8 Reasons Your Period Might Be Late – Other Than Pregnancy

Menstruation | | INTIMINA
6 min read

If babies aren’t on the agenda, missing a period can be an incredibly stressful experience. We know, we know: it’s easier said than done, but try not to panic. First things first: could you just be late, as opposed to skipping a period altogether? Bear in mind that very few women have a textbook 28-day cycle. For most, a window of plus or minus three to four days each month is common.

Period arrived but outside of that time frame? Irregular periods are something that most will experience at some stage and for the most part, are nothing to worry about. Phew. Understandably more nerve-wracking is a complete absence of menstruation in a given month, also known as amenorrhea.

Now, if there’s a chance you could be pregnant, you must take a test as soon as you clock your missed period. But what if a bun in the oven is physically impossible, or your home test shows negative? Amenorrhea can occur for multiple reasons in otherwise healthy women, and skipping a period needn’t spark panic. What it might signal, though, is the need for some lifestyle tweaks, or a chat with your doctor.

With that in mind, relax and read on for eight super common reasons your period might be absent or late…


We all know that stress can cause a whole host of very conspicuous symptoms such as headaches, fluctuating weight, and stomach pains. But below the surface, it can also elevate levels of a hormone called cortisol, which in turn impacts how much oestrogen and progesterone you produce. That can wreak havoc on your monthly cycle, from lateness to skipping a period altogether.

… What to do About It

Whether it’s caused by work, relationships or family, eliminating stress is easier said than done. Things like meditation, regular exercise and a healthy diet can all help – but if stress is prolonged, and particularly if it coincides with more than one missed period, talk to your doctor.

Fluctuating Weight

Both weight loss and weight gain can cause you to skip a period. Excessive fatty tissue produces a type of estrogen called estrone, too much of which can lead to decreased ovulation – and by extension, missed menses. The same is also true of shedding pounds: dramatic and sudden weight loss in particular can send hormones haywire and cause you to skip your period.

… What to do About It
A balanced diet and regular exercise is the foundation of well-being, and that includes healthy menstrual and reproductive health. Your ‘ideal’ weight range depends on a host of factors, including things like height, muscle mass and age; talk to your doctor, who’ll also be able to advise on the healthiest route to the right weight for you.

Excessive Exercise

They say all things in moderation and that’s certainly the case when it comes to exercise. From combating stress to maintaining a healthy weight, it’s important we keep moving. But excessive exercise can impede excretion of certain hormones, resulting in missed or delayed periods.

… What to do About It
Your body knows what it needs; listen to it! If all your energy is going into working out, there won’t be enough to function properly. Looking ahead, that can cause longer-term problems including infertility and osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor about how to optimize your training for tip-top health.

Certain medications

If your menses are MIA, it’s worth reading up on listed side effects of any medications you’re currently taking. An obvious culprit is th contraceptive pill, which works by suppressing your body’s natural release of hormones to replace actual periods with lookalike withdrawal bleeds. Aside from those times women choose to deliberately skip a ‘period,’ you may find that some brands do too good a job at keeping hormones in check, meaning very light or no bleeding. Certain antidepressant and antipsychotic meds can also cause cycle irregularities, as can chemotherapy.

… What to do About It
If you’ve missed a period and think your prescribed meds might be to blame, talk to your doctor. They may tell you it’s nothing to worry about – or be able to recommend an alternative course of treatment.

Thyroid Disorders

Located at the front of the neck, your thyroid gland is a key player in secreting hormones that impact everything from metabolism and development to, you guessed it, women’s menstrual cycle. In particular, an under-active thyroid – hypothyroidism – can increase levels of the hormone prolactin, linked to ovulation.

… What to do About It
Talk to your doctor! They’ll start with a physical examination, and take a blood test to diagnose. It’s commonly treated by with a synthetic version of a hormone called thyroxine to completely control symptoms.

Shifting Schedules

Although impressive in its adaptability, the human body is a creature of habit in so much as it can take a while to adjust to changes in schedule. The menstrual cycle is hormonally synched with our circadian rhythms, that is, our biological responses to things like light, time and temperature over the course of a day. Nurses switching from day shifts to night, for example, or long-distance flight personnel grappling with constant jet-lag are all susceptible to slight – but inevitably unnerving – cycle changes.

… What to do About It
Track changes in schedules so you don’t immediately panic should Aunt Flo arrive a little later than usual – unnecessary stress only makes things worse! Wherever possible, try to stick to your usual amount of sleep.


From her thirties to her forties, or sometimes even later, the exact age a woman starts transitioning towards menopause varies. Spanning the subtle to the downright upsetting, symptoms can include mood swings, hot flashes and incontinence. Underpinning all of these changes are unstable estrogen levels as ovulation gradually winds down. As that happens, periods may get lighter and less regular.

… What to do About It
Irregular periods are a totally natural side effect of the equally normal perimenopause. That said, there’s no need to suffer in silence: if your symptoms are impacting your quality of life, speak to your doctor.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Caused by imbalanced reproductive hormones, studies pitch polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as affecting between 8% and 20% of women worldwide. Benign cysts aside, it can cause a host of symptoms from hirsutism to weight gain, but its primary trait is, you guessed it, irregular periods. That’s because among other things, those unruly hormones disrupt ovulation, meaning women with PCOS may not get a period monthly – or even at all.
… What to do About It
If you think your irregular periods might be down to PCOS, talk to your doctor. They’ll ask you about your cycle, test your blood for hormone levels, and possibly send you for an ultrasound. Because of the wide range of symptoms associated with PCOS, treatments vary but the contraceptive pill is common. Also good to know: PCOS needn’t rule out a future pregnancy someday when you’re good and ready.

Final thoughts

Next time your period is late or AWOL – and trust us, it happens to most women at some point – try to keep calm. Obviously, the only way to know whether you’re pregnant is to take a test. But before you do that, bear in mind that your amenorrhea could very well be due to something other than pregnancy. If that’s the case, do chat with your doctor about getting things back on track and restoring harmony to your hormones.


42 thoughts on “8 Reasons Your Period Might Be Late – Other Than Pregnancy

  • Thu says:

    Thanks so much for your help ???

  • Sariah says:

    Ive had sex without protection and im just scared.. i dont wanna be pregnant and my period was supposed to been came..

  • S says:

    You need to take a pregnancy test then

  • Courtney says:

    Take a pregnancy blood test with a doctor I am sure you may not be pregnant everything will be good

  • Rachelle milfort says:

    Last time i had my period was October 10th i missed a whole month my next period due tmr
    No positive pregnancy test
    I feel nausea and have all pregnancy sign but almost 2 months old also i am 27 years old.
    I did have unprotected sex on my ovulation day

  • MB says:

    Thanks for this I guess

    I’m too young to be pregnant anyway

    It’s probably just stress about school and other crap 💩

  • Shannon says:

    3 days late to my period but took a pregnancy test and it’s negative what could it be ?

  • Ninuka says:

    Hi Sariah, so are you pregnant?

  • Elsie says:

    Um so I missed my period and it’s been a month but I took a test and it was negative not really sure what it means I looked it up and to many things popped up 😐 help.

  • Jesse says:

    I was intimate the day before my period and had unprotected sex , i am 4 days late what could it be ??

  • Elayna says:

    Me too! I am kind of worried.

  • Gisela says:

    I’m 11 days late but not feeling any pregnancy symptoms? Should I take a test?

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Gisela,

      if you know that there is a possibility that you might be pregnant, and you want to be sure, the test is the first choice. And make an appointment with a doctor.

      Have a nice day,

  • Nini says:

    My period is 6 days late and I for sure know that I’m not pregnant.

  • EW says:

    I had sex we used a condom, as he exited the tip
    Of it stayed inside and the rim was outside of my body.
    But I still took plan b. Now my period is super light almost blood. I took a pregnancy test and it’s negative. What do I do?

    • Intimina says:

      Hi EW,

      thank you for sharing your story. Please go visit your doctor, and if necessary take some tests. That is always the best thing you can do.

      Good luck!

  • J says:

    I had unprotected sex 4 days after my period and I am stressing that I might be pregnant what should I do

  • Joy says:

    Ok I’m 2 months almost 3 months late and I had a light spotting on January 16 the color was a light pick and only when I wipe and I been taking tests after my late period and they all came back negative what does that mean??

  • Maria says:

    i am 3 days late
    i took a pregnancy test because i had sex a week before today but it was protected, and as far as I can remember nothing went wrong.
    the pregnancy test was negative..(i took it today)
    but my period is still late
    i am so anxious…any ideas on what the hell is wrong with me?
    (i have a steady cycle 28days and my period lasts 5 days)

  • Milo The Weirdo says:

    The only reason I’m here is bc my friend is late-

  • Jasmine G says:

    Hey Joy, any update on your situation?

  • Bell says:

    Thank you so much this really helped me calm down my anxiety about what was going on.

  • Mar says:

    Women often have late periods nowadays and don’t know they’re pregnant till after at least 6 weeks, it’s insane to me how bad sex ed is in school and insane to me how bad our govt treats women. Abortion laws should not allow women 6 weeks in, to be judged. Not even 2 months in, because that’s the normal time frame to know you’re pregnant.

  • Hey says:

    I had unprotected sex April 23 which was like a day after my period ended and it was my first time having sex. He pulled out but I was still a little worried so I took a plan b 3 days later. I had no pregnancy symptoms so we had sex again may 2nd (it was protected) but I was due for my period on the 15th of may but still haven’t gotten it. I have no pregnancy symptoms other than no period AND I had 2 negative pregnancy test last Thursday and Friday . What do I do?

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Hey,

      thank you for reaching out. ž

      If you had unprotected sex, your condom wasn’t broken after sex, and your test is negative, then you probably aren’t pregnant. But to be completely sure, please visit your doctor.

      Sometimes, due to increased sexual activity, your body can respond and delay your period. But please, check it out one more time.


  • Margaret Calderwood says:

    My period months late I take a pregnant test come every time negative

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Margaret,

      please contact your gynecologist. Maybe you need to check your hormones or something else. Your health matters, please take care of yourself.

      Have a great day

  • Stephanie says:

    i have unprotected sex all the time, missed my period already 3 months straight but pregnancy test comes out negative what do i do.?

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      maybe you can consider starting using protection? This is the safest way to avoid unwanted pregnancy, but also STIs. Please start thinking about your body and your health on time.

      Best regards

  • Lola wam says:

    I recently had a pregnancy scare and then I took a test it was negative then my period came

    But I’m scared that it was implantation bleeding not my period

    My period was due yesterday and it’s late
    So am I stressing for nothing
    And causing the delay because i started stressing or am I pregnant….?

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Lola,

      the only person who can know the answer for sure is your doctor, so please do not hesitate to schedule an appointment.

      Best regards,

  • Megan-Ashleigh says:

    I’m a week late for my period, did a test it’s negative I’m 27 years old and me and my partner are actively trying for a baby. My boobs are sore and I’m getting some cramping in my stomach, increased fatigue and I am bloated. What do I do now? Please help

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Megan,

      you can try the test one more time, and please contact your gynecologists.

      Best regards

  • Maria says:

    I am very worried, I am 5 days late of period. I had unprotected sex 4 days prior to my ovulation period with my partner. I had a regular 28 days cycle. What will I do?

    • Intimina says:

      Hi Maria,

      there is only one thing you can do – take another test and visit your gynecologists. Please schedule an appointment, this is a very important matter. And also, please consider using protection, it will keep you safe in case do not want to get pregnant, and even more important – it will keep you safe from STIs!

      Take care of yourself!

      Best regards,

  • Jo Cronin says:

    I’m quite regular-ish (23 to 25 days) but no sign of any usual premenstrual symptoms yet and am only 5 days late but I do not believe I could not possibly be pregnant as have not been on any conception for 9 years, 2 failed rounds of IVF and age is also against me (38 years) but is it too much hope

  • Helix says:

    I haven’t had my period in 2 months. I’ve had one period right after 2 days we had unprotected sex, and nothing since then. Could I be pregnant?

  • Nana says:

    I gave birth 5 month ago thus in April. My Menes came 6 weeks after delivery. It subsequently came twice,( July and August) I had sex with my husband in the last days of August with a protection and a pull out on the 2nd time. I have done two pregnancy tests and it’s negative. But yet still my flow is not in. It’s been delayed for 6 days now.

    • Intimina says:

      Hey Nana,

      thank you for your comment. We would love to help, but you should ask your gynecologist for the advice. The absence of menstruation can be caused by many things.

      Take care of yourself.

      Have a nice day

  • Sakshi says:

    Hii it’s already 1month 15days still i did not get a periods i already done pregnancy check the result is negative what do i need to get my periods.

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