Most menstruating women usually have their period once in every 28 days. A healthy menstrual cycle may even range from 21 to 40 days. However, many women experience a delay in their menstrual cycle, often due to certain health conditions or other external factors. Having knowledge about why your periods get delayed helps you prevent the changes and lead a healthy and timely menstruation. A delay in your menstrual cycle could be because of the following factors –
- PCOS – When you have PCOS, your body produces more male hormone – androgen. Due to the hormone imbalances, a cyst forms on the ovaries and this makes the ovulation irregular or blocks it, resulting in delayed periods.
- Being underweight – Irregular periods are observed in almost all women with low body weight. The fact that there is very less fat in their body, pauses or delays ovulation.
- Obesity – Being obese delays your period as well. In obese women, excessive production of estrogen and fluctuation of other hormones such as insulin is noted, which delays ovulation and thus your menstruation.
- Stress – For women with chronic stress, hormonal changes occur more often. In severe cases, it tends to suppress your hypothalamus, a part of your brain and impacts your menstrual cycle, causing delayed periods.
- Chronic diseases – Presence of chronic conditions such as diabetes are linked to hormone imbalances and affect your menstrual cycle. Un-controlled diabetes leads to irregular or delayed periods in few women. Thyroid diseases and other chronic conditions such as Cushing syndrome, Asherman’s syndrome etc., contribute to alterations in your menstrual cycle.
- Hormonal birth control – Birth control pills contain hormones estrogen and progestin, which when started or abruptly stopped, causes changes and result in delayed periods. It may take as long as 3-4 months to restore the cycle after stopping your course of birth control pills. Other implants or injections for contraception also influences your menstrual cycle.
- Perimenopause – It refers to the time of transition from your reproductive years to menopause. During this time, it is very common to experience delayed and irregular periods.
- Menarche – In the beginning phase, it usually takes few months for some girls to settle on the 28 day cycle. Until then, delayed periods normally occur.
You are advised to watch for these signs in case of delayed menstruation and get it checked by your health care provider – Unexpected heavy bleeding, intense pain, high fever, abnormal vaginal discharge etc. The underlying cause for your delayed period could be identified and steps are to be taken through diet, physical activity and lifestyle changes to maintain a healthy menstrual cycle. Keeping a track of your periods could help you monitor changes.
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