Even though getting your period and bleeding from your vagina for five days straight is no joyride, late periods can be equally scary. A late menstrual cycle might send the alarm bell ringing in your mind. “Am I pregnant? Is there a life-threatening disease, like Cervical Cancer, that has stopped my periods?” — these are only some of the apparent concerns that can put your mind on a squeaky wheel of anxiety.
While sometimes a delayed period might point to a health issue or pregnancy, other times it can be something completely harmless. So how much delay in periods is normal? Even though an average menstrual cycle is anywhere between 21 and 35 days, it varies from person to person. If your period is five or more days late than your normal cycle, only then it can be a cause of concern.
But at times, the reasons for a delay in periods are harmless and do not even need urgent medical intervention. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons for delayed periods and when a visit to the doctor is warranted.
You are on birth control
Birth control pills can lead to hormonal changes in your body and it takes time for your body to adjust to these changes. So it’s not uncommon to notice delays in your period for a few cycles. Similarly, when you stop birth control pills, you may see that you are missing periods but are not pregnant.
This is all because your body is adapting itself to ovulation, which stopped while you were on the pill. Similarly, taking the morning after pill can also impact your ovulation and result in skipped periods.
You are extremely stressed
Stress affects everything under the sun, including your menstrual cycles. If you are experiencing too much physical or emotional stress, your hormonal balance has probably gone off-track. Elevated levels of adrenaline and cortisol can interfere with bodily functions and mess with your menstrual cycle. As a result, your periods may be late.
You are working out excessively
Don’t get us wrong — exercise is excellent for your physical and mental health. However, it is also possible to overdo it. Moreover, coupled with a calorie-restricted diet, over-exercising can take a toll on your body and impact estrogen production. This hormone plays a central role in controlling your menstrual cycle.
How should one know that he/she has reached the limit? If you notice rapid weight loss, decreased performance in the gym, and excessive fatigue, give yourself a break for a few days until your energy levels seem to get back to normal.
When should you see a doctor?
Missing your periods occasionally due to the reasons mentioned above is not an immediate cause for concern. But if you are experiencing late periods very frequently and it continues for more than three cycles, it’s time to talk to your OB/GYN.
Have you ever missed a period? Did you find out what the reason was?
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