Many women experience irregularities such as missed periods, often without understanding the causes.
A woman’s menstrual cycle is a fundamental aspect of her reproductive health. Having regular periods is a sign that your body is working normally. However, Here are some common reasons why you might miss your period.
Stress can significantly impact your body, including your menstrual cycle. Chronic stress can affect the part of your brain responsible for regulating hormones, which can lead to missed or irregular periods. Accompanying symptoms might include headaches, trouble sleeping, a decreased or increased appetite, and a lack of focus or increased irritability. If you’re experiencing these alongside missed periods, stress could be a factor.
Extreme weight loss or exercise
Drastic changes in your weight or physical activity can affect your hormones, which in turn can disrupt your menstrual cycle. Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight, or exercising excessively, can cause missed periods. In addition to missed periods, you might experience fatigue, trouble sleeping, or a lower tolerance for cold temperatures. In the case of extreme exercise, you might notice increased injuries, decreased athletic performance, or a loss of bone density. If you’re experiencing this, it’s worth consulting with a healthcare professional about your diet and exercise routine.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition where the ovaries produce higher than normal levels of androgens, male hormones. This hormonal imbalance can interfere with egg development and ovulation, often leading to missed or irregular periods. Symptoms may include excessive facial or body hair, severe acne, weight gain, and patches of dark skin. PCOS is a common cause of fertility issues, but with the right treatment, many women with PCOS can have a regular menstrual cycle. If you notice these symptoms along with irregular periods, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider.
A missed period is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. Other early signs of pregnancy can include tender, swollen breasts, nausea or vomiting, increased urination, and fatigue. If there’s a chance you could be pregnant and you’ve missed a period, consider taking a home pregnancy test. If the test is positive or you have other signs of pregnancy, it’s crucial to schedule a visit with a healthcare provider.
Perimenopause, the transition into menopause, can start in a woman’s 40s, or even in her 30s. During this phase, estrogen levels fluctuate, causing changes in the menstrual cycle, which can include missed periods. Other symptoms might include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and trouble sleeping. If you’re experiencing these symptoms alongside missed periods, contact your healthcare provider so they can help manage symptoms during this transitional period.
Underlying health conditions
Some underlying health conditions, such as thyroid issues or diabetes, can also affect your menstrual cycle. If you’re consistently missing periods and it’s not due to the reasons above, it’s a good idea to check in with a healthcare provider.
There are many reasons why you might miss your period. While occasional irregularities can be normal, if you’re regularly missing periods, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying health concerns.
The key to maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle is taking care of your overall health. Always pay attention to changes in your body as they can be indicative of your health status. This article is intended to be informational and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for any concerns about your health.
Dr. Sirichet Anekpornwattana (Fertility doctor) (1 August 2023)