Most women who are not expecting pregnancy get agitated after a missed period for fear of being pregnant. However, the pregnancy test may be negative with a missed period. A lot of factors may be responsible for the lack of menstruation. During ovulation, if no sperm fertilizes the egg, a woman’s period will usually start about 14 days later. When this fails to happen, a pregnancy is suspected, especially if the woman had engaged in unprotected sex.
While a missed period is one of the first signs of pregnancy, there are a variety of other reasons why it can occur.
If a person does not menstruate for 3 months in a row, this is called amenorrhea.
Causes of missed periods without pregnancy
Amenorrhea usually happens when the ovaries stop producing enough estrogen. A lot of factors can be responsible.
For people with very little body fat or low body weight, exercising excessively can lead to missed periods. Missing periods due to extreme exercise is called exercise-associated amenorrhea.
Intense stress can affect the part of the brain that controls the reproductive hormones. This can halt ovulation and menstrual periods. Once the cause of the stress goes, their regular cycle may return.
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Producing excessive prolactin
Prolactin is a hormone that the body produces during breastfeeding. It can stop menstruation and is the reason why most breastfeeding women do not have periods. A milky discharge from the nipples can mean the body is producing a very high amount of prolactin in people who are not breastfeeding. Excessive prolactin production can be treated with medication.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS have a hormonal imbalance with enlarged ovaries with clusters of small cysts. Signs of PCOS include:
- being overweight
- very light, very heavy, or unpredictable bleeding during periods
- thinning hair irregular or no periods
- skin conditions like dark patches, acne, or skin tags
- thinning hair
- sleep apnea
- inability to conceive
- excess hair on the face, back, or thighs
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Eating disorders like anorexia can cause periods to stop. This happens when a person’s body fat becomes extremely low for ovulation to occur.
The thyroid gland produces hormones to control the metabolism of the body. Hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid causes the levels of thyroid hormones in the body to be too high. Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough of these hormones. Both conditions can affect the frequency of periods.
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The rapid gain or loss of a substantial amount of weight can lead to hormonal imbalances. These imbalances can cause a person to miss periods.
When a woman have not had a period for at least 12 months, she is said to be undergoing menopause. The average age of people entering menopause in the United States is 52 years old. However, the transition to menopause, known as perimenopause, may cause symptoms that begin at a younger age.
The symptoms of perimenopause include:
- vaginal dryness
- mood swings
- hot flashes
- irregular periods
- heavier or lighter periods
- problems sleeping
- less interest in sex
READ ALSO: Why Do I Have Two Periods In a Month?
Accuracy of pregnancy tests
Home pregnancy tests can give a false negative result, showing that someone is not pregnant when they are. The accuracy of a home pregnancy test varies depending on how and when a person takes it. Some test may give a false negative result if the test is taken too soon or if the hormones are low.