Missed period
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Missed period: 10 common reasons other than you’re pregnant

A woman with a regular menstrual cycle who is fooling around with her male counterpart knows that a missed period could mean she is pregnant. It is advised that she waits a week after a missed period to take a pregnancy test for an accurate reading. Many times, however, the result is negative and she is confused about what is happening with her body.

Pregnancy is not the only reason for you to miss your period. The first step to identifying the cause of irregularity is to know your menstrual cycle. Track your cycle on a calendar to learn how yours work by recording the date when a period begins. The next time you have a period, record that date as the start of your next menstrual cycle. After 4 months of doing this, you will see if you have a regular or irregular cycle.

Knowing your menstrual cycle tells you if your missed period is caused by a simple lifestyle change or if you may have a serious problem. If you have a regular menstrual cycle between 21 to 45 days, you can track the events in your life within the cycle that may be responsible for the irregularity. If you have an irregular cycle, then it is important that you seek medical advice from a doctor. Here are 10 common reasons for having a missed period other than being pregnant.

10 common reasons you can have a missed period

1. Stress

Feeling stressed is a common reason for having a missed period. This is because the hormone cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, prevents the production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone that are needed to maintain a regular cycle. If you are feeling stressed and you miss your period, try to relieve stress with some relaxation techniques.

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2. Weight gain or loss

Losing or gaining weight too quickly can cause you to have a missed period. Hormones are responsible for your menstrual cycle and the nutrients in your body help produce these hormones. Changes in your hormone levels are caused by having too much or too little nutrients due to overeating causing unhealthy weight gain or extreme exercise causing drastic weight loss. If you must gain or lose weight, do it in moderation.

3. Thyroid problems

Thyroid issues can cause you to have a missed period. The thyroid gland creates hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism. When the thyroid gland is over active or under active, the body malfunctions causing several symptoms including an irregular menstrual cycle.

Your doctor can give you a blood test to see if you have any thyroid issues. According to Healthline, taking a vitamin B-12 supplement may help you repair some of the damage hypothyroidism caused.

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4. Polycystic ovary syndrome

Irregular periods or prolonged menstrual cycles are the most common sign of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic. Women with PCOS experience signs and symptoms such as excessive weight gain, pre-diabetes, facial hair, acne and infertility.

There is no cure for PCOS but the condition can be managed with a low-carb and low-fat diet along with moderate exercise daily. Women with PCOS can make these lifestyle changes to have regular periods, experience ovulation and achieve pregnancy.

5. Ovarian cysts

Women with ovarian cysts are likely to experience pelvic pain, constipation, pressure on the bladder and irregular periods. They may not know that they have cysts but having a missed period while not being pregnant is usually an indication for seeing a doctor.

Ovarian cysts can be seen on an ultrasound, CT scan or laparoscopy. They usually go away on their own but if they do not, they are treated with birth control. Rarely, the ovarian cysts are removed if the doctor believes they are cancerous. This is a last resort since surgery can result in early menopause.

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6. Diabetes

Diabetes is linked to hormonal changes that can cause you to have a missed period. VeryWellHealth states that after ovulation, there is an increase in the levels of the hormone progesterone which are higher during the second half of the menstrual cycle and are responsible for relative insulin resistance.

In diabetes, the body cannot utilise glucose to produce energy adequately causing you to feel fatigued, not exercise, crave carbohydrates and put on weight. This affects the menstrual cycle, making it irregular. Women with diabetes are cautioned to be wary of increasing glucose readings and the effects during the second half of their menstrual cycle.

7. Medications

A side effect of certain medications is the altering of your menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that aspirin and other blood thinners, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), hormone therapy, thyroid medications and chemotherapy can affect your period.

You should inform your doctor if this happens to you. However, there is no evidence supporting the claim that antibiotics can delay your period. Feeling stressed out over the ailment for which you are taking the antibiotics can cause your missed period.

8. Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers may not have periods for some months after making their baby. Prolactin is a hormone that causes you to make milk and it prevents ovulation and making you have a period.

As your baby gets older and starts breastfeeding less, your period may return. Then, it is possible for you to ovulate and get pregnant while you are still breastfeeding.

9. Eating disorder

Eating too little while you are underweight can hamper your menstrual cycle. Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are mental health illnesses. Persons are usually in denial about their condition and try to justify their actions when concerned family and friends intervene.

Other symptoms of an eating disorder are gastrointestinal disease, fatigue, hair loss and dehydration. An eating disorder is a deadly illness and having a missed period should be a clear sign that your body is lacking the nutrients that it needs to allow your reproductive system to function properly. Seek medical advice to get professional assistance.

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10. Menopause

Having a missed period in your 40s or 50s may be the start of menopause. Other symptoms are vaginal dryness, hot flashes, chills, night sweats, sleep problems, mood changes, weight gain, slowed metabolism, thinning hair, dry skin and loss of breast fullness.

Menopause can also happen at an earlier age and a missed period is usually an indication. Talk to your doctor about your concerns so you can be given the necessary screenings and treatment as early as possible.

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