For some, menstruation is a regular thing that happens every 28 days without fail and for others, there may be a monthly variation on when your period arrives. Whichever one you are, a late period can often be stressful. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or are on birth control, it's always good to know the reasons your period may not be sticking to schedule so that when things are a little off-timing, you don’t panic.
Here are our answers to the top 5 questions about why your period could be late:
1. Can stress delay my period?
Whether it’s work or personal life stressors, having an increased level of stress can certainly throw off your monthly period timings. Medically, this phenomenon is called hypothalamic amenorrhea. The part of your brain that controls reproduction usually produces a hormone that triggers the production of other hormones needed for ovulation. But, if you’ve been super stressed, this hormone may not be produced and menstruation will be delayed.
So, if you are stressed about something, it’s important to take some time to relax and let your body catch up. If you’ve experienced a traumatic situation that may be delaying your periods for a long time, you should contact your GP.
2. Can being ill delay my period?
The human body is all connected, and that means that when one system is a little run down and not working at its best, the others are affected too. In these situations, your body has to prioritise the important things, like getting you better, so sometimes the menstrual cycle takes a back seat.
Whether you have a cold, the flu, a sickness bug or some other sort of illness, your period may be delayed until you’re feeling better and your body can go back to focusing on its usual jobs!
3. Do weight changes affect my menstrual cycle?
Looping back to the part of your brain that produces hormones that trigger your period, when you experience extreme changes in weight, it may not be able to keep up. If you lose a lot of weight quickly, for example, your body won’t be able to produce enough oestrogen, and this can delay your period.
The same goes for if you gain a lot of weight quickly, it will take some time for your body to catch up and produce the right amount of hormones. Generally, it’s nothing to worry about; your body will eventually catch up!
4. Can a change in schedule delay my period?
Smaller changes in your schedule, like oversleeping slightly, shouldn’t affect your period. That said, intense changes like some serious jet lag or switching to the night shift could set your period off-track.
The good news is that it’ll only be temporary. Once your body gets used to your new schedule, your periods should resume as normal. If they don’t, we suggest you give your GP a call.
5. Can my birth control delay my period?
The short answer is yes, your birth control can definitely affect your period. Whether you have an IUD, get Depo shots, or are on the pill, the hormonal changes that are caused by birth control can sometimes delay or lessen your period.
Sometimes this is a welcomed side effect, and people even go on birth control for this exact reason, but it’s always good to know that it’s possible your hormonal contraception could be causing these effects.
As you can see, there are many reasons why your period could be late. Whether hormonal or just your body being a little bit off, it’s likely your period will only be delayed by a few days and should return to normal pretty quickly.
If it doesn’t, it’s best to contact your doctor and, of course, if you think you could be pregnant it’s always a good idea to take a test!
If you’re looking for a sustainable and stress-free period, then check out our range of period products.