It can be frustrating to find that your period has been delayed for many days but the pregnancy test result is still negative. You might feel scared, uncertain and worried. Other than pregnancy, there are several reasons why your period might be delayed.
What causes a delayed period?
Weight loss or excessive exercise
Losing a significant amount of weight can cause you to miss periods. When you are underweight, hormone levels in your body change and they can dip to such low levels that menstruation and ovulation do not occur.
If you have lost a considerable amount of weight and have missed several periods, it is advisable that you consult a doctor immediately to get help in nourishing your body with the right vitamins, nutrients and minerals. If you are suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, you should consult a doctor to get the help that you need.
Just like how weight loss can cause delayed periods, gaining too much weight can also affect your period. Basic cholesterol compounds in fat cells can change to a type of weak estrogen called estrone. When you are overweight, the extra fat cells can have an estrogenic effect on glands, causing bleeding or menstrual disorders. You may go for months without ovulating, yet the uterine lining may still be accumulating until it becomes unstable.
If you are overweight and experiencing irregular or missed periods, you should consult your doctor to identify if it is caused by your obesity or other known factors.
If you are experiencing high levels of stress, it may affect your period. The hypothalamus, an area in the brain that regulates hormones, is easily affected by stress. So if you are going through a difficult time or just witnessed a traumatic event in your life, your hormones may be imbalanced, causing a missed or delayed period.
Most women experience menopause in their early 50s after not having their period for at least 12 months. However, many women experience menopause earlier. This is known as perimenopause. During perimenopause, estrogen levels in your body start to fluctuate and this can cause your periods to be irregular or missed periods. Other than irregular or missed periods, other symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness and sleep problems.
Some types of birth control may cause irregular or missed periods. Hormonal birth control methods, in particular, prevents your body from ovulating and causes the uterine lining to be so thin that it is not enough to cause menstruation.
You may find that on some days of the month, you experience spotting or cramping. This is because hormonal birth control introduces some form of estrogen and progesterone into your body for a set amount of time, and then withdraws these hormones for some days (also known as placebo pills). The withdrawal of these hormones triggers a “period”.
In most cases, irregular periods or having no period at all is common when you are on hormonal birth control. If you are worried, you should speak to your doctor to address your concerns.
Polycystic Ovary Symptom
Polycystic Ovary Symptom (PCOS) is a condition whereby hormone levels are abnormal, and this can cause cysts to develop on the ovaries, acne, excess facial and body hair and obesity. Irregular periods or missed periods is also a common feature. If you suspect that you have PCOS, you should consult a doctor right away. If not properly treated, PCOS may cause endometrial cancer.
You may be pregnant. You should not completely rule out pregnancy even if you are using contraception or have protected sex. No contraception or condoms are 100% effective. You should use a home pregnancy test kit to test for pregnancy.
Possible Causes of Negative Pregnancy Test
You are not pregnant!
Don't freak out! You may simply be experiencing a late period due to one of the reasons mentioned above. However, if you are still uncertain and worried, you should go to a doctor for a thorough evaluation. Your doctor will be able to conduct blood tests, urine tests and ultrasound to accurately determine whether you are pregnant.
Pregnancy test is carried out too early
You may be pregnant, but you took the test too early. Your egg may have been fertilized, but your body has not produced enough Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) for the test strip to measure. When HCG levels in your body are still low, the test kit will not be able to test for it. It is recommended that you carry out the test at least 10 days after your delayed period.
Incorrect use of pregnancy test kit
You may be using the test kit incorrectly. While most home pregnancy test kits function in similar ways, some may use a different method. Remember to read the instruction manual carefully and follow it closely in order to get the most accurate results. You should also take the pregnancy test first thing in the morning as that is when your urine is most concentrated.
Your urine may be too diluted. If you drink a lot of water or other fluids before carrying the test, the HCG level in your urine may be too faint for the test to detect, which causes the result to be negative. To avoid this, you should carry out the test using the first urine sample after you wake up.