8 Reasons for Missed Periods or Absence of Menstruation

period, menstruation

Not everyone experiences periods with regular frequency. While some people's periods arrive like clockwork every month, others may have irregular periods that come unexpectedly or don't occur at all. It's important to note that a missed or late period doesn't always indicate pregnancy. There are many other possible causes of missed or irregular periods, such as hormonal imbalances or medical issues. If you're experiencing a missed or irregular period, it may be a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the cause and address any potential concerns.

Missing a period: is it normal?

It is common for periods to be irregular during certain times in a person's life, such as during puberty, while breastfeeding, and at the beginning of perimenopause. Typically, most people have a menstrual cycle that occurs every 28 days and lasts between 21 and 35 days. However, a missed period or irregular period outside of these times could potentially be a sign of a health issue, in addition to puberty, menopause, and pregnancy.

Is it possible to miss a period for a month?

There are several potential causes of a missed period that are not related to pregnancy, such as stress, low body weight, obesity, PCOS, use of birth control, certain medical conditions, early perimenopause, and thyroid problems. If you are experiencing a missed period, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider to determine the cause and address any potential concerns.

Is it normal to miss a period for 3 months?

Not having a period for three months or more is called secondary amenorrhea, which can have various causes. These can include natural causes such as perimenopause, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, as well as lifestyle factors like stress and excessive exercise, and weight changes. Hormonal imbalances caused by tumors on the pituitary gland or thyroid gland problems, as well as low estrogen levels or high testosterone levels, can also lead to secondary amenorrhea. Genetic disorders like Swyer syndrome and Turner syndrome can also cause a lack of menstruation without proper hormone treatment. Some medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, and chemotherapy drugs, can also cause missed periods. Stopping birth control pills can also cause periods to be delayed or missed. Reproductive organ problems can also be a cause of irregular periods.

Bottom line is, to determine the length of your menstrual cycle, you can count the number of days from the start of one period to the start of the next. On average, menstrual cycles typically last between 21 and 35 days. If your periods fall within this range, it is generally not a cause for concern.

There are several possible causes of missed periods besides pregnancy, including:

  • Stress: This is a common cause of missed periods. Stress can lead to hormonal imbalances and affect the hypothalamus, which regulates periods. Stress can also cause weight loss or gain and other illnesses that can affect the menstrual cycle. Stress can be caused by factors such as traveling, professional and relationship issues, emotional problems, financial concerns, etc.
  • Low body weight: Low body weight is another potential cause of missed periods. People with eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia nervosa may experience absent periods. If your body weight is too low, you may stop ovulating due to hormonal changes. Athletes who participate in certain types of exercise, such as marathons, may also have missed periods.
  • Obesity: Similar to low body weight, obesity can also cause hormonal changes that can lead to missed periods.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a condition in which the body produces too much of the male hormone androgen. This hormonal imbalance can cause ovulation to stop or become irregular, and cysts to form in the ovaries. This can result in missed periods. Along with androgens, other hormones such as insulin can also be disrupted by PCOS.
  • Birth control: Starting or stopping birth control can cause changes in the menstrual cycle. Birth control contains hormones progesterone and estrogen, which prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. Within three months of starting or stopping birth control pills, periods should become regular. Other hormonal contraceptives that are injected or implanted can also cause missed periods.
    • Chronic diseases: Certain chronic illnesses, such as celiac disease and diabetes, can also affect periods. Blood sugar changes can affect hormones, and poorly controlled diabetes can lead to irregular periods. Celiac disease causes inflammation in the small intestine and prevents the body from absorbing vital nutrients, which can cause missed or late periods.
    • Thyroid issues: An underactive or overactive thyroid gland can also cause irregular periods. The thyroid gland regulates the body's metabolism, so thyroid issues can also affect hormone levels and cause missed periods.
    • Early perimenopause: For most people, menopause begins between the ages of 45 and 55. If menopause symptoms start before the age of 40, it is considered early perimenopause. Early perimenopause means that the egg supply is declining, which can cause missed periods and eventually the end of menstruation.

    It may be a good idea to speak with a healthcare provider about a missed period or irregular periods, especially if your periods are usually regular. A healthcare provider can help determine the cause of the missed period and suggest appropriate treatment options. It is advisable to see a doctor if you experience the following symptoms:

  • You have missed your period three or more times in a year.
  • You have a period more frequently than every 21 days.
  • You have a period less frequently than every 35 days.
  • Bleeding lasts for more than seven days.
  • Bleeding is heavier than normal.
  • You have severe pain during your period.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have postmenopausal bleeding (bleeding after you have entered menopause and have not had a period for one year).

Missed periods can have multiple causes besides pregnancy, such as hormonal imbalances or more serious medical issues. Many people experience irregular periods during puberty, at the beginning of perimenopause, and during pregnancy.

A missed period can sometimes indicate a health issue, such as stress, low body weight, obesity, PCOS, use of birth control, chronic diseases, thyroid issues, and early perimenopause. If you experience a change in your regular period pattern, it is important to contact a healthcare provider.