We know how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to conceive and your period comes late – but you’re not actually pregnant.
With the lack of menstruation, you patiently wait until a week after your period is due, only to get a Big Fat Negative when you test. Not to mention the money you spend re-testing, only to feel crushed when your period finally arrives days (or even weeks) late.
What’s even more frustrating? The fact that the onset of ovulation and the 2nd half of your cycle can give you some well-known early pregnancy symptoms – making it hard to understand what your body’s telling you.
That said, having a late period isn’t uncommon, and even if your periods are very regular, you can still be late for a multitude of reasons…
8 reasons why your period might be late – that aren’t pregnancy
1. Sometimes, it just happens
Ugh, annoying. But there are a complicated series of events needed to get your egg ready and in the right place at the right time.
Unsurprisingly, it can occasionally take the body a while to this. This can lead to an elongated gap between your periods.
Occasionally, you might have a month when you do not raise the sufficient oestrogen level to trigger ovulation. This is called anovulation.
If you don’t ovulate, you might still have a period but your temperature is unlikely to change as it does on a regular cycle (that’s why tracking your temperature is a useful way to find out what your body is doing every month).
Sometimes your ‘period’ might be light, or there will be a longer gap before the next cycle occurs.
It’s not always totally obvious why this happens but reasons for lowered oestrogen levels include:
- excessive exercise
- losing weight.
3. Lifestyle factors
Other lifestyle factors can affect your period: including not eating enough, and consuming too much caffeine.
So, make you’re getting lots of sleep, drinking plenty water, eating enough healthy stuff, etc… you don’t need us to remind you!
4. Your ovaries aren’t working properly
Sometimes, the ovaries simply fail to work. Which really does suck. Especially when you don’t know why.
Fortunately, if this ends up being the case, there are drugs that can help give your ovaries a boost – like Clomid and Metformin.
These drugs are only available on prescription, and are usually thought of as the first step to other fertility treatments.
Up to 10% of women suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which is caused by hormone imbalances (and possibly linked to insulin levels).
Symptoms can include:
- increased body hair or some baldness
- weight gain especially around your middle
- pain in the area of your ovaries
- heavy or irregular periods.
PCOS can go undiagnosed, and many women don’t actually know they have it.
If these symptoms sound familiar, it’s definitely worth talking to your GP about it. Don’t worry, either, as there are lots of different courses of treatment.
It’s quite well known that when you’re breastfeeding your new baby, it can take a few months for your period to come back.
But did you know that breastfeeding can also impact the regularity of your cycle, once they do?
Don’t forget though, it IS possible you can get pregnant even if you haven’t bled yet…
7. Thyroid issues
One symptom of thyroid problems can be irregular or missed periods – so if you’re experiencing any of the other symptoms, it may be worth running it by your GP.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) include:
- being sensitive to cold
- weight gain
- slow movements and thoughts
- muscle aches and weakness
- muscle cramps
- pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- irregular periods or heavy periods.
8. Could it be menopause?
OK, this one’s probably pretty unlikely… as the average age for periods ending due to menopause (or pre-menopause/perimenopause) is around 50.
However, in extreme cases, missed or erratic periods can begin as early as a woman’s 30s or as late as her 60s.
We’d say this probably isn’t one to think on too much – unless you’ve missed loads of periods, completely abnormally, or you have a family history of early menopause.
Finally… please don’t panic!
Unless you’re aware of a medical condition already – please don’t let a late period make you fear the worst straight away!
Rest assured that a missed or delayed period isn’t an indicator of a decreased ability to conceive – though we totally get it can be frustrating and even heartbreaking 💔
We’d say: keep living a healthy lifestyle, keep trying, and join the MadeForMums Trying To Conceive forum – so you’ve always got support from those in the same boat as you ❤️
Of course, if you’re concerned about a number of late or missed periods, or are experiencing any unusual or uncomfortable symptoms – then do make an appointment with your GP, just to be on the safe side.