More often than none, women in their reproductive ages miss their periods. The truth is, while missing your period may presumptively mean you are pregnant, it may not always be the case. Here are a couple of reasons that may cause you to miss your period.
This is the most common cause of a missed period. A missed period with early symptoms of pregnancy like nausea, bloating, breast tenderness and cramping may rouse a suspicion of pregnancy and the best way to confirm is by a urine or blood pregnancy test. The urine pregnancy test can be done at home while the blood pregnancy test can be done at a laboratory. The tests usually assesses for the presence and level of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin released during pregnancy. The urine tests can be done when the period is missed but the blood test can detect a pregnancy days before the missed period.
The most common drug that causes a delayed or missed period is the birth control pills or hormonal contraceptives. Different contraceptives work in different ways and most of them have the capacity to hamper the regularity of the menstrual cycle. Emergency contraceptives like levonorgestrel (commonly branded as Postinor, Postinor 2) if taken before ovulation can affect the timing of ovulation and consequently cause a delayed or missed period. The combined oral contraceptive pill may cause a withdrawal bleeding when the placebo pills are taken. Sometimes, the withdrawal bleeding is very light or may not come at all. This is because the contraceptive pills (which are hormonal in nature) affects the level of other circulating hormones which are involved in the menstrual process. Other drugs can also cause this. They include antidepressants, chemotherapy and steroids.
Excessive Weight Gain or Loss
Excessive weight loss or excessive weight gain over a short period has the potential of causing a decrease or increase in estrogen levels respectively. This derangement may cause a delay or lack of ovulation resulting in unstable, irregular or missed periods.
Excessive exercise can cause a excessive weight loss over a short period and a decrease in estrogen level insufficient to complete the menstrual cycle.
Breastfeeding is made possible by Prolactin, a hormone that causes breast milk production. This hormone also suppresses ovulation, and affects the menstrual cycle. This is not consistent in everyone because it is possible for ovulation to occur in spite of the action of prolactin in some people.
The commonest cause of hormonal imbalance leading to an irregular or missed period is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. It is the presence of cysts in the ovary preventing ovulation from occurring regularly. It is also characterized by hyperandrogenism with acne and excess hair growth. There is also the presence of hyperlipidemias and high level of blood glucose.
Don’t jump to conclusions when you have a missed period. You may be pregnant. You may not be, depending on what’s going on.