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For Girls: Is Your Period Late? 7 Reasons That May Be Responsible

Aunt Flo has not come visiting this month? But that’s unusual, as she’s never late! She’s about as regular as a Swiss Clock, you say (these have a reputation for being on-the-nose accurate!). This change in plan sends pure terror into your heart if you have been drinking stolen waters, and you cannot help but ask yourself if “it” has happened. But for those who do not have to worry about that, you find yourself asking “What is the matter with me? Am I okay?”

Rest easy. Before you jump to any conclusion, below are some reasons why Aunt Flo may be late in arriving according to a new article on seventeen.com

 1. Your hormones are out of balance

“The menstrual cycle is an intricate system of coordinated functions between the brain, ovaries, and uterus,” explains Nichole Tyson. So any time your hormones get a little out of balance, it can affect your period. Stress hormones  can disrupt ovulation, and hormonal imbalances like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can cause irregular periods, too. If your cycle changes( becomes longer or shorter), or you start skipping periods often, see a doctor.

2. You are on birth control

Long-term use of hormonal birth control (like the Pill, IUDs, and Depo Provera) can thin out the uterine lining, making your period super-light or nonexistent. Continuous birth control methods can lead to amenorrhea, a condition where your period stops completely, says Dr. Tyson. This is normal, not worrisome, and often quite be a health and life benefit. After all, a barely-there period can mean lighter cramps, lower risk of anemia, and less money spent on pads or tampons. It can even reduce your risk for ovarian cancer! 

3. You are under the weather

It can also be the case if you recently developed a really bad cold. Dr. Tyson notes that any illness that causes stress or weight loss can also make you miss your period. A mild head cold probably won’t do it, but if you have been battling the flu or a stomach virus, that could definitely throw your cycle out of rhythm.

4. You have been exercising hard

Excessive exercise can actually cause your period to stop completely. So how much is too much? There is no hard and fast answer for this, as each woman has unique balance of weight, health, fat, stress, which allows for normal menstrual cycles,Dr. Tyson says. But if you are a serious athlete, or you have recently switched up your fitness regimen, or you are on a strict diet, talk to your doctor to see if that might be slowing your cycle. (It’s always smart to run any new diet or exercise plans past your doctor, anyway.)

5. You have gained (or lost) a lot of weight

Gaining weight quickly can throw off your hormones, which can cause your body to stop ovulating. On the reverse, if your body fat becomes too low, that can mess with ovulation too. Like exercise, what’s “too much” varies from person to person — but as a general rule, extreme weight changes are always something you should mention to your doctor.

6. Your thyroid isn’t cooperating

When your body produces too many thyroid hormones, you may have a light flow or skip a month altogether. Keep an eye out for any other symptoms: An overactive thyroid can be associated with a racing heart, unexplained weight loss, sweating, insomnia, diarrhea, muscle weakness, and tremors, Dr. Tyson says. If any of those ring true for you, your should be tested for thyroid problems.

7. It is Missing In Action this month

Sometimes your period just doesn’t show up, and there’s no good explanation for it. Many women can expect to miss a period or two in a year, Dr. Tyson says. It can happen without worry here and there. But if this happens too often, let your doctor know.

Of course, there’s still a chance your late period could be due to an actual pregnancy, if you have been sexually active during the past month(s). This is an important diagnosis to keep in mind with a missed period, particularly if associated with signs and symptoms of early pregnancy like nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or headaches.

If you are sexually active, a pregnancy test could put your mind at ease. Even if it’s negative, you may want to schedule an appointment with a doctor — she will want to know if you are missing periods often.

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