Late Period Without Pregnancy: 6 Reasons Why
An ordinary menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days long. However, menstrual cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days if you’re an adult and 21 to 45 days for younger teenagers. It is possible for women with irregular periods to have a delayed or missed period but still get negative pregnancy test results. Here are some reasons your period could be late, even with a negative pregnancy test result.
1. Weight Gain
A significant increase in your body mass index (BMI) could cause period delay. Also, an increase in weight is one of the signs of pregnancy near the end of the first trimester, not an early sign of pregnancy. There isn’t an exact amount of weight gain that can result in a missed period; Nevertheless, larger gains, in shorter periods of time are more likely to affect your menstrual cycle. A boost in your body’s fat stores can cause a hormonal imbalance that can prevent ovulation.
If your BMI is in the obesity category (generally over 35) you are even more likely to miss your period. Obese women may stop bleeding completely, this condition is known as secondary amenorrhea
On the other hand, you may experience irregular bleeding that doesn’t follow your cycle — abnormal uterine bleeding. When you’re overweight, this bleeding can be relatively very heavy.
2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
A medical condition such as PCOS can cause irregular cycles and missed periods. Experiences vary for PCOS. Some women may experience heavier bleeding, light bleeding or may skip periods completely.
There is no definite cause for PCOS, but it appears to be related to a hormone imbalance in a woman’s hormones. Women with PCOS, usually have a higher than normal amount of the androgen hormone.
If you’re nursing, you may experience irregularities in your menstrual cycle. When your baby arrives, and you were bleeding again, it can take time for your period to get back to normal.
It’s difficult to predict how much breastfeeding will affect your menstrual cycle. The amount of breastfeeding is unpredictable from month to month. When a baby begins to grow, it’s feedings might change. For instance, your baby hitting a growth spurt results in an increase in breastfeeding, which may affect your menstrual cycle.
4. Low hormone levels
For those trying to get pregnant, a late period without a positive pregnancy test result can be good news, you could still be in the early stages of pregnancy. When testing too early, the pregnancy hormone hCG won’t be high enough for your home pregnancy test to detect it, resulting in a false negative. This can be a result of taking your pregnancy test too early.
Menstrual cycles vary widely between women. If you end up conceiving later into your cycle than expected, your hCG hormone levels might not be high enough at the time of your missed period. You can better control your LH hormone level with the Mira Fertility Tracker, which provides exact level of hormones and uses AI to learn your changing hormone patterns. This is put together in a highly personalized and accurate ovulation prediction and gives you fertility advice specific to you.
There can be up to a 13-day difference for when ovulation can occur in the middle of your cycle. This means you could think you’re 4 weeks pregnant, then only be 2 weeks pregnant the whole time.
How late can a period be without being pregnant? If you test for pregnancy after missing your period and get a negative result on your test, retest in a few days. If you’ve missed your period for a significant amount of time, be sure to speak to a medical professional to rule out other complications based on your health information. Getting a pregnancy blood test can be done about 7 days after ovulation and has a reported 97-98% accuracy rating.
5. Health Medications
Hormonal birth control pills may cause irregularities in your cycle, especially in the first few weeks of use, or discontinuation. Other types of medications can lead to you missing your period include:
- Blood pressure drugs
- Allergy medications
- Pain killer
6. Weight Loss
If you’re starting from normal weight, A significant amount of weight loss can result in missed periods. Losing weight faster increases the chance of your period being affected. This is often caused by eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.
Suddenly restricting your calorie intake, coupled alongside excessive exercise can trigger a stress response in your body. Thus, your hormone levels become altered, possibly interrupting ovulation and causing you to miss your period. This condition is known as amenorrhea and is more common in elite female athletes that do gymnastics, ballerina, long-distance running and other exercises that put a great deal of stress on your body.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation. Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.
Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).