From adolescence to menopause, menstruation sets the pace for a woman's life. Very often, they are accompanied by pain, strong fatigue or mood changes. However, when they are absent, it is a time for concern. Do you wonder about the delay of your period? Elia Lingerie answers all your questions.
What is a late period?
Before discussing late periods themselves, it's important to understand the menstrual cycle. It starts on the first day of the period and ends at the beginning of the next period. The average period lasts 28 days. However, it varies depending on the woman, her age or her lifestyle. A menstrual cycle can last from 21 to 45 days without being worrisome. To know if you are suffering from a delay in menstruation, you should therefore take into account the normal length of your cycle and then ask yourself after 3 to 5 days of delay. When cycles are irregular (i.e., they are not always the same length), your period will be late one week after the estimated arrival date.
What causes a late period?
There are many reasons for a hormonal imbalance:
A physiological and biological change
In case of a delay of menstruation, the hormonal cause is the first thing to consider. This disturbance can indeed be caused by the pre-menopause or the menopause. The latter occurs on average between the ages of 45 and 55. However, some women have an early menopause. A change or forgetfulness of contraception can also explain a delay or even a cessation of periods. If you have just switched to a progesterone-only contraceptive, it is quite possible to experience a delay in your period on the pill. The same is true for intrauterine systems or injections. When the delay turns into an absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), it may be due to an overactive thyroid, diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome.
Stress or post-traumatic shock
Stress influences all areas of our lives, so it's only natural that it can cause a delay of 2 or 5 days in your period. Professional pressure, the death of a loved one, family problems or financial difficulties are all emotional shocks that can disrupt your cycles. How many days can stress delay your period? Well, that depends on the situation, but also on your ability to return to a serene daily routine.
To prevent the effects of stress on your cycle, learn to take time for yourself. Regular meditation sessions or a sport activity will help you relieve the pressure. Don't hesitate to share your worries with your loved ones to evacuate some of your torment or find comfort.
A change in lifestyle
If you have just gained weight, your body may start to produce estrogen in large numbers, thus disrupting your menstrual cycle. Similarly, a sudden weight loss may cause your body to decrease or even stop the production of hormones involved in ovulation. When you increase the pace of your sports training to become more intense, your period may also be disrupted. Finally, breastfeeding also has an influence on the menstrual cycle. It can cause a delay in menstruation, or even the absence of it.
The beginning of a pregnancy
It is impossible to discuss the causes of a late period without mentioning pregnancy. For women who are sexually active on a regular basis, this is the first possibility to consider. A pregnancy test will allow you to rule out this possibility. Symptoms of early pregnancy may include:
- A sensitive breast;
- Severe fatigue;
- Morning sickness;
- Frequent urination.
Does a late period mean you are pregnant?
In the collective imagination, a late period is always caused by a pregnancy. However, this is not the only reason. In fact, it is quite possible that your interpretation of a late period is simply the result of a natural variation in your cycle. For example, a period delay of 5 days or less is likely to be a common physiological development.
How do you manage an irregular menstrual cycle?
Irregular cycles, but not late periods, occur when the length of your period varies constantly without explanation. These variations are frequent. They can nevertheless cause concern. To better manage irregular cycles, get into the habit of keeping track of the length of each one. After a few months, you will be able to better understand the average length of your cycle and plan your activities accordingly. You will then find a certain serenity when your period is late. If the irregularity of your cycles bothers you, talk to your gynecologist. He will help you understand the delay. He or she will surely determine the cause and may prescribe a progestin pill to help you resume regular menstruation.
What to do if your period is late?
You have just noticed a delay in your period? Here are the steps to follow depending on the situation:
Delayed period of 1 to 2 days
There is nothing to be alarmed about if your cycle varies from 24 to 48 hours. Even if you had unprotected sex or sex with faulty protection, it doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant. It is also possible to have a delayed period on the pill because of an oversight.
Delayed period of 3 to 5 days
This can still be a slightly delayed ovulation. To find out if you are pregnant, it is advisable to wait until your period is 5 days late before taking a test. The result is indicative, only a blood test can give you a sure answer.
Delayed period of 1 week
Make an appointment with your doctor to get a prescription for a blood test to see if you are pregnant. If you have not had recent sexual activity, ask about any changes that may have affected your cycle.
Delayed period of more than 1 week
At this point, you may have already decided that you are pregnant. If there has been no change in your life, but you still have concerns, make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist. While a late period is usually harmless, after one month of amenorrhea, you should still seek professional help.
The FAQ of delayed periods
Why is my period late?
Several factors can explain a delay of menstruation under pill or without contraceptive: a pregnancy, stress, a thyroid disorder or a polycystic ovary syndrome. There are many causes, so it is advisable to consult a doctor to carry out a complete health check-up.
Is it possible not to have a period without being pregnant?
It is possible to miss a period without becoming pregnant. To be sure, wait until your period is 5 days late before taking a pregnancy test. If things don't work out despite a negative test, ask your doctor for a prescription for a blood test. This will give you a reliable result.
Is it normal not to have a period for a month?
Apart from pregnancy, the only normal reasons for not having a period for a month are breastfeeding or approaching menopause. If your period lasts for a long time, consult your doctor, as it may indicate a major stress, an eating disorder or a thyroid disorder.
What medications should I take to trigger my period?
There are several types of treatment for amenorrhea. For girls with ovarian dysfunction, it is hormonal. Hormone therapy will also be considered for women who have had a hysterectomy or removal of non-cancerous ovaries before menopause. When the absence of menstruation is caused by a benign infection of the pituitary gland, a drug that decreases the level of prolactin will help bring on the period.
How can I make my period come faster?
There is no scientifically proven method to make your period come faster. Some people believe that there are methods that can bring the period forward, such as
- Regular breathing exercises;
- Foods that are known to affect blood circulation (parsley, ginger, orange or pineapple).
When should I worry if I don't have a period?
If you are sexually active, take a pregnancy test as soon as your period is 5 days late. If the situation persists despite a negative test, make an appointment with your doctor to obtain a prescription for a blood test. If you have not had intercourse since your last cycle, a consultation after one week will allow you to find an explanation for the delay in your period. In any case, it is advisable to seek professional advice after one month of amenorrhea.
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