We’ve all been there. That Bridget Jones moment when you’re on a mini break with your new man and suddenly realise you’ve not had a visit from Aunt Flo for a while longer than normal and in a panic find yourself skiing (if you can call it that) through the alps until you reach the pharmacy in which you try to explain in poorly spoken German that you need a pregnancy test. Okay, so maybe not exactly that moment, but you catch my drift? Realising your period is late can be both exciting and scary depending on your circumstance and while for many a late period means pregnancy, there are some other reasons why Mother Nature might be running late to the panty party.
Stress. Stress affects the part of your brain that that’s responsible for producing the hormones essential for reproduction and so it’s not surprising that it can cause a delay to your period. If you’ve been uber stressed out or suffered a loss, don’t be alarmed if your period is a couple of days late or a little longer or shorter than normal. The more your stress, the later you may be!
You’re taking Anti-biotics. Putting any chemical into your body is likely to have an affect on something, somewhere. Antibiotics can throw the hormones you produce in order to have your period off track by hindering oestrogen production and if this is too low your body might skip or delay ovulation.
You’ve changed or stopped taking your contraceptive pill.The contraceptive pill is often prescribed by your GP to regulate your period. If you suddenly decide to stop taking your pill, don’t be surprised if your cycle doesn’t return to normal right away! It can take up to six months for the hormones from your pill to leave your body entirely. If after 6 months your period hasn’t returned pay a visit to your GP to rule out any other issues or concerns.
You’ve been poorly. Having a tummy bug or the flu can play havoc with your cycle and if you’ve been very ill your body may have decided that you’re too sick to fall pregnant and therefore delayed ovulation meaning your period might not arrive on time if at all.
You’ve lost or gained weight. Dramatic changes in your body weight during a short amount of time can affect your period more than you think. In order to ovulate, you need a certain amount of body fat for your body to do it’s monthly ‘thing’ and a dramatic loss of weight can cause ovulation and therefore your period to stop. Likewise, a dramatic weight gain can have the same affect as excess fat cells can raise oestrogen levels, which can stop your body from releasing an egg at ovulation.
You’re exercising more. If you’ve recently started a high intense exercise regime in the lead up to a sporting event or you’ve just decided to become a lot more active, don’t be surprised if your period takes a little while longer to arrive. Intense exercise requires lots of energy and so in order to conserve this, your body can decide to switch off ‘unnecessary’ functions such as making babies! If you’re worried, cool down the work outs – your cycle should return as normal in no time.
You have an underlying medical condition. Conditions such as polycystic ovaries, endometriosis and some thyroid conditions have a bit of a reputation for reeping havoc with your cycle. If your periods have been a bit up in the air for a while, make an appointment with your GP to get to the bottom of it. The more in depth information you have about your cycle over the last year, the better.
The Menopause. It’s going to reach us all at some point and so burying your head in the sand from the symptoms of the Menopause would be daft. As well as a change or absence to your normal cycle, you might be experiencing night sweats, hot flushes (or power surges as my colleague calls them!), disturbances in your sleep and vaginal dryness. Glam, I know, but the sooner you recognise these symptoms book in to have a chat with your GP – she’ll be able to advise you on some small lifestyle changes and treatments options which will make ‘the change’ that bit more comfortable. Think you’re too young to be going through the menopause? One in ten women go through premature menopause before the age of 40.