When a woman misses her period, it is due to a medical phenomenon referred to as amenorrhea. This condition can manifest in two different forms.
Primary Amenorrhea – This condition happens when a female does not start her first period during puberty. This uncommon condition often indicates problems with reproductive organs such as the vagina, uterus and cervix. A late start with puberty is one of the main causes of Primary Amenorrhea.
Secondary Amenorrhea – This condition is caused by a woman not having a period for three or more months in a row. There are many reasons why this could happen. The list below explains some of the causes of secondary amenorrhea.
Medicine and Other Drugs – Sometimes taking powerful drugs can cause a woman to miss her period. Some medicines that may cause this side effect are chemotherapy medications and antidepressants. Missed periods may also be caused by taking contraceptives. Any woman who is taking contraceptives should talk with her gynecologist to see if these drugs are disrupting the regularity of her menstrual cycles and causing her to miss periods.
Weight Problems – A woman’s weight can also affect the regularity of her menstrual cycle. Overweight women commonly have fertility problems and irregular periods. Certain hormonal imbalances that lead to secondary amenorrhea are caused by being overweight. Likewise, being underweight can also lead to missed periods because a woman’s reproductive system requires that there be a certain body fat percentage in order for it to function properly. The hormones that regulate menstrual cycles are not able to flow properly when there is too little body fat. Crash diets and over-exercising can be responsible for irregular or missed periods as well.
Menopause and Peri-Menopause – Every woman eventually undergoes a stage where she is gradually transitioning from being reproductive to being non-reproductive. This is called peri-menopause. It is during this stage that a woman’s periods will become very irregular and she may go months without having a period. When she does have a period, she often will suffer substantial bleeding. The primary reason for this occurrence is the inconsistency of the woman’s progesterone levels. Progesterone is a hormone that oversees the length of time a woman bleeds during her period as well as how much blood is lost. The imbalance of this hormone disrupts the menstrual cycle and leads to irregularity.
Stress – These days, stress is a frequent problem. Too much stress causes a woman’s body to create GnRH, which is a hormone that disrupts the menstrual cycle and causes it to stop briefly. This issue can often be resolved by lowering the levels of stress or coming up with ways to deal with stress more effectively.
Exercising too Much – When a woman exercises too much or engages in demanding physical tasks on a regular basis, this can lead to missed periods. Female athletes face this problem all the time and suffer from secondary amenorrhea due to their rigorous exercise routines.
Chronic Illness – Women who have suffered from a chronic illness or taken certain medications for an extended amount of time can sometimes experience missed or irregular periods. Women with thyroid problems commonly have amenorrhea for this reason and it is often one of the signs of a thyroid issue. If a woman notices other symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue and hair loss along with her irregular menstrual cycles, she should have her doctor examine her thyroid. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is another major cause of missed periods.