The majority of women will have between an estimated 11-13 periods a year, and whilst this is often classed as ‘normal’, not everyone is the same (that’s the beauty of being human!)
When you start your period and grow into adulthood, it’s all about working out what is normal for your body, based you your menstrual history. If you’ve noticed changes to your period – maybe they’ve become irregular or you’ve missed a few in succession – this is something you shouldn’t ignore.
If you’re reading this and it all sounds familiar, don’t worry as there are remedies if you’ve noticed your period isn’t doing its a normal thing.
The most common cause for a missed period is pregnancy, and until you’re certain you’re pregnant, you should behave as if you are for the time being as this will keep you and the baby healthy. Use a home kit and should the test turn out positive, you should visit your GP right away.
You’re overexercising or underweight
Excessive exercise can cause amenorrhea (the post-term for absence of menstruation) and there are two classes of this, primary and secondary. The former refers to a girl who has not had her first period until the age of 15 or 16, whilst the latter is when a girl or woman has already started, but her cycle has been interrupted.
Overexercising can cause the body to expend too much energy (especially if you’re not putting the calories back into the tank), and force the body into shutting down into starvation mode, culling from what it believes is ‘non-essential’ functions, such as the reproductive organs.
We’ve all been stressed on or leading up to our period at some stage, but multiple months without your period or irregular periods because of stress is something to look at more closely. When we’re stressed, the body creates the hormone cortisol, which can disrupt your ovary interaction and the part of the brain that controls your period, that’s sensitive to stress.
The tricky thing is, we don’t know how susceptible we are to creating cortisol, which makes controlling our stress a bit of a trial-and-error exercise. If you suspect you’ve missed your period due to stress, keep a mood diary to identify when your peaks and troughs are, so you can act to reduce some activities and commitments.
Other reasons for missed and irregular periods:
- You’ve started menopause.
- You’re suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- You’re overweight or suddenly lost significant weight.
Remedies to get you back on track
If you’re unsure of why you might be missing a period, one of the best remedies is sometimes to come at things from an emotional point of view.
Cognitive behavioural therapy can help to unlock stress and help you make changes to the aspects of your life that might be the root cause of your irregular or missed periods.
Meanwhile, multiple months of missed periods are definitely something your GP should be looking into. They can help you formulate a lifestyle plan that will encourage hormone balance and reduce stress.