovulation, but if it is in excess it inhibits the release of the egg, causing anovulatory periods. Without ovulating, the woman does not menstruate.

8. Excessive appetite or eating disorders

Another variation of #5. Lack of fatty tissue also impairs the ovulatory cycle, as it reduces the female body's ability to produce estrogen. Women who suffer from anorexia or extreme diets typically do not ovulate every month, presenting not only menstrual delay, but also risk of amenorrhea.

9. Excessive physical activity

Women who exercise at the professional level also tend to have menstrual changes. We are not talking about that physically active woman who goes to the gym frequently, but about triathletes, marathoners, competition swimmers, gymnasts and other professional athletes.

High caloric expenditure, intense workout stress, and low body fat rate appear to be responsible for changes in the menstrual cycle.

10. Thyroid problems

Thyroid, that works poorly (hypothyroidism) or in excess (hyperthyroidism) can also alter the menstrual cycle.

In general, uncontrolled thyroid problems can lead to amenorrhea. But even in milder or already treated thyroid remedies, small changes in blood levels of thyroid hormones may deregulate the cycle and cause menstrual delays.

11. Breastfeeding

If you have just had a baby and are breastfeeding, do not wait for your menstruation next month. Breastfeeding, in fact, does not cause menstrual delay, but transient amenorrhea due to inhibition of ovulation, caused by the hormones responsible for the production of breast milk. In general, menstruation returns as soon as the weaning process begins.

12. Polycystic ovarian syndrome

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome often have irregular menstruation because they produce androgen (male hormones) in excess. Menstrual delays and complete absence of menstruation in a given month are very common in these cases. Women with this syndrome usually acquire excess weight, which, as we have already seen, also contributes to menstrual delays.

13. Menopause

The menopause usually arrives between 45 to 55 years. However, some women may have menopause before age 45. There are still those who have precocious menopause before the age of 40. One of the symptoms of imminent ovarian failure is dysregulation of the menstrual cycle and absence of ovulation in certain months. If you are over the age of 35 and your menstruation starts to fall and often fails, see your gynecologist.

14. Recent onset of the menstrual cycle

If your menarche (first menstruation) occurred recently, it is normal for your cycle to be irregular in the early years. Menstrual changes can occur until the first two years of menstruation, because the female reproductive system is still in the maturing stage. Therefore, menstrual delay at this stage is extremely common.

15. Amenorrhea

There are several causes for amenorrhea, including uterine, ovarian, and even brain glands that control the production of sex hormones, such as the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

Amenorrhea is different from menstrual delay. If you have not menstruated for three or more months, this can no longer be considered a menstrual delay. Some causes of amenorrhea have been cited in this text, but there are several others.

So if you are not pregnant and your period has stopped coming, go to your gynecologist as there may be some disease behind blocking your ability to ovulate.

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