There are also two instances in a woman’s life when it’s totally normal for her period to be irregular: when it first begins, and when menopause starts.
For most women, the period comes every 28 days. However, a normal and healthy menstrual cycle can come every 21 to 35 days.
If your cycle doesn’t fall within these days, it could be because at least one of the following reasons:
A little stress doesn’t hurt but chronic stress can affect your cycle. Prolonged or high levels of stress can affect the hormones that regulate the ovaries leading to delayed or missed periods. It’s good to remember that what’s considered stressful to one woman may not be stressful to another.
Have you lost or gained a lot of weight? A major loss or gain in weight can affect your monthly cycle. Health problems especially eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia have been linked to missed or delayed periods.
Body fat impacts the amount of estrogen hormone your body produces, and too much or too little estrogen can affect both ovulation and menstruation.
When you go on or off birth control, you may experience a change in your monthly cycle. Birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin hormones which prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. The same thing can happen when you are on IUD, implants, or shot.
Intense athletic training can be associated with irregular periods or missed periods. Excessive and rigorous exercises lower estrogen levels, a hormone that regulates your reproductive system. Some female athletes may miss their period for six months or longer due to rigorous exercises.
Certain medications can impact the regularity of your menstrual cycle. If you are on medication, it is possible that one of its side effects is irregular periods. This also includes certain birth control medications.
Certain illnesses can delay your period. This is especially true for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and pituitary tumor, thyroid disease, and celiac disease. Each of these can affect your menstrual cycle in different ways. For example, poorly controlled diabetes can lead to delayed period because hormonal changes are linked to changes in blood sugar.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) causes hormonal imbalance in your body which, in turn, causes infrequent or prolonged menses. Women with PCOS may have excess levels of androgen (male hormone) which may be manifested by excess facial or body hair.
If you are in your late 40s and above, you may experience delayed periods because you are menopausal. The irregularity of your periods is due to a decrease in estrogen hormone. In some cases, women below 45 years may also experience delayed or missed periods due to early menopause.
Long-distance travel can mess with your body’s clock, which can also have an impact on the regularity of your periods. It may either cause your periods to come early, late, or miss.
Your doctor can diagnose the exact cause for your irregular or missed periods and offer treatment. It is important to keep a record of your periods to show your doctor. Visit your doctor for a more accurate diagnosis.