And that’s valid. After all, our period is claimed to be our fifth vital sign. But just because the prediction failed, this doesn’t mean there is something necessarily wrong with you. Bear in mind that a cycle length is considered normal anywhere between 21 and 35 days!
If, however, you notice an odd irregularity in your cycle, here are some useful tips to try before visiting the doctor.
What Can Cause Your Period To Be Late (If You’re Not Pregnant)
A late period is commonly caused by imbalanced hormones. It’s usually a symptom rather than a cause, so it’s important to consider what late periods tell you about your body. However, I recognize that women (especially those who track their cycle) can get a little frustrated when their period is late. So, the purpose of this article is to calm your nerves. That’s why I won’t go over every possible reason your period might be late and focus on (what are, in my opinion) the scariest and the not-so-obvious ones.
Starting with my biggest fear when it comes to late periods - polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which, besides the cysts, usually has a hormone imbalance component. Because a lot of my friends struggled with it, I used to be constantly scared that I might have PCOS. If you’re like me, here are two facts to ease your worries: 1. PCOS is not a death sentence on your fertility. PCOS can be cured, and you can still get pregnant. 2. Only 6-12% of women in the US have PCOS. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a big number (roughly five million) for a very serious condition. And while I wouldn’t recommend being ignorant of the potential health risks of PCOS, jumping to the worst conclusions isn’t healthy either.
A late period is normally caused by imbalanced hormones.
The next thing to consider is what type of birth control you use. For example, we now know many of the lies surrounding hormonal birth control and how the pill can negatively impact your hormones. If you’re worried about the consequences of taking the Pill (here’s why you should be), you could try some natural and safer ways to prevent pregnancy, like the fertility awareness method (FAM).
Another reason for an irregular cycle might be a sudden weight change. How much did you weigh last month compared to now? Have you gone on an extreme diet? Are you over-exercising? There are healthy ways to lose (or gain!) weight, like eating balanced meals and leading an active lifestyle. If you want to take better care of yourself and your body, I highly recommend trying Evie’s new fitness and wellness app, 28, which gives you food, workout, and mindset recommendations based on the phase you’re currently in. You’ll thank me later.
So, we’ve reached the most common (and most overlooked) cause for a late period: stress. In my opinion, stress should be the first thing we consider when it comes to missing the predicted period date. How are you, really? Are there any exams coming up soon? Are you searching for a job? Or are you simply putting too much pressure on yourself? Before trying anything else, maybe relax for a few days.
Relieve Your Stress
Now that we’ve established that you should de-stress first, let’s look at some helpful ways to do that.
Take a Deep Breath
First and foremost – relax. Appreciate the fact that you’re breathing. Journal your thoughts. Write what you’re grateful for. This will calm your mind and give you clarity so you feel a little better about yourself. And who knows? Maybe this is exactly what you needed!
Get a Massage
A good massage will stimulate your blood circulation, ease your tight muscles, and relieve any hidden physical pressure. So, is there really a better way to invite Aunt Flo to the house? (And who could refuse an extra massage anyway?!)
A good massage will stimulate your blood circulation, ease your tight muscles, and relieve any hidden physical pressure.
Go to a Yoga Class
Yoga basically combines the first two tips – it stretches your muscles and eases your mind. As long as you don’t go too hard on the exercise, you’ll find yourself feeling better, and what’s the worst thing that can happen if you feel good?
Take a Day Off
I don’t know what your idea of taking a day off looks like – a walk in the park, a movie night at home, or a spa weekend getaway – but I can tell you it’s a great way to press pause and reset. And your body obviously needs this.
Pretend You’re on Your Period
Ok, hear me out on this one. We use our periods as an excuse to “be lazy“ (or really, to slow down), and we pay attention to ourselves more during that time of the month (how could we not, when we’re literally bleeding?). But what if you treat yourself to that bar of dark chocolate before your period comes (or when it should’ve come)? What if you took a soothing bath now, or cozied up in bed with hot cocoa and a book? Did you feel more relaxed just by thinking about it? Relieve the pressure in your mind, and the body will follow.
Be Mindful of Your Food
Next, you’ll need to be aware of what you put in your body. Are you actually getting nutrient-dense foods? Are your meals balanced? The food we eat impacts not only how we look, but also how we feel; it boosts our productivity and gives us mental clarity. While the scientific research on the topic is inconclusive at best, I’ve found these foods help induce a period:
Pineapple: Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain. Research shows it helps ease pelvic pain associated with endometriosis (a disease of the uterus that might cause infertility). It also has a potential anti-inflammatory effect. Because of that, it’s recommended for inducing periods in traditional medicine.
Parsley Tea: Some studies suggest parsley helps with thyroid issues. For this reason, it might be helpful when your period is late because of thyroid hormone imbalances. You can boil a handful of parsley leaves to make a tea or add it to your salad. I like to add it to a smoothie, or blend it with celery, water, and some spices like cayenne pepper or chili flakes. However, you should refrain from consuming too much parsley because of the toxin apiole in it, especially if you’re pregnant.
Vitamin C helps regulate your estrogen and progesterone.
Citrus: Citruses like lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are great sources of vitamin C, which helps regulate your endogenous hormones – estrogen and progesterone. Balancing your hormones is essential for steroidogenesis, the process that drives your cycle. So, vitamin C might be helpful when your period is late. You can also get vitamin C from the above-mentioned pineapple and parsley, as well as some of these foods.
Ginger: Research suggests that ginger has a pain-reducing effect when it comes to period cramps (also called dysmenorrhea). It’s a natural painkiller and can ease your PMS symptoms. That’s why ginger is believed to help menstruation occur. The easiest ways to integrate it into your diet are by adding it to your smoothies, making a ginger-lemon tea, or spoiling yourself by trying out this delicious gingerbread recipe.
Visit the Doctor
While stress is a common disruptor, an irregular cycle can signal some deeper issues. It’s recommended that you visit an expert when your period is late (or entirely gone) for three months in a row, or if you experience abnormalities that aren’t typical for you (I can’t stress that enough – only you know what is your body’s default). Such abnormalities might include excruciating abdominal pain or heavier-than-usual bleeding. If you’re still worried, visiting a doctor might calm your concerns (or at least tell you the cause), so it’s never a bad idea to go.
While an irregular cycle might signal a deep physical issue, it’s not a reason for immediate panic. Late periods are normal – after all, everyone has them. Oftentimes they’re just our body’s way of reminding us to take care of ourselves. So, on behalf of your body, I want to ask you – how are you today?
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