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Definition

What is late period?

Late period is the abnormal menstruation — one or more missed menstrual periods. Women who have missed at least three menstrual periods in a row have amenorrhea.

The most common cause of this condition is pregnancy. Other causes include problems with the reproductive organs or with the glands that help regulate hormone levels. Treatment of the underlying condition often resolves amenorrhea

How common is late period?

No evidence indicates that the prevalence of amenorrhea varies according to national origin or ethnic group. However, local environmental factors related to nutrition and the prevalence of chronic disease undoubtedly have an effect. However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of late period?

The main sign of late period is the absence of menstrual periods. Depending on the cause of late period, you might experience other signs or symptoms along with the absence of periods, such as:

  • Milky nipple discharge
  • Hair loss
  • Headache
  • Vision changes
  • Excess facial hair
  • Pelvic pain
  • Acne

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently.

Causes

What causes late period?

During the normal course of your life, you may experience late period for natural reasons, such as:

Most women usually have a period every 28 days between starting their period and menopause. However, a healthy menstrual cycle can range from every 21 to 35 days. If your period doesn’t fall within these ranges, it could be one of these reasons.

  • Stress

Stress can throw off your hormones, change your daily routine, and even affect the part of your brain responsible for regulating your period — your hypothalamus. Over time, stress can lead to illness or sudden weight gain or loss, all of which can impact your cycle.

If you think stress might be throwing off your period, try practicing relaxation techniques and making lifestyle changes. Adding more exercise to your regimen may help get you back on track.

  • Low Body Weight

Women with eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, may experience missed periods. Weighing 10 percent below what’s considered a normal range for your height can change the way your body functions and stop ovulation. Getting treatment for your eating disorder and putting on weight in a healthy way can return your cycle to normal.

  • Obesity

Just as low body weight can cause hormonal changes, so can being overweight. Your doctor will recommend a diet and exercise plan if they determine that obesity is a factor in your late or missed periods.

  • Polycystic Ovary Symptom (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition that causes the body to produce more of the male hormone, androgen. Cysts form on the ovaries as a result of this hormone imbalance. This can make ovulation irregular or stop it altogether.

Other hormones, such as insulin, can also get out of balance, due to insulin resistance, which is associated with PCOS. Treatment of PCOS focuses on relieving symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe birth control or other medication to help regulate your cycle.

  • Birth Control

You may experience a change in your cycle when you go on or off birth control. Birth control pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, which prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. It can take up to six months for your cycle to become consistent again after stopping the pill. Other types of contraceptives that are implanted or injected can cause missed periods as well.

  • Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases such as diabetes and celiac disease also can affect your menstrual cycle. Changes in blood sugar are linked to hormonal changes, so  poorly controlled diabetes could cause your period to be irregular.

Celiac disease causes inflammation that can lead to damage in the small intestine, which may prevent your body from absorbing key nutrients. This can cause late or missed periods.

  • Early Menopause

Most women begin menopause between ages 45 to 55. Women who develop symptoms around age 40 or earlier are considered to have early menopause. This means your egg supply is winding down, and the result will be missed periods and eventually the end of menstruation.

  • Thyroid Issues

An overactive or underactive thyroid gland could also be the cause of late or missed periods. The thyroid regulates your body’s metabolism, so hormone levels can be affected as well. Thyroid issues can usually be treated with medication. After treatment, your period will likely return to normal.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for late period?

Factors that may increase your risk of late period may include:

  • Family history

If other women in your family have experienced late period, you may have inherited a predisposition for the problem.

  • Eating disorders

If you have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, you are at higher risk of developing late period.

  • Athletic training

Rigorous athletic training can increase your risk of late period.

Diagnosis &treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is late period diagnosed?

During your appointment, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam to check for any problems with your reproductive organs. If you’ve never had a period, your doctor may examine your breasts and genitals to see if you’re experiencing the normal changes of puberty.

Late period can be a sign of a complex set of hormonal problems. Finding the underlying cause can take time and may require more than one kind of testing.

Lab tests

A variety of blood tests may be necessary, including:

  • Pregnancy test

This will probably be the first test your doctor suggests, to rule out or confirm a possible pregnancy.

  • Thyroid function test

Measuring the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood can determine if your thyroid is working properly.

  • Ovary function test

Measuring the amount of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in your blood can determine if your ovaries are working properly.

  • Prolactin test

Low levels of the hormone prolactin may be a sign of a pituitary gland tumor.

  • Male hormone test

If you’re experiencing increased facial hair and a lowered voice, your doctor may want to check the level of male hormones in your blood.

Imaging tests

Depending on your signs and symptoms — and the result of any blood tests you’ve had — your doctor might recommend one or more imaging tests, including:

  • Ultrasound

This test uses sound waves to produce images of internal organs. If you have never had a period, your doctor may suggest an ultrasound test to check for any abnormalities in your reproductive organs.

  • Computerized tomography (CT)

CT scans combine many X-ray images taken from different directions to create cross-sectional views of internal structures. A CT scan can indicate whether your uterus, ovaries and kidneys look normal.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

MRI uses radio waves with a strong magnetic field to produce exceptionally detailed images of soft tissues within the body. Your doctor may order an MRI to check for a pituitary tumor.

How is late period treated?

Treatment depends on the underlying cause of your late period. In some cases, contraceptive pills or other hormone therapies can restart your menstrual cycles. Late period caused by thyroid or pituitary disorders may be treated with medications. If a tumor or structural blockage is causing the problem, surgery may be necessary.

Lifestyle changes &home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage late period?

Some lifestyle factors — such as too much exercise or too little food — can cause late period, so strive for balance in work, recreation and rest. Assess areas of stress and conflict in your life. If you can’t decrease stress on your own, ask for help from family, friends or your doctor.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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