Missed period but not pregnant? 8 causes of missed period
The causes for a missed period IS NOT only pregnancy! I remember when I first developed Hypothalamic amenorrhea (one reason for a missing period) My mind first went to “Pregnancy” panic.
But how could little old me, without a boyfriend, and single as a Pringle be pregnant!? It was impossible DUH. However, If you are in a relationship or sexually active, taking a pregnancy test is never a bad idea if your period has gone missing.
For you – single Pringle women like me, there are many other ways your period can go missing.
Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!
Reasons for a missing period
- Hypothalamic amenorrhea
- sudden weight loss
- being overweight
- Over exercising
- Taking contraceptive
- quitting hormonal contraceptive
You can lose your period to one or a combination of ways listed above, the most common reason I tend to see is stress.
Stress is one of the most common culprits for a missed or late period. When women are under high stress (physiological or physical) cortisol is constantly heightened. What this means is your body is in a state of “fight or flight”.
Physiological stressors can include:
- increased work load
- loss of job
- death of a family member
- family dramas
Physical stressors include:
- over exercise
- car crash
Being in this state triggers your HPO axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis) that it is unsafe to become pregnant right now. For you and the baby. Therefore, it may delay ovulation making your cycle longer than normal. Or it may stop your cycle all together if the stress is not managed. This is called hypothalamic amenorrhea Which is defined as missing your period for 3 or more consecutive months.
Hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA)
Hypothalamic amenorrhea Is commonly known as the female athlete triad or RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport). Much like the name suggests, HA is developed due to inadequate energy availability through:
- over exercise
- under eating
- and stress
The combination of these 3 behaviours is the recipe for hormonal disaster!
I personally struggled with HA for 4 years and I can tell you, you lose a lot more than just your period. You can read my whole story and how I recovered here.
If you suspect you have HA, first and foremost visit your doctor, but be warned! The pill is not the solution to hypothalamic amenorrhea! Eating more and exercising less is.
Another cause of a missed period could be PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). PCOS is a condition you are likely born with and is characterized by the following symptoms:
- irregular periods/long cycles
- high androgen levels (male hormones)
- insulin resistance
- abnormal hair growth
- hair loss
- Cysts on ovaries detected through an ultrasound
Like HA, please refrain from self diagnosing and visit your doctor to test your hormone levels instead of guessing. However, if you have been diagnosed with PCOS or it runs in your family, there are ways you can manage your condition naturally. Through a healthy diet and exercise PCOS can be managed throughout your reproductive life.
Some amazing nutritionist who can help manage your PCOS symptoms:
- Alyssa – PCOS RDN
- Brooke – PCOS, Endo, And fertility Nutritionist
- Sam – PCOS nutritionist
- PCOS and weight loss
One of these lovely ladies can help you on your PCOS healing journey<3
Sudden weight loss
Started a diet recently and lost some weight? Your period can go MIA if a sudden drop in body weight happens. Severely restricting calories resembles a famine and your brain will perceive it as one. Our cognitive function has not adapted to the fact that food is available all the time for most of you reading this. Therefore, when women restrict calories the last thing their body wants to do is put more stress on you such as a possible pregnancy so it shuts down unnecessary body processes. One of them being your reproductive system.
Just like being underweight, having too much excess body fat can cause a missing period as well. Body fat produces estrogen, when one is overweight they have excess body fat and therefore may be producing too much estrogen. This can cause long period and/or take away your menses completely.
Refer to your doctor for actionable steps to safely lose weight.
What many people do not know about exercise is that – exercise is a physical stressor on the body. When performed in appropriate quantities, is a very healthy habit for everyone to have. However, when your workouts exceed 1.5-2 hours and you cannot miss a day at the gym, your period may go bye bye.
This all comes down to stress. Since exercise is a stressor, your body cannot enter the rest an digest time that is so important for hormone regulation when you’re in the gym non stop.
If you noticed your period has gotten lighter or stopped completely, it might be time to take a step back from intense exercise and revaluate your relationship with the gym.
Taking hormonal contraceptive (HC)
Different types of hormonal contraceptives can cause amenorrhea (missed period). One of them I have which is the hormonal IUD. Many women will lose their period with a hormonal IUD as they do contain progestin and may stop ovulation all together.
Similarly to IUDs, The impant can also stop ovulation, make your periods lighter or stop comming alltogether.
It is important to note – if you are taking HC pills as your forms of birth control, the sugar pills you take for a week at the end of the pill cycle is not a period. It is a withdrawl bleed. Technically speaking – you do not get a period on HC pills either…
Coming off hormonal contraceptive
Furthing the point of hormonal contraceptive stopping ovulation, your body will need time to naturally start this process up again. The pill and other hormonal contraceptives hijack your natural hormones, shutting down the communication between your brain and ovaries.
If you have just come off the pill, be patient with your body. If you cycled naturally prior to the pill, you will cycle naturally afterwards as well. Here are some thing to fucus on when trying to regain your natural period:
- nutrient replenishment (particularly zinc, magnesium, Vitamin Bs, Cs, and E, along with selenium)
- blood sugar balance
- stress management and adrenal support
needing another form of contraceptive but not wanting to go BACK on the pill? Fertility awareness is a great option and easier than ever to use! I love natural cycles because it is FDA approved AND they have partnered up with Aura ring so ii dont have to record my temperature in the morning! Aura does it for me:)
wrapping things up
Most of the time, a missed period is not pregnancy. Of all 8 reasons for you to have a missed period, stress is a big factor. If you do notice your period is late – take note and actionable steps to help your body feel safe enough to be healthy and happy. After all, our menstrual cycle is a womans 5th vital sign so its VITAL to keep her healthy:)
have you experienced any of the above? let me know in the comment section! If you are struggling with hormonal issues maybe i can help you! head over to my “services” page to achieve hormonal harmony and body literacy!
unitl next time xx
Very interesting read! I have irregular periods so this was very helpful
Im so glad it could help!<3