The menstrual cycle, also known as menses, which is timely and without particular discomfort – is a normal phenomenon for most women. Lack thereof is often a result of pregnancy. But sometimes you may experience a menstrual delay even with a negative pregnancy result. The reasons, among others, may be gynecological problems, stress, weight changes and many others. To understand the cause of a menstrual delay, an accurate assessment of the woman’s condition needs to take place.
Menstrual Cycle: What is itThe Menstrual cycle is part of a woman’s reproductive system. During the menstrual cycle, an unfertilized egg detaches and the thickened lining of the uterus sheds along with excess blood. After 3-5 days, hormone levels start to rise and the body begins preparing itself for possible pregnancy. If a new egg is not fertilized, the menstrual cycle starts over again.
The beginning of the cycle is counted with the first day of the menses and can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days, with the norm being about 28 days.
Menses start after a woman’s body goes through puberty, usually around 11 to 14 years of age. The completion of menses usually occurs when the hormone known as progesterone is not produced by the body any longer.
Non gynecological reasons for delayed periodsWhat are some of the causes that can delay a menstrual cycle if not due to pregnancy? Most common reasons for the absence of menses is stress and physical overexertion. Stress or trauma can affect your body’s functions, including your reproductive health in a negative way.
Some things that can potentially affect your menstrual cycle are; irregular sleeping patterns or not enough sleep, hard physical labor, problems with your professional or personal life or strenuous exercising.
Another thing that can affect a normal menstrual cycle is a strict diet. Going hungry once in a while won’t do your body any harm but lengthy calorie restricting/counting diets can take a toll on your body. A sudden weight gain can have just as much of a negative effect as weight loss. Change in menstrual cycles are seem just as much in sudden weight gain as they are in cases of bulimia and anorexia.
Another factor for irregular menses is sudden change in climate. Drastic change in temperature, change in pressure, and humidity are also stressors on your body.
One of the biggest factors negatively affecting a regular menstrual cycle is intoxication, whether from alcohol, drugs or nicotine. Working with chemicals or radioactive materials also has a negative effect on the menstrual cycle.
Sometimes, your menstrual cycle, or lack thereof, can be attributed to your genetics. Irregular cycles can be hereditary and passed down through generations of women. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the pathology and illnesses are also passed down but it is always a good idea to have regular physicals.[attention type=yellow]Irregular menstrual cycles can be a product of hormonal changes occurring in the body. First menses can sometimes be irregular but can also be irregular as a woman’s body gets closer to starting menopause (around 50 years of age). Also, irregularity can occur after childbirth and while breastfeeding.[/attention]
In some cases, medications can be a cause of irregular menstrual cycles. Taking hormonal, steroid or anabolic medicines can lower the production of progesterone within the body thus affecting the start of menses. Usually, the cycle gets back to regular after one stops taking the medication.
A very serious cause of abnormal menstrual cycles is illnesses related to the endocrine system. Illnesses such as diabetes, hypo or hyper thyroid, and lymph nodes, usually with symptoms including but not limited to dramatic weight loss, insomnia or dizziness and fainting. A diagnosis can be made with a full physical and a visit to the doctor.
A disruption of the reproductive system can also be caused by brain diseases. Pituitary glands and the hypothalamus are responsible for the production of sex hormones, so, any problems with your brain activity can completely block the production of progesterone.
Flu or a bad cold are also culprits of abnormal menses. While going through sickness, the body’s natural response is to disable some of its functions. Usually a prescription of antibiotics helps with getting the body back to a healthy state.
Gynecological causes of lack of menstruationUsually, the most common problems with lack of menstrual cycles have to do with gynecological problems, such as diseases that affect the reproductive system. In some instances, symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, or fever may indicate a range of medical issues.
Inflammatory diseases of the uro-genital area are a common cause of lack of menstrual cycle. It is best to get an early diagnosis to make sure that a full recovery and functions of the reproductive system are back to normal.[attention type=red]Lack of menses can be caused by tumors, fibroids, or cysts; malignant or benign. Polycystic ovarian syndrome , although seldom could be the cause of lack of menses. Some symptoms of PCOS are noticeable and can include changes in voice, hair growth, and other problems, which is attributed to increased male hormone production.[/attention]
A medical or spontaneous abortion is sometimes cause of the lack of menstruation. Drastic and sudden changes in hormone levels can disrupt your cycle for a long period of time and can be restored with medical treatment.
Contraception can affect your cycle as well, if not used as prescribed by a medical professional. A badly installed spiral contraceptive or improperly selected oral contraceptives can cause a one-time disruption, which may stabilize once the problem is fixed. Emergency contraception can have even more harmful side effects and can change or halt menses.
What to do if your periods are lateGynecologists agree: it is normal to have some variance in your monthly cycle, between 1-2 times annually with no less than 5 days. Such variances are usually caused by a stress or a short sickness that went unnoticed.
But if a delay in menstruation persists, drastically changes or is accompanied by other medical issues, one should consult a medical professional. Usually, a full physical exam will help in appropriately directing one to a specialist, such as a mammologist, oncologist or neurologist.
Video about delayed menstruation
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