Does missing a period translate to pregnancy? Yes, the first possible cause of a missed period, if you are sexually active, is pregnancy. But there may be several other health or lifestyle factors that may cause the delay or missing a cycle of period altogether.

Most women who haven’t hit menopause get their periods every 28 days with the cycle ranging from 21 to 35 days. For some, menstruation is like clockwork but for some it’s a surprise. The reasons for not having a regular menstrual cycle are several. Hormonal imbalances and serious medical conditions can cause a large impact on your menstrual cycle. Apart from puberty, pregnancy and menopause, missing a period means a health condition. So, before you run to a medical store to a buy an at-home pregnancy test, let’s take a look at the other possible reasons that affect the delay –

Stress

The psychological imbalance can throw you into a frenzy of hormonal imbalances. The brain regulates all functioning and if it is exposed to prolonged stress, your hypothalamus is affected. Over time, you will experience sudden weight gain or loss; all of which will impact your cycle. When you alter your daily routine to a healthy lifestyle of exercise, regular diet and positivity, stress can stay at bay.

Birth Control Pills

Women who regularly take birth control pills may experience irregular periods. This is because their body is not naturally managing the period cycle but it is induced by medication. Pills contain estrogen and progestin which prevent ovaries from producing eggs. In this unnatural process your hormone levels drop and you may not experience typical bleeding.

Perimenopause

In most women menopause begins from 45 to 55. However, some women experience early menopause at 40. Before you hit menopause, you may go through a period of perimenopause – a transitional phase eventually leading to menopause. There is a fall in estrogen level (the main female hormone) during this phase resulting in missing regular menstrual cycles.

Fluctuating body weight

Rapid weight gain or rapid weight loss can cause to miss periods initially. But over time, with regular diet and healthy lifestyle, these issues tend to resolve. Excessive exercise with low body weight causes a condition called amenorrhea. This is one of the reasons of missing your period.

Chronic diseases

Illnesses such as thyroid and diabetes are typically associated with absent menses in women. Hypothyroidism causes hormone levels to fluctuate. If you experience unexplained weight gain/loss, hair fall and prolonged fatigue its best you get yourself checked for thyroid. Medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, chemotherapy drugs, etc. throw the clockwork of a healthy menstrual cycle for a toss.

When do you need to see a doctor?

Like mentioned before, missed periods or irregularity doesn’t always mean you are pregnant but there are several reasons why the delay may be caused. If you missed your periods more than three times and get a negative on the pregnancy test, bring it up with a gynecologist. You may have a medical condition that requires proper diagnosis. If you experience any of the below symptoms, see a doctor –

• Bleeding is much heavier than normal

• Period cycle is lesser than 21 days

• Your period cycle is more than 35 days almost regularly

• Bleeding lasts upto 7 or more days

• Observe spotting after period is over

• Experience bleeding after sex

• Your have post menopause bleeding

Hold the gun if you have drearily moved past your periods date; you’re not necessarily pregnant.