The delay in menstruation is one of the biggest headaches for women. While there are some who fear this delay for fear of getting pregnant, there are others who want to be mothers and look forward to that moment when their period does not come and they can see a positive pregnancy test.
However, it is not only pregnancy that can cause the period to be late or not arrive. No period and no pregnancy? You should know that there are other less common reasons for a menstrual delay and Alejandra Menassa, an internist specializing in women’s health and president of SESMI (Spanish Society of Integrative Medicine) explains them all to us. Why is your period late? Get rid of doubts:
Other reasons why menstruation can be delayed apart from pregnancy
The first thing that comes to mind when the day comes when our menstruation should come down and it does not come is that we are pregnant. But no, dear friend. Obviously, if you have had unprotected sex, pregnancy is an option that is on the table in that menstrual delay, but if you take a test and it comes back negative, there are other reasons that you should assess:
Stress is one of the factors that can cause the most alterations in the menstrual cycle. As Alejandra Menassa comments, it can be physical stress (surgery, having to operate on a small cyst, for example) or psychological stress (we are grieving the death of a loved one, we have recently experienced a sentimental breakup, work overloads…)
Any of these types of stress generates cortisol, a hormone that directly interferes with the regulation of progesterone and estrogen that our body releases, causing imbalances in the period, delaying it or even completely absent it.
Not sleeping well is another factor that greatly disrupts our body and, with it, our menstrual cycle. If you do not respect good sleep hygiene or do not get a good night’s rest, it is very likely that sooner or later your body will end up noticing the negative effects, in the form, for example, of a menstrual delay.
A very strict diet or sudden changes in weight
Weight changes cause hormonal imbalances, especially in estrogen levels. It is very likely that if you have recently gone on a very strict diet and have lost several kilos, you will not release eggs for a month. That would explain why you didn’t have your period that same month.
As Dr. Alejandra comments, this can also occur in vegan diets, where if some vitamins such as ‘D’ are not supplemented correctly, a lack of nutrients can occur that can lead to amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).
The thyroid gland is essential for regulating metabolism and body temperature. If there are imbalances in this, the most normal thing is that the whole organism becomes unbalanced. Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can have a major impact on menstruation and its regulation.
Urine infection (Cystitis)
Urine infection can cause menstrual delay due to the infection itself (the bacteria involved generate imbalances in the cycle) and also due to the medications taken to eliminate it. “In the intestine there is a series of bacteria that interfere with the metabolism of our estrogens and progesterone. When we are taking antibiotics, we are modifying the balance of the intestinal flora and indirectly we are affecting that balance of our estrogens”, explains Alejandra.
Vaginal infection (Candidiasis)
With vaginal candidiasis, it happens exactly the same as with a urine infection. It would fall within what we have previously called ‘physical stress’. Our immune system has to be fighting against bacteria in order to defeat them and all that overexertion can throw our entire hormonal system out of balance.
Sometimes, it is the menstruation itself that causes anemia in some women, but have you ever considered that it could be the opposite? That it is the anemia itself that causes irregularities in the period. Yes, anemia can cause menstrual bleeding to be altered by reducing it, delaying it or making it disappear temporarily. Of course, this does not usually happen in cases of mild anemia.
If you have anemia and your period is late, it is best to see your doctor.
Some pills and even other contraceptive methods like the IUD can cause missed periods. This happens when they are implanted or when they start to be taken, but also when their treatment is paused or finished. It takes some time before the body regulates itself again and ovulates normally.
How many days can menstruation be late without having to worry?
- Although it is unusual, menstruation can be delayed up to a month. If you have already ruled out pregnancy, three or four weeks have passed and your period still does not come down, it is best to see a doctor or gynecologist to make sure there is no major problem.
- It can happen that the menstruation is delayed only one month in a timely and isolated way, in that case there would be nothing to worry about since it is probably a stress problem. However, it must be taken into account that, as a rule, menstrual delays due to stress are usually one or two weeks.
Symptoms that reveal that the period is about to come down
- Every woman knows her own body and is perfectly aware of the small symptoms she has before her period comes down. If you have an absence of menstruation, but you have all those usual symptoms, it is very likely that she will end up getting you down very soon. The most frequent symptoms include tenderness, pelvic heaviness, leg swelling, fluid retention, diarrhea, constipation …
- On the other hand, the symptoms of pregnancy usually also include nausea and hypersensitivity to odors (strong odors are perceived much more).
- It is important that if you suspect that you are pregnant, you wait a few days to take the test, since early pregnancy tests often give false negatives.
How to make menstruation go down if it continues without coming
- “Some herbal teas or phytotherapy can make it easier for menstruation to arrive, however, it is not convenient to take anything to cause the period to come down. This should come naturally and if it does not, it is a symptom that something is happening in our body. This symptom must not be ignored,” advises Alejandra Menassa.
- Faced with a delay that is not a pregnancy, it is advisable to consult a professional or doctor who checks our thyroid glands, who checks how we are eating… In short, it will be the specialist who will be able to make a proper diagnosis and rule out health problems more serious.