“I’ve never missed a period before!” If this has been true for you, and if for the first time ever you’re late or have missed a period, we understand what a scary time it may be for you.
Avenue Women’s Center has assisted women of all ages in DuPage County and nearby communities for over twenty-seven years as they face the challenges of an unplanned pregnancy. Often their first contact with us is after they have missed a period and are concerned they might be pregnant. If you or someone you know is in this situation, we can help. Our free, medical grade pregnancy test is accurate ten days after the possible time of conception. If the test result is positive and pregnancy is not part of your plan at this time, our next service is a no-obligation pregnancy options consultation with one of our caring client advocates. This is also available at no cost to you. Please contact us today at one of our five DuPage County locations.
Especially for those women whose cycles are very regular, their first thought when they have missed a period is “Am I pregnant?” Although pregnancy is a common reason for a missed period, there may be other causes as well. Check this list to see if any of them might apply to you.
1. Stress – Stressful life events can range from something as major as the death of a loved one to something significantly minor in comparison: changes at work, at school, in relationships or with family. Sometimes it’s an accumulation of small things – burned the toast, missed the bus, falling behind on deadlines, maybe just needing a break! These things can add up to the point that stress may take a physical toll, including affecting the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates your period. For whatever reason, have your stress levels increased recently?
2. Dietary changes or extreme changes in weight – Either up or down, changes in your weight can affect your menstrual cycle. Losing or gaining weight too quickly can result in a change to your periods.
• Low body weight – Whether caused by serious dieting or an actual eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, low body weight (10% less than what is considered normal for your height) can have a bearing on bodily functions. It may even stop ovuation.
• Obesity – Weight gain can also cause hormonal changes which may affect your cycle. Too much weight, as well as low body weight, can impede ovulation.
3. Excessive exercise – Over-doing exercise can disrupt hormone levels and interrupt your periods. This may be the case for professional dancers or athletes. Non-professionals may be subject to this as well—perhaps as they begin training for a long-distance run or similar events.
4. Hormone imbalance – One example of hormone imbalance is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).This condition causes your body to produce an excess of the male hormone androgen. Ovulation may be irregular or it may stop entirely. Insulin is another hormone that can become imbalanced. Hormone Therapy (HT) may use other hormones to restore balance.
5. Thyroid problems – Either an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) or an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can be the cause if you are late or have missed a period. Treatment with a medication can usually bring regularity back to your cycle.
6. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – This is an infection of the reproductive system which can cause irregular periods.
7. Chronic Diseases – Diabetes and celiac disease are among those which may cause periods to be irregular.
8. Premature Ovarian Failure or Early-onset Perimenopause – Loss of normal ovarian function before age 40 is considered premature; however it can happen. Most women start the transition to menopause between 45 and 55 years of age. For some it may begin sooner. Perimenopause signals the beginning of the transition when the egg supply is winding down. Missed periods will be part of this transition until the eventual end of menstruation. Menopause is considered complete when there has been no bleeding or spotting for 12 consecutive months.
9. Other possible causes of a missed period may include uterine polyps, fibroids, or scarring of the uterine lining. Pregnancy or breast feeding, some medications, changes in hormonal birth control methods, or an IUD can also result in menstrual changes.
If you have missed a period and this is unusual for you, we urge you to contact Avenue Women’s Center for a free pregnancy test. Whether it’s for peace of mind, or to figure out the next steps that are right for you, you owe it to yourself. Whatever the result, with Avenue Women’s Center you’ll not be alone. We are here with you and for you.
- Mayo Clinic. (2016, May). Menstrual cycle: What’s normal, what’s not. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186
- WebMD. (2017, March). Why Is My Period So Random? Why Irregular Periods. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/women/why-is-my-period-so-random#1
- Healthline. (2017, April). Why Is My Period Late: 8 Possible Reasons. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/why-is-my-period-late
- Healthline.(2017, April). Missing your period while on birth control. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/missed-period-on-birth-control
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.