Menstrual Cycle Disturbances
Why is My Period Late?
What follows is a table indicating some of the most common reasons why women have abnormalities in their periods. In many cases late periods could be a side-effect of certain types of birth control. In other cases, a late period can indicate a pregnancy. If a pregnancy test is negative, but menstrual problems persist, it could be a sign of a more serious condition requiring immediate medical attention. You should see your obstetrician if pregnant and gynecologist if not.
If you wonder if you might be pregnant then check out our free online pregnancy test to help you find out for sure.
|period change||if you are||what it may mean|
|skipped period||any woman||stress, rapid weight loss or gain, illness, drugs (certain tranquilizers) may have disrupted cycle|
|using the Pill||Pill brand is too low in estrogen|
|former Pill user||body hasn't yet adjusted to life off the pill; see doctor if periods don't resume in 3 months|
|using Mini-Pill, Implanon, or Depo-Provera||common side effect of progestin-only methods of birth control — drug is probably suppressing ovulation as well as period, effect may be prolonged; most common among new users of Norplant and long-term users of Depo-Provera|
|lighter / shorter
|any woman||missed ovulation (no egg released from ovary)|
|sexually active||early pregnancy — some bleeding may occur on implantation; ectopic pregnancy — especially if accompanied by sharp pain on one side|
|using the Pill||less endometrial build up, a common Pill side-effect|
|using Mini-Pill, Implanon, or Depo-Provera||common side effect — drug is probably not suppressing ovulation if periods are regular|
|heavier / longer
|any woman||fibroids (benign uterine growth)|
|sexually active||possible miscarriage, esp. if period is late and with severe cramps and clots in blood|
|an IUD user||device may have irritated the uterine wall — a common IUD side effect|
|using Mini-Pill, Implanon, or Depo-Provera||longer periods are a common side effect; heavier periods are a less common side effect, but iron supplements or discontinuation may be necessary|
|new mother||an enlarged uterus, resulting in the accumulation of more lining; a cervix widened by childbirth releases more menstrual fluid at once with less cramping|
|bleeding / spotting between periods||any woman||stress; an infection, cyst, or polyp of the cervix, vagina, or uterus|
|a new Pill user||breakthrough bleeding, common in first few months of use, may indicate brand of Pill is not right for user|
|current Pill user||missed a pill or taken one late|
|using Implanon Mini-Pill or Depo-Provera||a common side effect, especially during the first few months of using the Mini-Pill|
|an IUD user||a local infection or inflammation caused by the device|
|pregnant||normal hormone fluctuations in first trimester can cause spotting|
Find out why a late period can be a sign of pregnancy in our pregnancy forum.
Check Out More Articles On This Topic
- At this site:
- Pregnancy Symptoms: Nauseous? Bloated? Tender breasts? Learn about the common symptoms of pregnancy.
- Oral Contraceptives: Learn more about the Pill, side-effects, and related birth control methods.
- Unplanned Pregnancy Help: Fill out this on-line form for advice, referrals, and educational information via email