Here is some good news: being pregnant is not the only possible reason your period is late. So, happy not-Mother’s Day to you! There are so many random reasons your menstrual cycle could be thrown off that have nothing to do with a little person growing in your uterus. So when you realize your period is late, don’t automatically panic that you’re preggers (which – admit it – you tend to do even if you haven’t had unprotected sex).
But not being pregnant doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. If you’re experiencing regular irregular periods, there might be something else going on that you need to address. We all experience late periods every once in a while (unless you’re on the birth control pill, which tends to regulate your cycle in an almost scarily accurate way), so don’t jump to the conclusion that something is wrong with you. Just keep an eye on it. And keep these eight surprising reasons your period is late in mind. Throwing off your cycle is much easier than you would imagine.
Your Friends Have Different Cycles Than YouScience says no, I say it's real because I've felt it. Tomato, tom-ah-to, right? I hang with women with various chronic conditions pertaining to their uteruses and birth control plans and I for sure feel it when they're out of whack. I'm thrown off when my friends are thrown off or I get a new roommate. It could be empathy or coincidence, but I know I'm not the only one who's feels it when your hormones are trying to balance with someone else's hormones you're spending a lot of time with. Source: iStock
You've Changed Up Your Daily RoutineIf you've started waking up earlier, staying up later, are suddenly surrounded by all new people, or are on vacation - especially if you're changing time zones, your internal clock is trying to catch up with the rest of your body and will probably make your period a few days late. One all nighter won't throw your hormones completely off balance, but if you're pulling them regularly, it's for sure going to mess with your cycle. Even if you've just changed schools, if there's enough of a change in your daily routine, your body may process that as stress - whether it's good or bad stress - and take it upon itself to hold off on ovulating until it can feel normal again. Source: iStock
You Were Just SickHaving a nasty cold could wreck you for a whole week. Even 24-hour bugs can do a number on you. Not every illness is cured with medicine, sometimes you have to wait it out. If your body is busy fighting bacteria and viruses, it's not going to have time to ovulate. Being sick could delay or skip your ovulation entirely, causing you to have a late or missed period. Not every bout of the sniffles will set you back, but if you're really, truly sick around the two week mark of your cycle, you're going to feel the repercussions two weeks later when you're supposed to get your period. Source: iStock
You're On New MedicationHave you ever wondered why your every doctor you go to wants to know what medications you're on even if they have nothing to do with each other? Meds you're taking for chronic conditions, even a new antibiotic could disrupt your hormonal balance as a side effect. If there's something that's working in your body to regulate it or help it recover from an illness, it will effect your body as a whole, not just the part that needs the meds. Source: iStock
You're Really Stressed OutSurgery, moving, break-ups, anything in your life that's taking up a large chunk of brain time can throw your hormones way off. Stress can make your period start late, start early, not start at all, or make it last longer than a week. Think of it as your body's way of being there for you: if what's stressing you out is so big, your body knows it'd be an inappropriate time for you to get pregnant anyway, so it's holding off on ovulation until you calm down. Isn't that nice? It probably would be if your PMS symptoms would go away, but we'll take what we can get. Good looking out, hormones. Source: iStock
You Lost Or Gained A Lot Of WeightIf you're losing or gaining weight in a healthy way (meaning gradually over time, not bingeing or starving yourself), your cycle should be fine. Large changes in your weight, like losing 10+ pounds in one month, could shake up your cycle. Think of it this way: your hormones didn't have time to adjust gradually, with your body, because all of that change happened so quickly that between your last cycle and this one, it's like you have a whole new body. If losing or gaining ten pounds is enough to make you have to buy a new bra, it's for sure going to effect your next period one way or another. Source: iStock
You're Starting A New Birth Control MethodA staunch birth control pill taker who's now on the Nuva Ring? Is this your first month with your new IUD? If you're changing up the way your body receives and processes hormones, your period is going to be hands down the first thing to notice. Even the hormone-free copper IUD is changing the whole chemical composure of your uterus (aka making it inhospitable for sperm *praise hands emoji*). The same goes for the reverse: if you're weaning yourself off of birth control and going back to what your body does naturally, your body will need time to adjust and get your period back to a new normal. Source: iStock
You're Working Out Like CrazyThe term "like crazy," is relative. If you're a lazy girl like me, and you start running on the daily, your cycle is going to get thrown off. If you work out regularly and are now training for a marathon or focusing on building more muscle, your hormone levels are going to be impacted. Estrogen can actually work in your favor when it comes to exercising, however, as is the case with some professional female athletes, amenorrhea (when you stop menstruating all together) can occur when your body is routinely burning a whole lot more calories than consumed. Source: iStock
Is your period late often? Do you know why it’s late? What did we forget to add? Let me know in the comments.
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.