Missed Period

MISSED PERIOD

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Most people believe that the absence of a menstrual cycle is a clear cut indication of pregnancy. But it is possible to have missed periods for other reasons too. The other reasons of missed periods are - low BMI, stress, PCOS, birth control pills, thyroid imbalances, and eating disorders. At times, missing one period is considered normal by most doctors. However, if you are sexually active you should consider taking a pregnancy test if you miss a period.
In addition to a missed period, there are other signs in your body that hint towards pregnancy. You should check your breasts for tenderness. During pregnancy, breasts turn swollen and tender. A persistent feeling of nausea and vomiting aka morning sickness is the second indication. You might feel tired easily. The frequency of urination increases.
In order to get the most accurate results of a pregnancy test, you should ideally take up the test one week after your missed period. Or, you should wait at least 1-2 weeks after you had intercourse to get reliable results. If you take a pregnancy test on the 1st day of your missed period and it turns out to be positive, that means it is almost 2 weeks since you conceived.
Missed periods or amenorrhea can be due to a multitude of reasons. Having a missed period does indicate pregnancy however pregnancy is not always the reason for a missed period. If you have lost significant weight, it could make you miss a period. Travel, sickness, stress, change in eating patterns, PCOS, and endocrine disorders are linked to missed periods. Having 1 missed period is normal generally. You should consult a doctor if it keeps repeating (2-3 missed periods).

Introduction

In women of reproductive age, the ovaries take turns month after month to release a mature ovum. This ovum is expected to meet with a sperm and get fertilized to form an embryo. In anticipation of this, the uterine lining becomes thickened with blood in order to facilitate implantation of the embryo so conceived. When conception fails to occur, the uterine lining is shed through the vagina. This mechanism is responsible for menstrual bleeding. Every woman’s body is different; some have their period every 28 days and others may have a 31-day cycle. This explains why perfectly healthy women may sometimes experience 11 periods or 13 periods in a calendar year.

 

What is a Missed Period or Irregular Periods?

  • MISSED PERIOD causesSome young women fail to achieve menarche or onset of menstruation. This is one form of amenorrhea.
  • Menstrual bleeding for the month fails to occur in a woman who has already hit puberty, this is called a missed or skipped period.
  • When menstrual bleeding remains absent for up to three months, this is called secondary amenorrhea.
  • The period appears earlier or later than expected and there is continuous variation in the length of the menstrual cycle and heaviness of bleeding, this is known as irregular menstruation.

In the initial months and years following menarche, irregularity is a common phenomenon as the body is still in the process of regularising menstruation. Once a woman’s body has settled into a regular pattern of menstruation, she will learn to recognize this pattern and the normal duration of her menstrual cycle. Under normal circumstances, this pattern continues as expected.

A minor deviation of a few days is considered perfectly normal. Menstrual cycles ranging in duration from 24 to 35 days fall within the normal range. However, at times there may be a significant deviation. For instance, the bleeding for a particular month may fail to occur at all or it may be very late.

A missed period can indicate a sudden change in the bodily environment and by the time of the next period, things may return to normal. However, if the bleeding fails to occur for several months in a row or if the menstrual cycle remains irregular and unpredictable, this should be looked into. Its causes could range from pregnancy to menopause to polycystic ovary syndrome.

 

What is the Cause for This?

MISSED PERIOD pregnancyThe onset of menstruation may fail to occur on account of certain genetic defects or failure of the ovaries at an early age.

In the event of a missed or delayed period in a woman who has successfully attained puberty, especially when this occurs following unprotected intercourse, the most obvious conclusion is that of pregnancy.

However, there can be a variety of possible reasons for missing a period or irregular periods.

Some such causes are:

  • Chromosomal abnormalities such as Turner syndrome.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding. If one has recently had unprotected intercourse and not used oral contraceptives, then it is very likely that conception may have taken place and led to pregnancy. During pregnancy, the woman will not experience menstrual bleeding. Even afterward, it may take some time for the menstrual cycle to return to normal, usually only after the infant has been weaned off breastfeeding.
  • This is the period of time leading up to menopause when several changes in the body and menstrual cycle are expected to occur. This is a perfectly normal and healthy aspect of aging.
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain.
  • Anorexia.
  • Use of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine or methamphetamines.
  • Travel.
  • Stress.
  • Illness.
  • Exercise or physical activity in excess of one’s usual activity levels.
  • Endocrine disorders such as thyroid or pituitary dysfunction.
  • Premature ovarian failure or the loss of ovarian function before the age of 40.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome.
  • Asherman’s syndrome, characterized by inflammation of uterine tissue which interferes with normal menstruation.
  • Certain birth control methods can cause missed or irregular periods. For instance, oral contraceptives function by disabling ovulation which is the very cause for the menstrual bleeding.
  • A long-term or untreated illness such as celiac disease.
  • Having an imperforate hymen. In this condition, the woman’s hymen does not have an opening sufficient for menstrual blood to pass through.

 

What are the Signs?

  • A missed period is a one-off failure or absence of menstrual bleeding.
  • Amenorrhea is characterized by the failure or absence of menstrual bleeding for as much as three months at a stretch.
  • Irregular menstruation involves continuous variation in the length of the menstrual cycle.
  • Irregular periods may also present with significant variation in the quantity of menstrual bleeding and the duration of the period.
  • Irregularity may also manifest in the form of spotting or light bleeding between periods.

These signs, in themselves, do not necessarily indicate a disease or disorder. As noted above, there are certain circumstances under which irregular or skipped menstruation is considered perfectly normal. Depending on the actual cause, there can be wide variation in the signs accompanying menstrual irregularity. For instance, a woman in the first trimester of pregnancy will typically experience morning sickness, mood swings, constipation, tenderness in the breasts and changes in appetite in addition to absent periods. Those experiencing perimenopause will also notice mood swings but this may be accompanied by hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

 

What are the Different Types of Amenorrhea?

MISSED PERIODThere are two fundamentally distinct types of amenorrhea. These are:

  • Primary Amenorrhea: Typically, this is the failure to achieve menarche at all. Often, this is the result of primary ovarian insufficiency, a condition seen in individuals with genetic abnormalities such as Turner syndrome. Alternatively, the reason may be an anatomical abnormality such as Mullerian agenesis which is characterized by the congenital absence of the uterus or the vagina or both in some instances. Primary amenorrhea cannot be cured.
  • Secondary Amenorrhea: This is medically defined as the absence of regular menstruation for three months at a stretch or the absence of irregular menstruation for six months at least. Causes for this can range from pregnancy and endocrine disorder to contraceptive use or conditions such as untreated celiac disease or anorexia. This is often treatable.

 

Are There Any Complications Associated With a Missed Period?

Where pregnancy is ruled out as the underlying cause, amenorrhea adversely affects fertility because it is usually characterized by the absence of ovulation. When ovulation does not occur, it is not possible to conceive. Lowered estrogen levels can increase the risk of loss of bone density and of developing osteoporosis.    

 

How Can This Be Diagnosed?

Adolescent females aged 15 or older who have not yet experienced menarche should seek medical advice. Theirs may be a case of primary amenorrhea or delayed onset of puberty. Generally, pregnancy is the first suspect when a sexually active woman has skipped her period once or for two months in a row. Hence, the gynecologist will certainly test for pregnancy. If this is ruled out, a number of other tests can help pinpoint the cause of this disturbance. Depending on the particular combination of symptoms exhibited the list of possible causes can be narrowed down.

The procedure of diagnosis may be as follows:

  • Physical examination and medical history.
  • Pregnancy tests.
  • Tests for thyroid and pituitary function.
  • Tests for serum hormone levels particularly with respect to hormones such as prolactin, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and testosterone.
  • Diagnostic imaging using techniques such as ultrasound and computerized tomography to study the condition of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Magnetic resonance imaging helps assess the condition of the pituitary gland and detect abnormalities such as tumors.

 

Treatment and Prevention

Treatment – Treatment for PCOS (a cause of irregular periods)

  • Combination birth control – Pills that contain estrogen and progestin decrease androgen levels and regulate estrogen. Regulating your hormones can lower your risks of endometrial cancer and correct abnormal bleeding, excess hair growth and acne. Progestin therapy – Taking progestin for 10-14 days every 1-2 months can help regulate your period and protect against endometrial cancer.
  • Lifestyle changes – Your doctor may recommend weight loss with a help of a low-calorie diet with moderate exercise activities. Even a moderate level of weight loss can help in reducing the PCOS symptoms.
  • Limit carbohydrates – Low fat and high carbohydrates might increase insulin levels. Be active – Exercise helps in lowering blood sugar levels. Increase in daily activities and participating in regular exercise can treat or even prevent insulin resistance, help weight management, and avoid diabetes.

Treatment for hyperthyroidism (a cause of irregular periods)

  • Radioactive iodine – This is absorbed by the thyroid gland, where the gland shrinks and the symptoms reduce, usually within 6-8 months. Anti-thyroid medications – This method reduces the production of excess amounts of the hormone that the thyroid gland produces. Beta-blockers – These are commonly used to treat high levels of blood pressure. They cannot reduce the thyroid levels but can reduce the heart rate and palpitations. It can also be treated with the help of surgery.
  • Supplementing your diet – If you have experienced a high level of weight loss and muscle wasting, you can fix a diet for you that contains extra calories and protein. Treatment of hyperthyroidism can lead to excessive weight gain, which is why it is also important to include exercise into your lifestyle and maintain your weight. Get sufficient amount of vitamin D and calcium – Since this condition can contribute to thinning bones, it is important to get a sufficient amount of calcium to prevent osteoporosis.

Prevention 

  • Stress management – Try and manage your stress levels to help reduce the frequency of your irregular period.
  • Avoid excessive workouts – While exercising is good for your reproductive health, over-indulging in it can make you miss your period.
  • Avoid dieting – while many people are obsessed with the idea of looking thin, it is important to maintain a steady weight. This is because of illnesses like anorexia. As the body’s hormonal balance is lost.
  • Darken your sleeping room – Make sure that your bedroom is dark and comfortable so as to get enough and the proper amount of sleep. This helps in making sure that there is no loss of the body’s libido which causes missed or irregular period.

Facts

  • Stress is one of the main causes for a missed period. Emotional stress and anxiety can cause irregular periods.
  • Health problems such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), thyroid disease, uncontrolled diabetes and uterine fibroids are other causes for a missed period.

Facts

  • Human, humpback whales, and elephants are the only animals that go through menopause.
  • In the middle ages, it was believed that red-heads were conceived during a period.
  • “Tampon” is French for “plug”

Facts

  • Jet lag can cause you to have irregular periods, as crossing time zones can throw your hormones off balance, just the way that stress does.
  • Gaining or losing weight can affect your period cycle.
  • Conceiving can be more challenging when you have missed periods.

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Most people believe that the absence of a menstrual cycle is a clear cut indication of pregnancy. But it is possible to have missed periods for other reasons too. The other reasons of missed periods are - low BMI, stress, PCOS, birth control pills, thyroid imbalances, and eating disorders. At times, missing one period is considered normal by most doctors. However, if you are sexually active you should consider taking a pregnancy test if you miss a period.
In addition to a missed period, there are other signs in your body that hint towards pregnancy. You should check your breasts for tenderness. During pregnancy, breasts turn swollen and tender. A persistent feeling of nausea and vomiting aka morning sickness is the second indication. You might feel tired easily. The frequency of urination increases.
In order to get the most accurate results of a pregnancy test, you should ideally take up the test one week after your missed period. Or, you should wait at least 1-2 weeks after you had intercourse to get reliable results. If you take a pregnancy test on the 1st day of your missed period and it turns out to be positive, that means it is almost 2 weeks since you conceived.
Missed periods or amenorrhea can be due to a multitude of reasons. Having a missed period does indicate pregnancy however pregnancy is not always the reason for a missed period. If you have lost significant weight, it could make you miss a period. Travel, sickness, stress, change in eating patterns, PCOS, and endocrine disorders are linked to missed periods. Having 1 missed period is normal generally. You should consult a doctor if it keeps repeating (2-3 missed periods).

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Consume high-fiber foods, more lean proteins, and anti-inflammatory foods.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Maintain proper weight.
Don'ts
  • Consume refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners, and monitor sodium intake.
  • Indulge in smoking and excessive drinking.
  • Skip any meals or cut down on your sleep. Maintain a proper and well-balanced lifestyle.

 

 

 

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Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media? Are you one…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking is good for…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
Gingko Biloba: Therapeutic lessons from the world’s oldest tree The Ginkgo Biloba, well known as the maidenhair,is the oldest living tree and the oldest living fossil. It…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
TSH test
TSH Test – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone TSH test measures the level of thyroid secreting hormone in the blood. The level of this hormone is…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
blood elements analysis
Blood Element Analysis Test A blood element analysis is a blood test performed to measure the level of toxic elements such as…
beta 2 glycoprotein 1 IgG
Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgG Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 antibody test involves detecting and measuring the presence of the IgG class of beta…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
copper serum test
Copper Serum Test Copper serum test checks for abnormal levels of copper in the body. Both high and low levels of…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Sciatica pain relief: Get rid of the pain with these easy daily tips Researchers have claimed that not only heat but icing the area too helps relieve sciatica pain. Find out…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various types of poops…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
Ear infections check up
Troubled with ear infections? Find easy and instant home remedies here Ear infections are common in both children and adults and may lead to hearing loss if left untreated.…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
PROSTATE-SPECIFIC-ANTIGEN
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test Prostate specific antigen test is a blood test used to determine the presence of prostate cancer or any…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
HSV-IgM test
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-IgM Test The HSV-IgM class antibody is produced by the body a few days after an initial HSV infection and…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…