From confusion to panic, women may have a variety of reactions when their monthly menstrual cycle doesn’t make an appearance. Aside from the obvious reasons of pregnancy or menopause, there are a number of reasons your period may not show up on time — or at all. If you’ve been having regular periods but you suddenly miss one or more, this is known as secondary amenorrhea. Here are the most common causes of this issue:
- PCOS: When you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), your ovaries may not release an egg every month. If this occurs, the normal hormonal shifts that cause the uterine lining to shed during menstruation will not occur — and you won’t get your period. PCOS usually includes other symptoms, so if you suspect you have this condition, see your gynecologist.
- Stress: A high level of emotional stress, such as a divorce, death in the family, a move, or other major life event can interfere with your body’s hormonal signals and cause your period to go MIA — at least temporarily. In some cases, it may delay your body’s normal timing of ovulation, causing your period to be late. Or you may not ovulate at all, which is known as stress-induced anovulation. Eventually, when your hormones return to more normal levels, you will likely get your period again and start a new cycle.
- Thyroid problems: An over- or underactive thyroid can cause changes to your fertility and menstrual cycles, among other symptoms. Women are more prone to these issues, so if you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, see your physician to get tested. Most thyroid disorders can be effectively treated with medication, and your menstrual cycles should return to normal.
- Weight loss or gain: Estrogen levels in your body are influenced by your amount of body fat. Women who are underweight or suffer from eating disorders may stop having periods altogether, until a minimum level of body fat is reached. Over-exercising can also cause your periods to temporarily stop. Your periods may occasionally stop after bariatric surgery, but will typically resume when the weight loss begins to level off. Conversely, women who are significantly overweight may have irregular periods due to too much estrogen as a result of higher levels of body fat.
If you have very irregular periods, or you suddenly notice a significant change in your menstrual cycles, see your gynecologist. Often the cause can be determined with some blood tests and a discussion of your health history and symptoms. Once you know the cause and any appropriate treatment, you can put your mind at ease and focus on getting — or staying — as healthy as possible.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.