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Delayed or missed periods? Here are 10 possible reasons

Period 101
Stephen Hawkins Last Updated 04/28/2023 5 mins Read

There are many reasons, apart from pregnancy, for a woman to experience delayed periods. Your periods may become irregular at the start of the menstrual cycle (menarche) and the beginning of the menopause transition. Your menstrual cycle can become unpredictable because your body is adjusting to a physical or lifestyle change.

There’s no need to panic.

In this article, we will look at 10 reasons for a late or missed period.

How much delay in periods is normal?

If you don't have any medical conditions that could interfere with your menstrual cycle, your period should begin within the duration of your normal cycle.

A menstrual cycle usually lasts 28 days but might extend up to 40 days. If your cycle lasts longer than 40 days or is longer than usual for you, it is considered late.

Why is my period late?

The reasons for a late or missed period are:


Prolonged stress can disrupt your daily routine, alter hormones, and even impact the hypothalamus - the area of your brain that controls your period. It can make your periods longer or shorter, or even miss them.

You can reduce stress and maintain a regular menstrual cycle by managing hectic events, exercising frequently, and getting enough rest. Speaking with a doctor can help you find appropriate coping strategies when dealing with prolonged stress.

2.Weight loss

Being severely underweight can disrupt regular menstrual cycles. When the body lacks the necessary fat and other nutrients, it cannot produce hormones properly, lowering them to levels where ovulation and menstruation do not occur.

Amenorrhea (absence of periods) can occur in women who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia (extremely low-calorie intake) or who burn off a lot more calories through activity than they take in.

If you receive therapy for your eating disorder, you may regain a healthy body fat level, which will help return your period cycle to normal.


Being overweight can disrupt a woman's menstrual cycle, just as losing weight can cause her to miss a period.

Obesity can have a significant influence on oestrogen and progesterone regulation. It can lead to an excess of oestrogen in the body, causing irregular cycles, and may even cease your periods completely.

Consult your doctor if you are obese and experience delayed periods. They might suggest a healthy diet and lifestyle changes.

4.Birth control

If you use or stop using birth control, particularly hormonal, you can experience late periods. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone found in birth control can prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. It could even take a while for your periods to return to normal even after you stop taking them.

These hormones can also thin the uterine lining, making it difficult to initiate the period process. Hormonal birth control methods include pills, patches, shots, implants, and rings.

If you use birth control and are concerned, consult your doctor about the consequences.

5.Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a common hormonal disorder in women in which the body produces more male hormones called androgens. This can form cysts on the ovaries, making ovulation and periods irregular or stopping them entirely.

Get checked by a doctor if you experience other PCOS symptoms, including:

  • Extra body and facial hair
  • Male-pattern baldness
  • Acne breakouts
  • Obesity
  • Dark skin patches on breasts, groyne, and neck creases

6.Thyroid problems

Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck, produces hormones that regulate many bodily functions, including your menstrual cycle.

An overactive or underactive thyroid gland can cause hormonal imbalance and late periods. Your period could also stop for several months on occasion.

Your doctor can help treat thyroid problems with medication, and your cycle will most likely return to normal after treatment.

7.Extreme exercise

Extreme exercise can alter thyroid and pituitary hormone levels, which can interfere with ovulation and menstruation. Those who train for several hours every day are more likely to experience this. It happens when you burn far more calories than you consume.

If you are a professional athlete or intend to exercise that frequently, speak with a healthcare practitioner.


Perimenopause is the transitional stage between reproductive and non-reproductive ages (menopause).

Many women start experiencing symptoms 10 to 15 years before menopause. It indicates that oestrogen levels are starting to fluctuate. Your periods may become lighter, heavier, more frequent, or less frequent during this time.

9.Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI)

POI, also known as early menopause, occurs when your ovaries stop producing eggs before age 40. It affects hormone production, including oestrogen. When your oestrogen level drops, you will start experiencing menopausal symptoms, with missed or late periods being the first sign.

If you're 40 years old or younger and experiencing any other signs besides delayed periods, speak with your doctor about POI testing and treatment.

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Trouble getting pregnantx
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Mood changes

10.Chronic diseases

Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and celiac disease, can also disrupt your menstrual cycle. Although it's unusual, uncontrolled diabetes can result in irregular periods since fluctuations in blood sugar can influence hormonal changes.

Celiac disease causes inflammation, which can harm your small intestine. It could prevent your body from absorbing essential nutrients and result in irregular or missed periods.

There are many causes of delayed periods, and while most do not require immediate attention, consult your doctor if you have missed more than one period.

Also, keeping a record of your periods, including the start and end dates and a list of any other associated symptoms, can be beneficial. A detailed history will help your doctor to identify the late period cause and suggest the proper treatment.

Kotex Period Tracker can help you track your period cycle easily. It is also accessible on your smartphone to help you record your period dates and symptoms at your comfort.

Stephen Hawkins Last Updated 04/28/2023 5 mins Read

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