The majority of us are categorically, most certainly not trying for a baby, yet have had a scare…or five. If this includes you, you're probably familiar with the "why am I not experiencing any painful cramps at the minute?" train of thought, followed by saucer eyes and a vision of you surrounded by nappies and toys, looking haggard.
Of course, this is a fleeting thought that happens for 5 seconds before the penny drops and you remember that small yet highly important baby ingredient– sperm. You haven't had sex in over two months, so you can't be pregnant. No pitter-patter of tiny feet for you just yet, but that doesn't mean you should ignore your missing period.
Whilst pregnancy is the most obvious reason for a period gone awol, there are plenty of other reasons why your time-of-the-month might have gone walkabouts.
Stress can cause many underlining issues and it can also have an affect on your period. The hypothalamus area of the brain (the part that can also regulate your hormones and therefore your period) is closely connected with stress. Many of us have experienced this and your body does recover naturally, however if you are finding this to be a regular occurrence, it's worth talking to your doctor.
If you happen to have lost a lot of weight, especially within a short space of time, your body will prevent ovulation. This is generally due to your BMI decreasing at a rate your body cannot handle – usually below 18 0r 19 units – meaning you are not fit enough to bear a child. Missed periods tend to be associated with serious medical illnesses such as eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia especially) that require additional help and therapy.
If you're putting your body under an increased level of strain – maybe you're training for an event or started a new yet intense regime – then similar to weight loss, your body is protecting you from getting pregnant. Nature knows you're not in an optimal state to be carrying a baby.
It seems ironic that the precautions you are taking to give yourself peace of mind might be the cause of your unease. Whether it's the implant, injection, hormonal IUDs or certain types of the pill, it could be the contraception you're taking is behind the disappearance of Flo. There are plenty of contraceptive options out there and you're not alone if you're experiencing side effects such as missed periods. Voice your concerns with your GP and experiment with different forms to find the right method for you.
PCOS affects between 5-10% of pre-menopausal women in the world and can lead to missed periods, excessive hair growth, weight gain and possible infertility. Whilst uncommon, diagnosis of this condition has been increasing in recent years. There are medications out there to help control this condition including contraceptive pills, diabetes medications and fertility options. This can include surgery for the most severe cases.
Another rare condition, but something to consider if you feel you've researched it all, is premature menopause. Also known as premature ovarian failure, this means your hormones have been putting your body through the menopause up to 30 years too early. If this is the case, you will be experiencing other menopause side effects such as hot flushes and vaginal dryness.
well as regulating your metabolism, your thyroid gland helps to regulate your time of the month. If there happens to be any irregularity or imbalance, this can mean a missing period. Other symptoms include:
Unless you're trying to get pregnant, getting your period every month is a necessary evil. You don't feel so great – the bloating, cramps and PMS have you reaching for the sugary treats – but the bottom line is you would be in much more trouble if it didn't turn up. If you have had unprotected sex within the last two months and have missed a period, it's always worth doing a pregnancy test so you know your options going forward.