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Does missing a period mean you’re pregnant? This is what a gynaecologist has to say

Updated on:19 August 2020, 13:23pm IST
If you have ever missed your period, you know that the first thought is always, “Am I pregnant?” But, does a missed period always mean that?
Sonakshi Kohli
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Read this before you start fretting over that missed period. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The only time a woman probably ever rejoices missing a period is when she’s planning a child. Period. There’s no doubt that most women are sick of dealing with horrible PMS ssues like excruciating stomach aches, mood swings, acne, and what not! 

But the only reason a woman probably still prefers dealing with horrible PMS symptoms and getting her period is that she doesn’t want a baby just yet but definitely wants Mother Nature to reassure her that her hormones are just doing fine.

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However, in case of a missed period, the panic alarms are sure to start ringing and the reassurance might just be needed more than ever. That prolonged cycle could immediately make you think you’re pregnant and make you panic.

But, ladies, here’s the good news: Not every missed period means you’re pregnant. “Missing a period is a sign of getting pregnant but it can also be caused due to many other factors,” says Dr. Sadhna Singhal, senior consultant in Obstetrics & Gynecologist, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute.

Pregnancy aside, there could be other factors responsible for your delayed/missed period. Take a look at them:

1. PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
When your body produces more androgen (the male hormone) than required, it can lead to major goof ups in your system including the collection of fluids in your ovaries, preventing/delaying them from releasing the egg for fertilisation.

missed periods
PCOS is gynaecological issues involving your ovaries. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“This is a condition which is a major cause of hormonal imbalances, weakness, and can cause irregular periods in some women,” warns Dr. Singhal.

2. Post-pill side effect
If you’ve been on an oral contraceptive for some time and decide to stop using it, it may take your hormones some time to adjust to this change and get back to normal. This can lead to a delay in ovulation and prolonged cycles. In fact, the observations of a study published in Gynecological Endocrinology Journal, seconds this fact.

3. Extreme mental and/or physical stress
“Extreme mental stress leads to a variety of health problems. In some cases, a hormone called cortisol starts affecting the menstrual cycle which leads to irregular or delayed periods,” Dr. Singhal explains. In fact, extreme physical stress like running a marathon can cause a delayed period as per a study published in 2012.

missed periods
Heavy stress may fluctuate your menstrual cycle. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Weight
Being overweight or underweight—both can affect your cycle, ladies. Whether you weigh 10% below your ideal weight or are overweight/obese, you could miss a period every now and then.

5. Medicines
Dr. Singhal also talks about the possibility of a delayed period due to the consumption of some medicines like certain antibiotics which can create a hormonal imbalance in the body.

6. Weakness/deficiencies
Last but not the least, Dr. Singhal brings to light the negative impact of weaknesses and conditions like anaemia stemming from nutritional deficiencies and goes on to say that they can cause painful or irregular periods.

Also, listen:

Is missing a period dangerous?
Obviously, any deviation in your body’s behaviour from its normal course is something that you shouldn’t ignore. However, Dr. Singhal warns, “A normal menstrual cycle can be anywhere from 21 to 35 days long. However, if this duration extends by 7 days or more, it is a sign of a late or delayed period. If any sexual activity has taken place, there are many pregnancy test kits available in medical stores that one can opt for. However, if that is not the case, one should see a doctor as it can be due to some major or minor medical reasons.”

Instead of panicking, talk to your doctor about missing your period.

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Sonakshi Kohli Sonakshi Kohli

Twenty kilos down and struggling to maintain the weight loss by preaching healthy eating, while eating unhealthy every now and then.