Most of us have or will experience a late or missed period at some point during our menstruating years, Moxette, and there is a heap of reasons why it can happen. And, whilst we might think it's a welcome relief from the cramps and mood swings, sometimes it's best to suss things out. Here are some of the culprits.
'The silent killer', they say. Well, it can kill your periods, too – but don't worry, you can get them back – the trick is to keep your stress hormones (also known as your cortisol levels) low. Life can be HARD and sometimes it gets all too much to deal, I know! It's important to do your best to stress-less and find ways to cope with the tough stuff because otherwise when you're stressed, your body releases cortisol. Too much of it basically shuts down the production of your sex hormones, which in turn can stunt your period.
#2 YOU'RE MAKING A MINI ME
That's right, Moxette, you might well be preggers! Most doctors recommend you wait two weeks after your missed period to take a pregnancy test in order to get a more accurate read, but if you do suspect you're pregnant and want to be super sure, best to see your doc.
#3 YOU MAY HAVE POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME
This literally means that you have lots of little cysts on your ovaries. They're relatively harmless, but they can contribute to hormone imbalances, which can affect your periods (and in turn, your ability to fall pregnant). Symptoms of PCOS include weight gain, skin breakouts, and irregular periods, to name a few – so basically, a standard day in the life of BEING A WOMAN. This one is virtually impossible to self-diagnose, so I'd say best leave this to the professionals.
#4 YOU'RE EXPERIENCE 'THE PAUSE'
Whilst uncommon, it's not impossible for younger women to experience what is called 'premature' or menopause - which means that your period permanently stops before the age of 40. Early menopause can sometimes be induced by surgery or issues with the ovaries and can be an emotional (and physical) rollercoaster, but there are treatments options available, so again, if you think you're in this camp, consult your doctor.
#5 TOO MUCH EXERCISE
Being a lean machine is awesome and it's important to exercise regularly for general good physical and mental health... but if you're burning a heap more calories than you're consuming and ultimately your body fat gets too low, this can send your body into a state known as hypothalamic amenorrhea - which is basically your brain telling your body that it's not a good time to have a baby = AWOL periods! Best keep an eye on this, Moxette, as a prolonged condition may lead to things like infertility and osteoporosis.
#6 SUDDEN EXTREME WEIGHT LOSS OR WEIGHT GAIN
Put simply, excessively restricting your calorie intake can stop the production of hormones needed for ovulation. On the flip side, if you are overweight or obese, then your body can produce too much oestrogen which ultimately can also stop your periods. If you think you're suffering from either severe weight loss or weight gain, it's best is to see a doctor, dietician or psychiatrist to help combat any eating relating disorders.
Most commonly the oral pills or the implanted type... can sometimes cause your periods to become very light, or not come at all – particularly in the early stages of taking the medication. If your period doesn't return to normal after a couple of months, it's probably worth getting checked out. The same can be said for coming off the pill – it can take months for your periods to return to 'normal' (but remember, everyone's normal is different! You know your own body).
Regular periods are a pretty positive sign that your body is functioning normally and doing all the girly stuff it should be. If you are experiencing infrequent or completely absent periods, or, if you suspect that something is a little off with your cycle, please consult your doctor or a trusted medical professional.