It's not a particularly comforting moment, realizing your period is late.
A moment of panic may arise. For me, the proverbial stork immediately comes to mind, arriving at the door like an unordered pizza with a pooping, crying, ravenous little gremlin in tow.
Then, of course, there are all the ways in which pregnancy, barring immaculate conception, definitely isn't a possibility.
It all begs the question: Where did my bloody monthly bill run off to?
Rest assured, there are actually a whole host of reasons your period might be late, skip, or suddenly become less frequent, that have nothing to do with diapers.
Maybe You've Been Into Super Serious Exercise Lately
Have you been CrossFitting, SoulCycling, or shadowboxing particularly hard this month? Training for a marathon, maybe? Happen to be an Olympic gymnast?
An irregular period is really normal for athletes, or those of us taking on new physical challenges.
If your BMI makes a sudden dip, or your body is under an unusual amount of physical strain, your period might take a break in response.
I've had some experience with this one. It's good to just lay down with a sandwich sometimes.
Or It Could Be Your Medication
Birth control is probably the number one culprit in period-changing medications.
Hormonal birth controls stop the body from ovulating. Even the period you have while on the pill is technically a fake-out; it's simply withdrawal bleeding.
Emergency contraception can also delay your period for up to a week.
Plus, medications like mood stabilizers and antidepressants can cause shifts in the menstrual cycle. If you've started taking a new medication and notice a change in your period, research the side effects and contact your doctor to ease your mind.
Bless This Stress
There's this portion of your brain called the hypothalamus, which is where your central nervous system links to your pituitary gland, and where hormones are secreted.
When you're super stressed, the hypothalamus goes into overdrive, and that can cause shifts in your moon cycle.
Consider what's been going on in your life. Any major changes? Tons of work? More anxiety than normal?
Keep in mind that particularly traumatic experiences, like an assault, the death of a loved one, or a terrible breakup can all cause a loss of period as well.
Breastfeeding Could Be The Culprit
So, you've already had the kid, but you're still missing periods?
Totally normal. Your hormones are just all over the place.
Weight, Weight, Weight
Weight loss and weight gain (or being technically over or under the recommended weight range for your body type) affects your hormonal cycles. Eating disorders can also be major causes for amenorrhea.
When your body isn't getting enough (or the specific kind) of nutrients it needs, it'll definitely shoot you some signals.
Consider your relationship with eating, and where your body weight is at the moment. Could that have anything to do with your cycle changing?
Perhaps You Took A Trip To Somewhere New
Seriously! It happens.
A change in time zones or overall schedule can whack out your body's natural clockin' and circadian rhythms.
Maybe It's Those Recreational Drugs You're Taking
Like, you know. Drug drugs.
They just aren't really all that good for your body as it is, and they can cause irregularity.
Just one more thing (among many) to consider before snorting a line in the back of that dive bar, amirite?
Or Maybe It's A Medical Condition
There are a variety of medical conditions that can cause missed periods.
It's possible you might have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a thyroid condition, or maybe even early onset menopause, just to name a few.
Other illnesses that cause major stress on the body can result in skips, too.
Wait A Minute, What Day Is It?
God knows it's hard to keep track of the day of the week, let alone the day of your cycle.
And there's always the possibility that you just might have the days wrong.
A period-tracking app, or just doing the classic red "X" on your desk calendar, can go a long way when you're trying to remember whether or not to pack that DivaCup.