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Why You Missed Your Period When You are Not Pregnant

by Katlyn Joy | April 12, 2014 5:10 PM3 Comments

When the red circle on the calendar comes and goes without your period showing up, your first thought is probably, "Am I pregnant?" If you know that is not, or is highly unlikely to be the case, your next question will be, "Then why didn't I get my period this month?"

There are a number of possible causes, from chronic, to one-time instances, to emotional reasons. To narrow down the possibilities, peruse the list and note the associated symptoms or conditions.


Your periods are controlled by hormones, and those hormones by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. Since stress affects the functioning of the hypothalamus, stress can throw off your menstrual cycle. Before you rule out stress, because you don't think anything that big is going on in your life, consider the cumulative effect of multiple stressors in your life; moving, new job, work stress, family demands, changes in relationships, financial hardships, other health problems or schedule changes. If you think stress may be the reason for your period being AWOL, try to find ways to handle your stress that relieves some of the pressure. Exercise, pleasurable but healthy activities, getting healthful sleep, and plain old laughter are all good stress relievers.

Weight changes

While extremes at either end are causes for amenorrhea, or lack of periods, typically people think of the underweight as being at particular risk. Those with eating disorders, particularly anorexia, are at increased risk but so are bulimics. Those who are significantly overweight however may also suffer from irregular periods, as weight problems affect hormones. Maintaining a healthy weight range is an important aspect of any woman's health, whether trying to become pregnant or not.

Intense physical activity

Those who are training for marathons, competitive athletes and others who put tremendous strain on their bodies are liable to miss periods. If you are attempting to get pregnant and work out at this level, you may want to take things down a notch for a time to see how it impacts your cycles.

Hormone Changes

Normal physical functioning such as breastfeeding or menopause will cause a cessation in periods, the first temporarily and the latter permanently. Often women will not resume periods until weaning, or at least until the baby is on solid foods and nursing has decreased.


Medications such as birth control pills, hormonal medications, IUD's, some antidepressants, hypertensive medications, chemotherapy and radiation, as well as the process of D & C or dilation and curettage.

Thyroid problems

Both overactive, or hyperthyroidism, or underactive or hypothyroidism, can lead to missed periods or irregular ones. If you have thyroid issues, consult a doctor as you may need to adjust any medication.

Pituitary issues

This gland regulates hormones and a noncancerous tumor can interfere with menstruation. If other causes have been eliminated, your physician may look into this unusual cause.

Polycystic Ovary System or PCOS

Overproduction of the hormones, androgens, can lead to cysts on the ovaries, impacting the ovulation process and menstrual periods. This syndrome can be treated and will likely cause other symptoms besides amenorrhea.

Premature ovarian failure

Premature ovarian failure is when ovulation ceases before the age of 40. Normal menopause occurs around age 50. Should earlier onset, the causes may be varied, but in 10 percent of cases of amenorrhea, it can be linked to Fragile-X primary ovarian insufficiency or FXPOI.

Structural problems in the female reproductive system.

This is less likely a cause, and is more often associated with cases of primary amenorrhea, or when a girl has never had a period.

Rarely other causes may be pinpointed, such as liver disease, tuberculosis, diabetes or irritable bowel disease. Also, a person who uses illegal drugs may experience a loss or dysfunction in the menstrual cycle.

If you have missed a period and are unsure why, and took pregnancy tests that resulted in a negative result, see a physician for answers. If you miss a second period, you definitely want to seek medical assistance for answers. A menstrual cycle that is misfiring or absent is a sign that your body is not functioning in a healthy manner. The cause needs to be discovered and addressed whether you seek to become pregnant or not.

Showing 1 - 3 out of 3 Comments
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Christina Feb 2, 2017 07:59:18 AM ET

I was one day late. started my period and it was heavy for only two days then i got the rusty brown discharge for two days. me and my boyfriend did have sex. and no blood or anything. then last night we had sex, still nothing. but i went to use the bathroom before bed and i had cramping and a little bit of blood(pinkish) on my underwear. and when i wipe its a very light pink. never had this happen before so this is new to me. i thought i was on my period longer but turns out yesterday would have been 5 days. the week before i had several headaches,achey,couldn't poop and still can't,and either can't sleep or can't stay awake. and my hips hurt. i have sore boobs and i did feel bloated and now i'm not.

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susan mcgarrell Nov 7, 2014 08:54:36 AM ET

I just had a period 14 weeks overdue, but i'm still being sick numerous times daily. could my system be getting back to normal, as i had a miscarriage 11 months ago.

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Lisa Marie Sep 30, 2014 03:41:42 PM ET

I have taken four tests, two positive and two negative. i've missed by periods for a few days, and i'm also on the pill. any advice?

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