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Why is my period late if I'm not pregnant?

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Can you miss a period and not be pregnant?

Yes, many women experience a missed period but know that they are not pregnant. Even if you are taking birth control or have used a condom during sexual intercourse, you may want to take a pregnancy test to be completely sure. Once you have had a negative pregnancy test and ruled this out as a possibility you can begin to investigate other reasons for why your period is late.

Reasons for a late period when you’re not pregnant:

  • Excessive or sudden weight loss – a significant change to your weight can stop your body producing the hormone it needs for ovulation.
  • Being overweight or obese – your body may produce an excessive amount of oestrogen and this can affect your periods.
  • Over exercising – losing too much body fat through excessive exercise can stop you ovulating and the stress of the physical activity can affect the hormone levels in your body.
  • Stress – feelings of stress and anxiety can affect your menstrual cycle making it longer or shorter or your periods may stop all together.
  • Illness – being ill and the extra stress that this puts on your body could mean that your period is delayed.
  • Changing your contraception – Your body may take some time to regulate itself. Contraceptives like the implant can stop your periods completely, or you might find that they become irregular.
  • Contraceptive pill – many pills can cause your periods to stop completely or you might miss a period every so often when taking the contraceptive pill.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (POCS) – this common condition affects how women’s ovaries work resulting in irregular and late periods or you may have no period at all.
  • Menopause – during this time your periods might be irregular. In time your periods will stop completely.
  • Breastfeeding – while breastfeeding your periods might stop as the hormones responsible for milk production also suppress ovulation.

Birth control and late periods

It is completely normal for women who are on birth control pills to miss a period or find that there period is late. You might also find that your periods are lighter and less painful also you might notice some spotting is common during the first three months of taking your pill. Depending on the pill you are taking your periods could stop altogether, however many women find that the pill helps to regulate their periods.

How long is it normal for a period to be late?

Your menstrual cycle can vary in length depending on a number of factors, such as stress, diet or whether you have started taking a new contraceptive method. Your period can vary from month to month by about 7 to 9 days. This is perfectly normal for most women and a variation in the start date of your period doesn’t necessarily mean that your period is late. To find out more about why your period is late click here.

How many days can you miss your period before you are pregnant?

Typically your period will be classed as late if it hasn’t started by five or more days after the date you expect it to start. However a late period does not automatically mean that you are pregnant, but for your own peace of mind you may want to seek advice or take a pregnancy test.

How will I know if I am pregnant?

If you have a regular menstrual cycle one of the first signs that you are pregnant is a missed period, however you might notice that your period is very light compared to normal. If you have missed a period you can purchase a pregnancy test to complete in the privacy of your own home, visit your GP or your local sexual health clinic.

I have noticed spotting between my periods, am I pregnant?

Spotting or very light bleeding is quite common during the early weeks of pregnant. However if you notice any spotting this doesn’t mean that you are definitely pregnant. There are many reasons for why you might find spots of blood in your underwear.

What are the symptoms of my period?

One to two weeks before you start your period you may notice certain changes taking place within your body these can include physical, emotional and behavioural changes. Many women will notice that they feel more irritable than usual or are tired.