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.

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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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…
glucose-tolerance
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – GTT Glucose tolerance test (or Oral GTT) is used to detect the onset of diabetes or prediabetes conditions. It…
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
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)…
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…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does our poop turn…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the world by the…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
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…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency of hemoglobin could…
Sharpen your brain with these top brain-friendly foods! Did you know your diet could decide how razor sharp your memory is? Or that what you eat…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
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…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
Isagenix diet weight loss
How are BMI and BMR different and what do these numbers mean? BMI and BMR are two important metrics that provide a clear picture of your body's metabolism and also…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
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…
lipoprotein A
Lipoprotein (A) Test Lipoprotein (A) test is used to measure and monitor the levels of LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) in the bloodstream in…
Ca 19.9 test
CA19.9 Test CA 19.9 is a cancer antigen that exists on the surface of cancer-causing cells. The levels of CA…
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.
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
CERULOPLASMIN- triple marker
Triple Marker Test A triple marker test is an important prenatal test that is performed to detect the presence of chromosomal…
EMG electromyography
EMG- Electromyography EMG detects the presence, location, and extent of diseases that damage the nerves such motor neuron disease. Electromyography…
Vitamin b12
Vitamin B12 Test Vitamin b12 is an essential nutrient required for healthy functioning of the nervous system and also development of…
Hibiscus: Nourish your beauty and health with these vibrant blooms Hibiscus is a trumpet shaped flower found abundantly in tropical countries. It has been historically used for its…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
Spinach: The ultimate way to boost health with this green superfood! Spinach is a green superfood that ranks high in both taste and nutrition. Read more to discover how…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin. Find easy and…
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…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
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…
Period sanitary napkin-menstruaion-blood-colors
Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
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…
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…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
Turner syndrome and infertility
Infertility profile (women) The infertility profile tests in women are conducted to form a complete picture of the hormonal balance and…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Keto diet healthy
Keto Diet: Did you know you could eat fats to burn fats? Keto diet - A wonder diet that lets you eat fats and lose weight too! Read on to…
Echocardiogram
Echocardiography – ECHO Echocardiography (commonly known as ECHO) is an imaging modality (similar to ultrasonography) used to visualize the interior of…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
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…
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…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
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…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
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…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
chloride test
Chloride Test A chloride test of the blood checks the level of chloride in body, an important factor governing the…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
cytomegalovirus igm test
Cytomegalo Virus (CMV) – IgM Test The CMV antibodies include both IgM and IgG antibodies which are the immune system's response to a CMV…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
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…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
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…
valproic acid test
Valproic Acid Test Valproic acid test is performed to generally check for psychiatric and even neurological conditions such as bipolar disease…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…
The Shepherd's diet
Facts about the Shepherd’s diet Kristina Wilds promoted Shepherd's diet, a Christian-based diet that highlights Jesus Christ's diet as mentioned in the Bible.
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…

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