Causes of Missed Period or Skipped Period
A woman normally has regular menstrual flow every month and when there is a missed period, it may be an indication that something is up. Usually pregnancy is always the first thought of when a woman has a skipped period. Missed period would definitely create a feeling of anxiety especially for women who are not ready to get pregnant. But pregnancy is not always the cause of skipped periods. Here is list of other common reasons for missed periods.
• Stress can definitely affect many aspects of our lives. Too much stress can cause abnormality in the release of GnRH hormones which cause women not to ovulate thus unable to menstruate.
• Sudden illness temporarily delays women from menstruating.
• Changes in schedules especially if the body clock is affected can create delays in menstruation.
• Change of medications, specifically birth control pills can sometimes affect the natural menstrual flow.
• Overweight women are mostly experiencing irregular menstrual cycle caused by too much weight.
• Underweight women are also prone to have irregular menstrual cycle because they don’t have enough body fat in their system. Women who have extreme work outs and professional athletes are prone to having missed periods.
• Though it is true that most women have 28-day menstrual cycle, but this rule doesn’t apply to all women. Some women take longer than 28 days to complete once cycle depending on the time they ovulate. They might simply have just miscalculated and thought they have skipped period.
• Peri-menopausal period happens in between the reproductive and non-reproductive age. At this time menstrual periods are usually lighter or heavier, frequent or sometimes less frequent. At this age women usually skipped periods which are perfectly normal and part of the peri-menopausal process.
• Menopausal is when a woman reaches the age at which she can no longer ovulate which means there are no more menstruations. Menopause happens naturally to all women and to some may come earlier due to chemotherapy or hysterectomy.
What to do after a missed period
When a woman got a missed period and is sexually active, she needs to confirm first if she is pregnant. And if the result turns positive then she should get a prenatal appointment with her doctor right away.
If the result is negative, she should wait for at least another week to observe. If after a week and still no sign of menstruation, then the woman should set an appointment with her doctor and have it checked right away. There are several reproductive disorders that affect a woman’s menstrual period and cause menstrual flow to be irregular or lead to skipped period:
• Amenorrhea is a menstrual cycle disorder that results to skipped period and disrupts sexual drive due to improper nutrition, eating disorder, and stress.
• Anovulation is another menstrual cycle disorder that leads to irregular periods and erratic body temperature caused mostly by hormonal imbalance.
• Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a reproductive disorder caused by unknown reasons. It could be because of genetics or the body’s resistance to insulin that leads women to have irregular periods, weight gain, and erratic ovulation.
• Premature Ovarian Failure or POF is an endocrine disorder caused by unclear reasons, perhaps because of exposure to radiation or chromosomal problems which leads to irregular periods or having skipped periods and hot flashes.
• Uterine Fibroids refer to benign tumor caused by too much estrogen that results to irregular bleeding and pressure in the pelvis.
• Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a birth control method that may affect a woman’s menstrual cycle causing missed periods and painful menstrual cramps.
When one of these disorders is present, consultation with the doctor is needed.
Symptoms to watch out for
When there is missed period, a woman should always treat it as if she were pregnant just to make sure that nothing goes wrong until proven otherwise. Other symptoms of pregnancy include increased urination, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and breast tenderness and enlargement.
When there is missed period at least three times in a row, then immediate consultation with a medical professional is required as it may be a sign of a more serious disorder.
Treatment for Irregular Periods
Identify the cause of the skipped period. If it is stress then stress management techniques like yoga, meditation, and biofeedback can be tried. If it is caused by being overweight or underweight, then the appropriate weight should be attained. Over exercising should be avoided as it affects the body’s menstrual cycle. Oral contraceptive pills at first use can cause irregular periods as it takes some time for the body to get use to the medications.
To prevent circumstances of missed or skipped periods, here are few guidelines to follow:
• Eat a balanced diet and avoid fad diets
• Contraceptive pills should be used consistently
• Learn to relax to help reduce stress
• Avoid excessive exercise
A normal woman usually has 10 to 13 regular periods per year and it’s pretty common for females to have skipped periods at least twice a year. If missed periods get longer than 3 consecutive skipped cycles then that is the time to be concerned. The gynecologist is a big help for these cases.