All content within this page has been reviewed and endorsed by
Dr Tariq Miskry, Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician
Don’t worry. A late period is not as unusual as you may think.
Take a deep breath! There are a bunch of reasons your period can be late.
Here are seven common late period causes:
You've just started menstruating
Many girls have an irregular period when they first start menstruating. Your body takes time to get used to all the hormones flowing through it, meaning that sometimes your period might come later than you expect!
Some months, your cycle might be 45 days, but others it might be 23. In general, it takes about a year for your body to get on a regular schedule.
So, no worries, just the fact that you’re starting to have your period is a cause for a late period.
Miscalculation or normal fluctuation?
Maybe you made a mistake counting the days since your last period, so you think your period is late, when in fact, it’s right on schedule.
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. But most women’s cycles are slightly longer or shorter than this. If your period is just two days late, it may be a result of normal cycle fluctuations from month to month.
Many women have slightly irregular cycles with one month being on, say, a 27-day cycle and the following month a 29-day one. This means that if the previous month’s period came “early”, the next month may seem like it’s “late.” It happens to the best of us.
Stress can take a toll on your body. If you’ve been under an unusual amount of stress recently (Hello, exams! We’re looking at you!), it can throw off your hormone levels and influence the timing of your period.
If you suspect your period is delayed due to stress, try some relaxation techniques like breath focus to get back on track.
While moderate exercise is a big plus for staying healthy and boosting your mood, extreme exercise can cause hormonal irregularities that affect your period.
For instance, Olympic athletes sometimes stop getting their periods altogether, a condition known as amenorrhea.
Drastic weight changes
Any sudden change in weight can affect your menstrual cycle.
Severely restricting calories can alter the way your reproductive hormones work.
While drastic weight loss is more likely to cause changes in your menstrual cycle than weight gain, weight gain also has an effect on ovulation and getting your period as it can result in a rise in estrogen (one of the hormones involved in regulating your period).
One common cause of late periods is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, aka PCOS, a condition that many women and girls experience.
This is when multiple follicular cysts form on the ovaries. These cysts contain eggs associated with hormonal disruption, which means they cannot be released, resulting in delayed, infrequent or absent periods.
PCOS is very common, and often the symptoms of PCOS can be managed with medication. Ask your doctor if you’re concerned.
A late period is commonly seen as a sign that the egg your ovaries released that month has been fertilized by a sperm cell and you’re in the process of growing a little human inside you.
When you’re pregnant, you don’t get your period until after you give birth. If you are sexually active and suspect you may be pregnant, there are lots of home pregnancy tests you can buy at the pharmacy. However, you should also see a doctor.
Now you know what happens when your period is late – hopefully you feel more relaxed. Most of the time, hormone fluctuations that cause late periods will stabilise.
No one wants to toss their knickers in the bin because they’ve got a period stain on them.
Knowing how to prepare, especially if your period is late or irregular, is key. Wear an Always Dailies Fresh & Protect pantyliner a few days before your period is supposed to come.
Always Dailies are super thin and flexible, so you’ll barely know you have one on. They also lock away moisture and odours, so you and your knickers will be a-okay when your period does finally come – surprise or not.
We call that a win.