If you’re trying to get pregnant and your period is late, it’s exciting, but if you're not planning for a child, it can be concerning.
There are a lot of reasons why a woman may miss her period, beyond pregnancy. Some of them are relatively minor or temporary. Others are an indication of a more serious health problem. It’s worth knowing what your normal is, and paying attention if you deviate from it.
The time between periods can vary from woman to woman, and from cycle to cycle in the same woman. Anything from 21 to 35 days is possible for most.
"Each woman knows what to expect for herself and should rely on that as her ‘normal' timing,” says Dr. Antonio Pizarro, a gynaecologist based in Louisiana. "For any given woman, the frequency and duration can vary slightly from time to time without representing a concern."
But if you are worried about irregularities in your cycle, or have missed your period for several months in a row, you should investigate the problem further.
"Any concern on the part of a woman deserves immediate attention by a physician,” Pizarro says. "Non-pregnant women who miss periods for six cycles or more deserve evaluation for chronic conditions that can be potentially dangerous, including thyroid disease, ovarian failure, pituitary gland over-activity or even pituitary tumours."
Here are 13 things you should know about missed periods, from what might be causing them to how to keep track of your cycle.