We all know that terrible sinking feeling that you get when you check the calendar and realize that your period is late. At first, you think that you must have counted wrong, and that you’re actually not supposed to get it for another week. You try to remember the last time you had sex, mentally figuring out the timeline. You think of all of the weird symptoms you’ve been feeling (your boobs hurt the other day for a second!) and then you start freaking out in your mind, thinking, “oh, no, I can’t raise a child right now!!!” Suddenly your life flashes before your eyes and you are a ball of anxiety, all because your period is a few days late. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there. It’s okay. Take a deep breath. We are here to help.
There are a lot of reasons why your period might be late, and, no, it doesn’t always mean that you are pregnant. Sure, one of the biggest signs of pregnancy is that you stop getting your period, but there are also women who continue to get their period even throughout their pregnancy (sorry – did I just give you something else to freak out about). Anyway, there are other things besides an unplanned child that can mess with your menstrual cycle. The first thing you need to do when you realize you’re late is calm down, because stress won’t help. The next thing you need to do is go through this list and try and determine where the eff your period is and why it hasn’t come yet. Here are a few reasons your period is late:
You Were Recently On A PlaneYes, being on a plane can actually mess with your cycle. Air travel can affect your circadian rhythm, which can cause your hormones to be out of balance and make your period late, especially if you're on a long flight. I know, it's weird, but it's something to keep in mind if your period isn't on time! Image Source: iStock
You Joined A GymIf you've been exercising a lot, good for you! If you've been going to so many Soulcycle classes that it's affecting your period, that's not good. Excessive exercise can throw off your ovulation and estrogen levels, which can cause your period to delay or not show up at all. Be sure to take breaks and don't work yourself too hard. Your body needs rest, too! Image Source: iStock
You Started The Pill Or Other New MedicationThe pill is supposed to help with your period, but if you're just starting it, it can throw things off for a bit. Your body needs time to adjust to the new pill, and that takes some time. That's okay! Be sure to take it at the same time every day and it will help to get your period to regulate. If you are just starting a new medication, it can also mess with your period for a short amount of time. Wait it out and it should get back on a regular schedule soon! Image Source: iStock
You Are Stressed AFAre you stressed? I mean, besides the whole late period thing, are you a little overwhelmed with work or friends? This could cause your period to go MIA. Stress can throw off your pituitary gland, which can mess with your ovaries, which can ruin your ovulation cycle. I know it's confusing, but if you've been particularly stressed recently, this could be the reason why your period is late. Image Source: iStock
You've Lost Weight RecentlyHave you noticed your shorts have been a little baggy on you? Are you not fitting in your clothes the right way? Weight fluctuation can be normal, but it an also cause your period to go a little out of whack. Sudden weight gain or weight loss can mess with your period, and it's important that you call a doctor if you notice that it's causing your periods to stop or be late. Image Source: iStock
You've Been SickIf you've recently had a stomach bug or a fever, your period might be a little delayed. Getting sick can do a lot of weird things to your body, and can cause your period to stall. Your body is working hard to fight off your illness, so your period might hold off for a bit. That's okay! Image Source: iStock
It's Just LateBodies are unpredictable, and sometimes periods are just late. It's weird and annoying, but it happens. If it's a regular thing, you should definitely get checked out with your gyno. But if your period is late once a year, it shouldn't be anything to worry about. Image Source: iStock
Has your period ever been late? What happened? Tell us in the comments!