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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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…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but this was refuted…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of the 17th century.
Bubble Tea: Bubbling with nutrition or a hidden sugar mine? The tapioca pearls present in the tea looks like bubbles and hence the name bubble tea became popular.…
ASTtest-liver
AST- Aspartate Aminotransferase Test AST test is a blood test that is used to measure the level of a particular liver enzyme…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
Hysteroscopy_procedure
Hysteroscopy Hysteroscopy is a minimally invasive tool to help specialists view the uterus to diagnose and even treat several…
sodium blood test
Blood Sodium Test A blood sodium test measures the amount of sodium (an important electrolyte) in your body. It is also…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many experts now have…
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…
Jackfruit: Slice your way into higher immunity, better digestion, & more… Native to the South East Asia, the jackfruit is a fruit brimming with thousands of health benefits. Discover…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
antihepatitis core antigent
Anti-Hepatitis B Core Antigen (AHBc) Total Anti-hepatitis B core antigen (AHBC ) is a blood examination and the only serological marker of infectious blood…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding on the plant…
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…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Erythritol: A healthy sugar substitute or yet another marketing ploy? Erythritol is a popular choice of a healthy alternative sweetening agent in foods. But how healthy can a…
Carb Cycling: Weighing the pros vs the cons of this diet routine Completely discarding carbs from your life will do you more harm than good. Read more about carb cycling,…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
Anti-CCP Test – Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Anti-ccp or ACCP test is a blood test that is primarily employed to diagnose the onset of rheumatoid…
cardioliin antibody iga
Cardiolipin Antibody (ACL) – IgA test Cardiolipins are phospholipids that are constituents of the platelets and the cell membranes. The IgA test detects the…
complement c4 test
Anemia Profile Anemia Profile test (Basic) is a blood screening test that measures the levels of important components of the…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
pilonidal sinus
Pilonidal sinus Pilonidal sinus is more common in young men than women. Learn about treatment options, surgical management, risks, and…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why not try the…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition to regulating bowels,…
Find all the instant ways to get rid of blackheads Blackheads - Not only are they aesthetically unappealing but if left untreated these can cause bacterial overgrowth on…
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.…
Atkins diet weight loss
Atkins Diet: The right steps to carb control that can help you lose those pounds fast The Atkins diet is a high fat, low-carb diet with proven weight loss benefits that is flexible enough…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
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…
PROGESTERONE_test
Progesterone test The progesterone test is a blood test used to determine the level of hormone progesterone in the blood…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing is not only…
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…
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…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It was…
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…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin production thus treating…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
CBC blood test
CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test CBC (Hemogram 6-part diff) blood test refers to the test that measures the number of RBCs, WBCs, etc…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
Bone marrow aspiration Bone marrow aspiration is a process where a sample of the bone marrow is withdrawn from the bone…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
lipase test
Lipase Test A lipase test is a blood test performed to quantitatively measure the level of the enzyme lipase in…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Sushi: health benefits and recipes Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish prepared with vinegared rice served with fish (often raw), vegetables, and other…
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…