When you get your periods, your tummy and back hurt, you feel bloated, and much more. Menstruation doesn’t really bring about pleasant memories but if your sanitary pads are not being used on a monthly basis, there might be a reason for it. It doesn’t always mean that you are pregnant. Delay in menstruation without pregnancy is possible, but the causes or reasons might not bring you happy news. Delay in menstruation could be a sign that you have ill health.
It is essential to pay attention to menstruation and the regularity of your menstrual cycle in order to make sure that you are in the pink of health. And if there is a delay in menstruation, you might want to check with a doctor.
Health Shots reached out to Dr Shefali Tyagi, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bengaluru, to know more about why women face delay in menstruation at times.
When should your menstruation start?
If you are fit and don’t have any known health condition that could affect your menstrual cycle then your “period should normally begin within 21 to 35 days of your last period,” said Tyagi.
Some women who haven’t reached menopause yet, they usually get their period approximately every 28 days.
Variations in your menstruation cycle can happen due to several factors
Delay in menstruation might depict a cause of serious concern, so Tyagi shared a list of mental and physical factors that you should know about.
1. Excess Stress
Menstrual irregularities affect two to five percent of childbearing women, according to the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, which also cited that it is a number that is considerably higher among women under constant stress during a cycle.
2. Being underweight
Body mass index (BMI) plays a very important role for menstrual cycle regularity, so women and girls have to be given healthy and balance nutrition. This leads to maintenance of their normal BMI and then regulate their menstrual cycle, as per the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care
Obese women are at an increased risk of gynaecological problems, including menstrual dysfunction apart from possibility of them developing Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, hyperlipidemia and rectal carcinoma, according to National Library of Medicine.
4. Birth control pills
This can be done voluntarily too as it’s possible to delay or prevent your period with extended or continuous use of any combined estrogen-progestin birth control pill, as per Mayo Clinic.
5. Chronic diseases
It can be any disease like uncontrolled diabetes, which may cause irregular periods. It happens as the interaction between your blood sugar levels and hormones gets disrupted and affects your menstrual cycle, according to Penn Medicine.
6. Premature ovarian insufficiency
Also known as primary ovarian insufficiency, it could be the dysfunction of ovarian follicles with cessation of menses before the age 40 years, as per the American College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists.
7. Thyroid issues
Thyroid dysfunction is a vital causative etiology of menstrual abnormalities, and assessment of thyroid function should be done in women with menstrual disorders. This is to avoid unnecessary interventions like hysterectomy, as per the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is caused by imbalanced sex hormones, and they can disrupt your regular menstruation, according to Penn Medicine.
If you have symptoms like unusually heavy bleeding, fever, severe pain, nausea and vomiting, bleeding more than 7 days, then consult your doctor, suggested Tyagi.
She advised to immediately seek medical attention if six weeks have passed without bleeding.
Lifestyle plays a role in delay of menstruation
Lifestyle has a significant impact on our overall health, and the menstrual cycle is also affected by the mental and physical aspects of our health. She noted that being underweight or obese can cause irregular periods, and can interrupt your cycle and ovulation. They can either make the time between periods longer, or cause your body to skip it as it recognises that your body is not capable enough to carry out pregnancy. She shared that having a healthy lifestyle won’t just avoid such circumstances, but will also protect you against diseases that interrupt your healthy body function.
Ways to ensure healthy periods
Tyagi said that the best way to ensure healthy periods is through having a good diet and exercise regimen. While healthy lifestyle will keep you protected against various diseases, you can start practising stress reduction and relaxation techniques. In some cases, health experts prescribe hormonal pills to keep your sex hormones in check.