How to Determine Why Your Period Is Late

Having a late period can be a stressful situation for any woman. Whether you’re hoping for a pregnancy or wondering what the cause could be, finding the answer is essential for your mental and physical well-being. In addition to pregnancy, there are many things that can affect the regularity of your menstrual cycle. High stress levels, changing your routine, going on new medications, altering your sexual activities, or even switching up your workout routine can all delay the normal start date of your period. Be sure to keep track of your period each month so that you know when you expect it to start. And always consult your doctor if you are concerned about possible underlying medical causes like thyroid issues or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.

Method One of Three:
Considering Possible Causes

  1. 1
    Consider the possibility of pregnancy. One of the most well-known causes of a late period is pregnancy. When you become pregnant, you no longer shed the lining of your uterus, which is what causes your period each month.[1]
    • If you are sexually active, you should consider pregnancy as a possibility – even if you are careful. No form of birth control is 100% effective, so there is always a chance.
  2. 2
    Think about any changes in your routine. Any change to your normal schedule is likely to cause a change in your menstrual cycle. Your body is very perceptive to these kinds of changes and your monthly cycle is often one of the first places that the effects can be seen. Think about your routine over the past month and consider whether or not you’ve made any changes to how you normally live your life.[2]
    • This could include getting a new job, changing your sleeping schedule, taking a new medication, beginning or stopping a particular method of birth control (like the pill), becoming more or less sexually active, or altering your workout routine.
  3. 3
    Monitor your stress levels. Stress is one of the biggest causes of late periods. If you have a lot of stress in your life, emotional or otherwise, it can greatly impact the regularity of your periods. Try to minimize the amount of stress in your everyday life in order to help regulate your period.[3]
    • When trying to determine why your period is late, think about whether or not you’ve experienced a lot of stress in the past month. Did you go through a painful breakup? Did you have a big deadline at work? Have you had cumbersome houseguests? Did you have a big paper due?

Method Two of Three:
Getting Professional Help

  1. 1
    Take a home pregnancy test. Since a late period could indicate that you are pregnant, it might be helpful to take a pregnancy test. You can purchase reliable at-home pregnancy tests from most pharmacies and grocery stores. These tests involve urinating on the test stick and waiting a few minutes for the results to appear.[4]
    • At-home pregnancy tests are typically quite accurate. However, for the most accurate pregnancy tests, you should visit your doctor’s office.
  2. 2
    Consult your doctor. There are many physical factors that could be delaying the onset of your menstrual cycle. If you are worried, make an appointment with your doctor so that they can run some tests to determine the cause. At the very least, your doctor will be able to rule out some of the more serious medical possibilities and offer you some peace of mind.[5]
    • Your doctor will run tests to determine possible medical causes of your delayed period – like hormonal imbalance, thyroid issues, or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  3. 3
    Start taking oral contraceptives. In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control pills are often used to help regulate periods. This kind of medication is quite effective at causing your body to begin the menstrual cycle at the same time each month.[6]
    • Remember that birth control pills aren’t for everyone. If you are forgetful about taking medicine, it won’t be as effective for you. If you are a smoker, there is a greater risk of stroke for those who take the pill and are over 35 years old.
    • Other forms of contraceptives may also help regulate your period – like intrauterine devices (IUDs). Ask your doctor which type is best for you based on your specific medical history, lifestyle, and personal preferences.

Method Three of Three:
Keeping Records

  1. 1
    Mark it on a calendar each month. In order to determine if your period is late, you need to know when to expect it each month. Since everyone’s body is different, you should keep track of your monthly cycles over time so that you can know what is normal for your body. Use a calendar to leave a note indicating when your period comes each month.
    • A normal adult cycle can be anywhere between 21 and 35 days, though the average is typically 28 days.[7]
  2. 2
    Use an online tracking website. There are many online website tools designed to help you keep track of your monthly cycles. Whichever site you choose will ask you to enter in some basic information about your age and health to create your account. Once you have registered, you’ll need to input the beginning and end dates of your cycle each month. After a few months, the online tool will begin to use algorithms to calculate when you are ovulating and when to expect your period.
    • Some of the best period tracking websites include MyMonthlyCycles, [8] MonthlyInfo, [9] and StrawberryPal.[10]
    • You can also use online period calculators, like the ones offered by Always and Kotex, to determine when you should expect your next period.[11]
  3. 3
    Download a period tracking app for your phone. There are many period tracking applications that you can download on your phone and use to monitor your symptoms or predict when your next period will start. These are great for tracking your menstrual health information in a discreet way, while still keeping the information easily accessible. Simply download one of these apps on your phone and create an account. You’ll need to fill in some basic information and then record your period details each month.
    • Some of the best period tracking apps include PeriodTracker, Clue, and MyPill.[12] Most of these apps are free and available on both iPhones and Androids.

Community Q&A

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  • I am 14 and have been having slightly irregular periods for four years now. This month I'm over two weeks delayed, but I know I'm not pregnant so what could be wrong?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Are you exercising often? Are you eating enough? Talk to your doctor for advice.
    Thanks! 1 0
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Categories: Menstrual Cycles

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