Oh no! Your period is late! 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. As your body grows accustomed to the new hormones flowing through it, your cycle has yet to get on a regular rhythm which can result in a late period. This means that in some months, your cycle may be 45 days long, and during others it may be just 23. In general, it takes about a year for your body to get on a regular schedule.
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.
- Extreme exercise
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 period is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, aka PCOS, a condition that many women and girls experience. This is when cysts form on the ovaries, which disrupts ovulation, resulting in a delayed period or no period altogether. 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 drugstore. 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.
Always be prepared!
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 panty liner 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.