Many people know the symptoms of pregnancy, and the most common sign is a skipped period. If you don’t have a regular period, you may not worry if you have skipped a period, but for someone like me, a skipped period can be worrisome.
This past month I didn’t have a period, and as someone who runs like clockwork, it gets me thinking. As a nurse I know that there are a lot of different reasons why you may have a skipped period, but I realize that many others don’t know this and instantly think they are pregnant. That is when I decided to write this post and share with you all the different possibilities for a skipped period and how likely they are affecting me now, just so you can see them in real life. Even if you can usually predict your period to the day, you can still easily have a missed period for one reason or another.
Stress can wreck havoc on your body. It can lead to extreme weight loss or weight gain, headaches, skin issues, and hormonal changes. When you are under a lot of stress your body has to decide which functions are essential and which functions are not essential. Many times in cases of extreme stress your body will slow down blood flow to some systems, including the digestive system and the reproductive system. When this happens your menstrual cycle is delayed and then your period will be delayed.
For me, if you have been around here for a while you know that I am under a lot of stress. I have been working more, trying to get a house ready to sell, pack up said house so we can move, and deal with a bank in the process of trying to close on a house. I would say that means I have been under a little bit of stress and therefore this could easily explain my skipped period.
If you keep track of your menstrual cycle then you may know exactly when you ovulated. If you think back to when you should have ovulated, were you sick? An extreme illness can easily delay ovulation or cause you to not ovulate at all. It is the same idea as when you are under extreme stress. When you are sick your body has to decide which functions are most important to keep going (ahem, breathing and heart rate), and which ones are not vital to survive (ovulating).
Personally, I don’t remember being very ill around when I should have ovulated so I doubt that this one has any effect at this time. Luckily I don’t get sick very often, most likely because of my time spent working with sick children.
Your weight can affect the hypothalamus in your brain, which is responsible for regulating many functions in your body, including your hormones. Extreme and rapid weight loss, being underweight, anorexia, bulimia, or an extremely low caloric intake can affect the levels of estrogen in your body. On the other hand, gaining weight rapidly or being extremely overweight can affect the levels of estrogen in your body. Both of these can cause you to not ovulate. Everyone will react to the weight changes differently, so while one person may be able to lose a lot of weight quickly and not have problems, another person may have issues. If you think this is the cause of your skipped period, getting to a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet with the right amount of calories will help you get your menstrual cycle back on track.
Yeah, while I would love to lose weight, I haven’t been on that track here lately. Luckily with all the stress and unhealthy eating, I haven’t really gained weight, so I don’t think that weight changes are the cause of my sipped period, though the dietary changes may have had an impact.
Again, excessive exercise can lead to rapid weight loss and disrupt your menstrual cycle. Professional athletes and dancers who are prone to working out several hours a day are an example of individuals who may have skipped periods due to excessive exercise. Even if your exercise routine doesn’t cause rapid weight loss, you can have disruptions to your cycle because of exercising too much. If you think you may have been overdoing it when it comes to exercise and that is the cause of your skipped period, slow down a little and your period should return next month.
While I haven’t been losing weight, and I haven’t been doing what you would consider excessive exercise, I have been moving more than usual. With trying to move and finish a basement I have been painting and moving boxes and so much more. This could have easily led to my skipped period this month.
Change in schedule
Have you ever worked night shift? I have and I can tell you that it will get you all out of whack! Your body gets confused as to when you should be sleeping and when you should be awake. The same is true if you have been traveling to a place in a different time zone. Even something as simple as changing when you get up in the morning can have a temporary effect on your cycle. Once you get back to your normal routine, or establish a new normal routine, your cycle should return.
I haven’t been working night shift or moving to a new time zone, but I have been trying to wake up earlier in the morning. In fact, I have been trying to wake up 2 hours earlier in an effort to have more time to get the things done that I need to get done around the house. I would say that this is enough of a change to affect my cycle.
Many people use breastfeeding as a form of birth control because the hormone responsible for milk production, prolactin, also suppresses ovulation. This is not a good form of birth control because if you do not breastfeed exclusively you can still ovulate. Many women don’t get a period for several months after giving birth because they are breastfeeding, but it is possible to ovulate and get pregnant before you see your period, so don’t think you can’t be pregnant just because you are breastfeeding.
Let’s just say this is not the reason for my skipped period as I haven’t breastfed for over 2 years.
There are several medications that can cause you to skip your period. Some hormonal contraceptives can cause you to not ovulate, and no ovulation means no period. Emergency contraceptives can also delay or stop ovulation. There are also other medications such as some antidepressants and others that may cause you to skip a period. Your doctor should review these side effects with you when starting new medication. If you have recently stopped taking the pill for any reason, it may take a couple of months for your cycle to regulate itself without the help of the hormones from the contraceptives.
I have not recently changed any medications I am on, but I do have the Mirena IUD, and I know that it can cause you to not have a period. This is a very real possibility because even though I have had a period for the past 2 years since I had it placed, at any time it can stop your periods. About 20% of women who have Mirena do not have periods, so maybe I am just a lucky one for once?
Hormonal or thyroid imbalances
Hormones are responsible for ovulation and your menstrual cycle. There is no way to know if hormonal or thyroid imbalances are the cause for your skipped period without having blood work done. Some hormone imbalances or thyroid issues can be resolved with medication.
I have not had any hormonal or thyroid issues that I know of, but I also have not had any blood work done lately to know for sure. I guess if I don’t have one in a couple of months I will see my doctor just to be sure.
Perimenopause is the time before menopause, usually around 2 to 8 years before the onset of menopause. Perimenopause will cause the skipped periods along with other symptoms such as hot flashes. The average age for menopause in the US is 51, so if you are within 8 years of this, your skipped period could be that your body is getting ready for menopause.
Yeah, this one is highly unlikely as I am too young to be in perimenopause.
A skipped period can cause a lot of stress and emotional upset. Try not to get worried about it because the more you worry, the higher chance that you will not have a period the following month as well.
If you are worried about it you can always go to the drug store and grab a pregnancy test, or you can order one online if you are too embarrassed. If you are someone who has many skipped periods you can easily order a bunch online at cheap prices. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a pregnancy test because they all measure the amount of pregnancy hormone in your urine, so a more expensive test isn’t necessarily more accurate.
I am not crazy, after being a week late and no period in site I did test to make sure and I am not pregnant, which is a relief. I hope that once I am under less stress everything will return to normal.
If you haven’t had a period in 3 or more months you do need to see your doctor to make sure there are no other issues.
Have you ever had a skipped period when you were not trying to conceive? What was the cause of your skipped period?