What do you do when your period is late, but your pregnancy test is negative? Is it a false result, or could there be something else causing the delay? Should you take another test (or several) just to be sure?
A missed period can be stressful, especially if you don’t want to be pregnant. However, it doesn’t always mean that you’re pregnant. Today, we’re exploring what can cause a late period, other than pregnancy!
What Causes a Late Period (Other than Pregnancy)?
There are several reasons your period is late. Common factors include stress, diet and exercise, birth control, and certain health conditions.
When you experience stress, your body produces the hormone cortisol. The higher your cortisol levels, the more likely you are to have irregular or missing periods. Stressful situations that may cause a missed period include:
- Work-related stress, such as a hostile office environment or job loss
- School-related stress, such as final exams or projects
- Major life events, like a wedding, break up, or the loss of a loved one
2. Extreme Diet and Exercise
A healthy diet and exercise can transform your body. However, overdoing it can have negative consequences. Even if you’ve had regular periods in the past, you may start skipping them due to extreme diet, weight loss, or exercise—a condition known as secondary amenorrhea. This can happen if you:
- Suffer from an eating disorder
- Eat an extreme, low-calorie diet
- Lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time
- Engage in intense workout routines (such as marathon training)
3. Hormonal Birth Control
Going on or off birth control pills can affect your period. For example, if you skip the hormone-free week, you may only have light spotting or miss your period altogether. Additionally, after stopping birth control, you may experience irregular or missed periods.
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem with your hormones that causes irregular periods. It interferes with your body’s ability to ovulate (release an egg). If an egg isn’t released to meet the sperm, you won’t get pregnant, and your pregnancy test result will be negative. However, if you don’t ovulate, you usually won’t have a period either.
5. Thyroid Problems
If you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, it might cause an irregular or missed period. Thyroid problems are quite common, affecting up to 10% of women who menstruate. If you think your thyroid might be affecting your menstrual cycle, reach out to your doctor to discuss diagnosis and treatment.
What Do I Do Next?
If your period hasn’t started, wait a week, then take another pregnancy test. Want a second opinion? Women’s Choice Resource Center offers free lab-quality pregnancy tests, administered by our licensed medical staff. We’re here to answer your questions and provide the care you deserve.
If you miss three consecutive periods, contact your healthcare provider. They will help you take the steps to figure out what’s causing your missed period.
Free Pregnancy Tests and Ultrasounds in Fort Worth, TX
A negative pregnancy test should come as a relief if you’ve missed a period, but it may leave you with more questions than answers. The good news is that you don’t have to face this alone. Women’s Choice Resource Center provides free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, so you can confirm your pregnancy (or lack thereof) in a compassionate, nonjudgmental environment.
Give us a call at (817) 534-9947 or schedule your appointment online today! All services are free and confidential.
- Can Stress Cause You to Skip a Period? Cleveland Clinic. (2020, September 18). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-stress-cause-you-to-skip-a-period/
- 8 Reasons Why Your Period Is Late. Cleveland Clinic. (2023, April 20). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-is-my-period-late/
- Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, December 23). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940