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Reasons Why Your Period Might Be MIA

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In some ways, a period can be likened to a woman’s frenemy. No woman would say she loves her period—but then again, not having this monthly visitor causes worry. And rightfully so. After all, a missed period or several missed periods could be a sign of pregnancy or underlying health problems.

Before we go further down the rabbit hole of reasons why period irregularities happen, let’s talk more about how periods happen in the first place. The length of a woman’s cycle depends on her own body clock. When your period is scheduled to happen, a few key hormones come into play. Namely, these are the luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone from the pituitary gland, as well as estrogen and progesterone from the ovaries.

The reason why period irregularities happen is mainly because of a disruption to the levels of these hormonal key players. Therefore, all that you will see in this extensive list ties back to this. Certain health conditions or bodily changes can cause these hormones to fluctuate, which leads to potential period irregularities.

In the list below, we will be talking about some health conditions which could be causing period problems. We’d like to point out at this stage that self-diagnosis should be avoided. If you think you are suffering from a health condition that’s mentioned here, please seek the advice of a qualified physician to be sure.

So without further ado, let’s get into the meat of the subject. Here are the reasons why your period might be MIA. Spoiler alert: the use of sanitary pads is a possible culprit. Make sure to read till the end.

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1. Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It’s no surprise that pregnancy makes a woman’s period stop. If you ever suspect that this could be the reason why yours has gone MIA, we advise you to rule this out as soon as possible by taking a pregnancy test. To avoid false negatives, please be aware that the hormone that’s checked by pregnancy tests can generally only be detected in urine 12-14 days after conception so be mindful of this window period.

Since we’re on the topic of pregnancy, we should also mention that breastfeeding affects the body’s hormones in such a way that it can delay the return of a woman’s period for several months. This is completely normal and many consider this to be a perk!

2. Stress

Whether the stress is physical or mental, it can wreak havoc on your menstrual cycle. When you are under a significant amount of stress, this causes an acute or chronic elevation of the stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones leading to abnormal ovulation or no ovulation at all, which could result in delayed or missed menstrual periods.

Stress is never good. Some even consider it as the mother of all diseases. Thankfully, if this is the reason for your delayed period, it can be managed relatively easily with just a few changes to your lifestyle. But before thinking that this is the reason, make sure to rule out all other possible health conditions.

A woman showing signs of stress

3. Drastic Weight Loss or Weight Gain

Not having a healthy weight can cause period irregularities. For one thing, weighing 10 percent below the considered “normal range” corresponding to your height can alter the way your body functions. This could even stop ovulation. This is commonly seen in women with anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Excessive exercise can also cause delayed or missed periods.

On the opposite spectrum, obesity can also cause hormonal changes that will result in late or missed periods.

Woman on a weighing scale

4. Sleep Schedule Changes or Sleep Disruption

One of the many benefits of good sleep is improved health and wellbeing. Not sleeping properly can affect the body in many adverse ways, including disrupting hormone levels. So it’s no surprise that a lack of sleep or sleep disorders can cause irregular periods. This was confirmed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in a study done some years back.

 Woman falling asleep on the desk after a stressful evening of w

5. Birth Control or Other Medications

Let’s not forget that birth control pills alter the body’s hormone levels, raising estrogen and progestin to prevent the body from releasing eggs. Therefore, if you go on or off birth control, you may experience changes to your cycle. But this effect isn’t exclusive to pills. Any birth control method, whether injected or implanted, can have the same effect as long as it interferes with the body’s hormones.

Other medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and chemotherapy medication can also cause period delays and irregularities. Make sure to check if any of your medications could have the side effect of causing period irregularities.

Close up of birth control pills

6. PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) causes a hormonal imbalance that creates problems in the ovaries. With PCOS, the eggs in the ovary may not develop as they should or may not be released during ovulation. This is what causes missed or irregular periods. A few other symptoms of PCOS include:

  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Excessive hair growth on the face, chest, back, or buttocks
  • Hair loss from the head
  • Oily skin and acne

If you think you may be suffering from this condition, please see a qualified physician who will help you confirm this and put together a plan for managing this condition.

7. Perimenopause

Most women begin menopause at around 45-55. However, early perimenopause can happen to women 40 years old or younger. Perimenopause simply means that a woman’s egg supply is reaching its end, resulting in missed periods which will eventually lead to the end of menstruation altogether.

8. Thyroid Problems

An overactive or underactive thyroid gland could also be the cause of menstrual irregularities. However, these effects on the menstrual cycle are more commonly seen in cases of severe thyroid disease.

In the case of hypothyroidism, an excess of prolactin can be released by the pituitary gland. This hormone interferes with the production of estrogen, therefore causing missed periods. Meanwhile, in the case of hyperthyroidism, an increase in “sex hormone-binding globulin” can prevent ovulation - therefore causing delayed or missed periods. Here is a list of the other symptoms of these thyroid conditions:

Hypothyroidism symptoms:
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Hair loss and dry hair Muscle cramps
  • Goiter Slow heart rate Brittle nails
Hyperthyroidism symptoms:
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling anxious
  • Sweating spells
  • Itchy red skin
  • Shakiness

If you suspect any of the above health conditions to be the cause of your delayed period, please see a qualified physician as soon as possible.

9. Reaction to Disposable Menstrual Products

Because of the numerous toxic chemicals found in sanitary napkins and other disposable menstrual products, it’s no surprise that they’ve been linked to a few health issues that could be causing period irregularities or delays.

The pesticide component that can still be found in trace amounts on sanitary napkins is linked to thyroid malfunction, infertility, and other health problems. Furthermore, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals found in synthetic fragrances in disposable menstrual products can wreak havoc on the body’s hormones.

If you’ve ruled out all other possible reasons, this may well be the culprit. It might be high time to make a shift to a healthier alternative in managing your periods. Based on what our customers tell us, you’ll feel the positive changes in no time at all.

Talk to Your Doctor

As previously mentioned, if you’re worried about why your period might be MIA, we highly recommend you speak to your doctor. They will be able to come up with a plan for getting your period back and helping you to feel more like yourself.

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