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Why Am I Late? Non Pregnancy Reasons for Not Having a Period

Updated on February 12, 2016

Late periods can happen for several reasons, and sometimes, it doesn't take much to throw things out of sync. If you've already ruled out the possibility of being pregnant, one of the following reasons may explain why your period hasn't arrived when you expected.


Stress can have an effect on your hormone levels, which can easily have a knock-on effect on the menstrual cycle. You may experience late periods during stressful times in your life or you may even miss periods altogether. Assuming that there are no underlying causes for your late/absent periods, menstruation usually returns to normal once this period of stress has passed.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

This hormonal condition can result in infrequent periods and some sufferers only have a handful of periods per year (or even less than that). PCOS can be a complicate condition though as it can also cause prolonged and excessive menstruation as an alternative symptom, with some sufferers experiencing periods that last for weeks or even months. Other symptoms of PCOS include acne and excessive hair growth.

Contraceptive pills

One of the intentions of birth control pills is to regulate the menstrual cycle, but their presence in the body can also disrupt your hormones. If you've recently stopped taking birth control pills, it may take several months to regain a regular menstrual cycle. For some women, regular menstruation doesn't return for a whole year.

Poor diet

Your menstrual cycle can even be affected by what you eat and drink. If you're not getting the right vitamins and nutrients, you could find yourself having late periods or skipping them altogether, especially if you're very thin.

Excessive exercise

If you frequently put yourself through punishing workouts, you may start to experience a less regular menstrual cycle, particularly if you're also not following a healthy, balanced diet.

Thyroid imbalance

An undiagnosed thyroid condition can sometimes lead to irregular menstruation. A blood test can offer a diagnosis.


Some medications can contribute to irregular menstruation. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments can also disrupt menstruation.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

STIs like chlamydia can cause irregular periods. They are often difficult to detect as symptoms are not always obvious and some STIs don't have symptoms at all.


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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for these great information.