Menstruation is an experience that is uniquely female. It starts with puberty and continues all the way until menopause. For many women, monthly periods are something they can always depend on. However, there are some cases where your period may suddenly take a break. If you are usually regular, this can come as quite a shock. If you are not as regular, you may not be immediately concerned. Nevertheless, it is important to understand some of the reasons why your period may suddenly evade you. If you find yourself asking, “why has my period stopped?” it may be for one of the following reasons:
Stress affects your body in many ways. One way is that it can alter your period. Depending on your stress levels, you may notice changes in your period such as longer or shorter periods, more painful periods, or periods that stop altogether.
If you are taking the pill, it is not uncommon to have the occasional skipped period. Other types of contraceptives can stop your periods completely. This is something you can discuss with your gynecologist so you know what to expect when taking certain contraceptives.
Exercise is generally good for you, however intense exercise can stress your body and cause you to lose too much body fat. A lack of body fat pauses ovulation, which means you won’t get a period.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
This syndrome causes harmless follicles or fluid-filled sacs to develop in the ovaries. Additionally women with PCOS tend to have higher levels of androgen, which is a male hormone. This inhibits eggs from being released, which results in infrequent periods.
The amount of calories you consume daily affects your hormone levels. If you suddenly loose weight or change your daily caloric intake, your body may not be producing enough hormones to stimulate your period. This is common in women with anorexia or bulimia, however it can occur in any woman with a body mass index less than 18.5.
Just as weight loss can cause your period to stop, being overweight can also cause your period to stop. This is because women with a body mass index over 30 can produce excess oestrogen, which can make your period stop.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, a missed period may be a sign that you have succeeded. If you are not trying to get pregnant, a missed period may be a sign that your birth control method has failed. However, pregnancy cannot be diagnosed by a missed period alone. If you suspect you may be pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test and/or schedule an appointment with your doctor.
If you are or are nearing the ages of 45-55, your body may be approaching menopause. This causes your oestrogen levels to drop, which slows down ovulation and causes missed periods.
As you can see, there are various reasons why your period may suddenly take a hiatus. The occasional skipped period is generally not a cause for concern, however regularly missing periods can be a sign that you should schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. They can help you determine what the cause of your missed periods is and whether or not you need to make certain adjustments.
Dr. Geoffrey Zann is a Certified Robotic Da Vinci Surgeon, Board-certified by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and a Diplomat of the American Board Obstetrics of Gynecology. He has been a member of the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, and the Hugh R. K. Barber Obstetric and Gynecologic Society.