Have you experienced by any chance a missed period & negative pregnancy test? If this may have happened, than you should be very careful because there can be many causes for this medical issue.
Menstruation is a physiological process which is dependent by lots of interdependent factors: it`s about the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis and uterus.
Any dysfunction at one of these levels has the effect of menstrual cycle disorder or even amenorrhea (the absence of menstruation).
Menstruation can be late due to several factors, besides being pregnant. As mentioned above, the absence of menstruation is medically named amenorrhea and is diagnosed when normal periods don`t appear for 3 consecutive months.
A normal period ideally comes every 28 days, but normal accepted limits are between 25 and 35 days. Menstruation can also be irregular, especially in the first years from the first bleeding during puberty and in the previous period of menopause.
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Missed Period, Negative Pregnancy Test: Causes
When a woman isn`t pregnant, the menstruation`s delay can have different causes, both physiological and emotional. From a high level of stress to various medical conditions, numerous factors can affect the hormonal balance of the organism, especially in the normal action and secretion of sexual hormones.
Most women have between 11 and 13 periods each year, but every organism is different, so is the regularity of menstrual cycles. Even if menstruation is late for several months, a woman can remain pregnant. If the possibility of a pregnancy be installed is excluded, there are other possible causes to be taken into consideration such as:
- Extreme weight variations (excessive weight gain or loss);
- Underweight or obesity;
- Eating disorders (bulimia or anorexia);
- Intense physical exercise (late periods are often found at athletes);
- Emotional stress;
- Certain diseases;
- Hormonal disorders;
- Drug consumption;
- Pelvic disorders (non-perforated hymen, polycystic ovary syndrome, Asherman`s syndrome);
- Breastfeeding (usually, menstrual cycle becomes regular again after breastfeeding is ended).
When menstruation stops before 40 years old, we call this premature ovarian failure, a medical condition caused by surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy made in the abdomen and pelvis.
Other illnesses can also be responsible for late periods, such as irritable bowel syndrome, tuberculosis, liver disease or diabetes.
Traumatic events and stressful situations that aren`t managed properly can lead to hypothalamic amenorrhea. The hypothalamus is a brain area heavily affected by stress, which has the role of secreting hormones from which depends the regularity of menstrual cycle.
The thyroid gland, located in the neck, regulates metabolism and interacts with other systems of the organism, contributing to their proper functioning. Any dysfunction of this gland (hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism) can cause symptoms which also include menstrual disorders.
Glandular & Chronic Diseases
Diseases which affect the pituitary gland or the ovaries can lead to late periods or amenorrhea. Other metabolic disorders, such as Cushing’s disease or diabetes, can also lead to interfere with the menstrual cycle.
Any chronic disease which isn`t diagnosed or treated (for instance, celiac disease) produces dysfunctions in the organism, which may include menstrual disorders as well.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS causes hormonal disorders due to a lack of ovulation, leading to an insufficient secretion of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This disease can favor the installation of amenorrhea or periods being late, as well as the appearance of excessive hairiness, weight loss difficulties or infertility. Specialized treatment is the only option to relieve these symptoms.
Chemotherapy & Radiotherapy
Aggressive treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, can affect the sensitive balance of events from which the menstrual cycle depends. The result of these treatments, among other adverse reactions, can include or the delay or complete absence of the menstrual cycle.
Delayed menstruation may also be the result of using contraceptive pills. Birth control pills in small doses of hormones are often the cause of irregular periods, along with other methods of contraception such as IUDs, infections of hormones or other implants designed to protect against unwanted pregnancies.
Discontinuing a treatment with birth control pills can also lead to irregular periods. This problem is usually solved on its own in a few months.
When women younger than 40 years old suffer of hormonal disorders, they may enter in premature menopause. This manifests by lack of menstruation, night sweats, vaginal dryness or hot flashes. Early menopause can be diagnosed exclusively by a gynecologist.
Circadian Rhythm Disorders
Sudden change in the daily schedule, which affects the body`s circadian rhythm (for instance, the transition between day shifts and night shifts), can have some effects on menstrual regularity. In this case, it`s recommended keeping a fix recreation schedule on the long term for regulating your period.
Changing your Medication
Women who followed a certain medication treatment for a long period of time and start a new one can notice their period being late. A physician can establish if this is the cause of irregular menstruation and can find a therapeutic alternative to solve this problem. – Read more!
Miscalculating the Menstrual Cycle
The duration of the menstrual cycle varies from one woman to another. Even though the average period is of around 28 days, this may not be the same in all cases. So, many women think their menstruation is late due to general marks on the normal duration of the menstrual cycle.
Prevention of Delayed Menstruation
Since a delay of the menstruation depends of other factors associated with the lifestyle, there are ways of preventing menstrual disorders that target daily habits.
- Following a balanced diet – Extreme weight changes are main causes for menstrual disorders, so a healthy diet and maintaining the body weight in normal limits are basic conditions in preventing menstrual disorders.
- Avoiding extreme physical effort – Performance athletes can keep under control the regularity of their menstrual cycle through carefully dosed trainings in terms of physical effort. In case of amenorrhea installation, it`s important a hormones supplementation and calcium intake for reducing the risk of bone loss.
- Regular sleeping schedule – Insufficient or shoddy rest leads to the installation of hormonal disorders with direct effects on the menstrual cycle.
How to Interpret a Missed Period?
If when you have a missed period, the result of your pregnancy test is negative, this can mean the following:
- The pregnancy exists, but it`s too early for the test to detect it. You can repeat the test again, but not earlier than 5 weeks after the actual sexual contact which may lead to conceiving a baby.
- The pregnancy test was defective or was performed incorrectly. In this case, it`s recommended to repeat the test immediately after the first test was done or the next day. If you receive another negative result and you are sure you performed the test correctly, you can assume that there`s no pregnancy.
- The pregnancy doesn`t exist actually, and the late period is caused by other factors.
Missed Period after Birth & during Breastfeeding
After birth, there may be a prolonged lack of menstruation. For women who don`t breastfeed, the first menstruation can appear after 2 – 3 months after birth. For women who are breastfeeding, the menstruation can appear after birth at 6 – 12 months, or even more. This is absolutely normal and doesn`t require a treatment.
After birth, it`s important to take the following into consideration:
Even regular breastfeeding and lack of menstruation don`t exclude the possibility of conceiving a baby. Keeping in mind that a new pregnancy immediately after birth isn`t recommended due to the excessive depletion of the woman, after 1 – 2 months after birth you should contact a gynecologist and talk about what birth control pills you should take at this moment. – More details!
Missed Period after First Menstruation at Teenagers
At teenagers, the delay or breach the regularity of the menstrual cycle can be due to physiological characteristics or the organism at this age.
The first menstruation at teenagers can appear between 9 – 15 years old (normally 12 – 13 years old).
At first, the intervals between 2 menstruations can be different: either very short (2 – 3 weeks), or very long (3 – 7 months), so we cannot talk about a late period during the first year after its debut.
The biggest break can be between the first and second menstruation. Then, in a period of around a year, the menstrual cycle becomes more regular and predictable. Therefore, late periods which may take place in the first year shouldn`t be a reason for concern (of course, in case that you feel good and the possibility of a pregnancy is excluded).
If the first menstruation appears until 9 years old or the girls doesn`t have a period until 15 years old, she should ask for medical assistance.
Missed Period at 40 – 45 Years Old
As it`s already known, the menstrual cycle is adjusted by functioning ovaries. After 40 years old, the functionality of the ovaries starts to slow down. Therefore, the probability of pregnancy for a month reduces with 5%, and the menstrual cycle become irregular and it may be late.
If you are over 40 years old and you noticed your period being late:
- In case most pregnancy tests are negative or if the pregnancy is totally excluded, track your menstrual cycle for a few months using the calendar. If you notice a progressive increase in the break between 2 periods, you may assume that you are gradually enter in menopause.
- During your visit to the doctor, tell him about the changes you noticed in the frequency of your menstruation. After performing the examination and reviewing the evidence, the doctor will surely be able to tell you if you are entering menopause or not.
How to Cause or Accelerate Menstruation when Missed Period?
A specific treatment for the purpose of restoring the menstrual cycle is necessary only in case of severe gynecological problems, which cannot be solved in any other way. Auto-treatment, in such cases, it`s impossible. Therefore, if you are convinced your missed period isn`t related to a possible pregnancy or other changes in your lifestyle, you should visit your gynecologist as soon as possible.
Short delays, which aren`t associated with a severe disease or a pregnancy, doesn`t require any treatment. After a while, the menstrual cycle will be restored.