The Ultimate Why Is My Period Late Calculator

Use my handy late period calculator to find out now

Why is my period late?

We’ve all been there before.

Your period is late.

You might not think much of it for the first day or two, but as the days, weeks (or months!) roll by, the anxiety starts to creep in.

You run to the nearest pharmacy and take daily pregnancy tests, convinced that this month you must actually be pregnant.

Only to return negative after negative result, but STILL no period.

What the heck is going on?

Reasons why your period might be late or missing

  1. You are currently pregnant - this is always worth checking, especially if you have a regular cycle which is suddenly late. Pregnancy tests generally only show positive results from around 12-14 days after ovulation, so it may be worth re-testing in a few days if you initially get a negative result

  2. You are breastfeeding - once cycles return in the postpartum period, it’s common for there to be fluctuations in cycle lengths as your body returns to regular ovulation

  3. You have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - irregular and late periods are a common feature of this condition. (NOTE! This doesn’t have to be this way - check out my ridiculously extensive post on addressing PCOS naturally to restore healthy, regular periods here)

  4. You are entering peri-menopause or menopause - changes to the regularity of your menstrual cycles are common in the transition to menopause which usually occurs around ages 45-60

  5. You recently stopped taking hormonal birth control - some women find that it takes several months for their natural hormone levels to return to baseline after coming off a hormonal contraceptive that suppresses ovulation (like the oral contraceptive pill, implants like Implanon, and injectables like Depo Provera). If you had regular cycles before going on hormonal contraception, your cycles will likely return to their regular pattern within 3-12 months. If this is not the case, you may have an underlying hormonal imbalance - check out what to do about that in my blog post here

  6. You have a thyroid condition - thyroid imbalances, particularly low thyroid conditions like Hashimotos can impair or delay regular ovulation. If you know or suspect you are suffering from a thyroid condition, visit your doctor for further evaluation and advice
If you don’t fit any of these underlying causes above, the most likely reason your period is taking its sweet time to arrive is stress.

How does stress make your period late?

Heightened stress levels cause an increase in the production of stress hormones like cortisol.

Short bursts of stress hormones (like when you need to jump out of the way of oncoming traffic or a door slams loudly) are not major issues for your hormonal balance.

After the initial shock, stress hormone levels tend to return to baseline fairly quickly.

Ongoing, chronic stress (like that low-grade stress caused by deadlines at work) can cause a ripple effect to the delicate balance of your reproductive hormones which are responsible for keeping your cycles regular and symptom-free.

Stress can lead to changes in the length of your period, as well as a whole host of other hormonal symptoms like PMS, painful periods, acne breakouts and fatigue.

Delayed or missing periods aren’t truly related to your period arriving late, but rather late ovulation.

Heightened stress causes the body to delay ovulating until a safer time arrives.

Whilst a late period is anything but reassuring, it is actually a sign of our body trying to keep us safe.

During periods of extreme stress, conceiving a child and adding more responsibility to our life is deemed an unsafe possibility.

Your body has the ability to shut down or delay ovulation until a time that it feels your environment is safe again.

This might be a few days or weeks, or it may be several months or years depending on the nature of your stress.

While we’re on the topic of “stress” & late periods…

Let’s break down some of the most common triggers of stress which can delay or halt ovulation (and hence your period).

It’s easy to think of psychological stressors in our lives like deadlines, difficult relationships, arguments and caring for small children.

However, there are many other forms of stress which can wreak havoc on our cycle, even without you feeling overly “stressed”.

The most common forms of non-psychological stress which cause delayed or missing periods are:

1. Under Eating Can Cause Late Periods Due To Stress

This is incredibly common, particularly for women who may consciously or subconsciously feel the need to choose smaller portions or restrict particular macronutrients in order to maintain a certain bodyweight.

We are inundated by advice from every social media channel convincing us that low carb/keto/ intermittent fasting/bulletproof coffee/veganism is the answer to our weight goals. The truth is, your body needs enough calories, and enough of all of the major macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) to feel safe and ovulate regularly.

When we begin to restrict calories overall, or a particular food group (commonly carbohydrates or fat), our body perceives this is a “stress”.

In other words, food shortage, whether forced or intentional, is a sign that there isn’t enough to go around.

This is one of the major reasons your body will shut down or delay ovulation as food shortage means it’s not a good time to get pregnant and grow a baby.

Get really honest with yourself about whether or not you are eating enough food, and enough of each of the macronutrients, to support your body in all that you ask it to do every day. 

You don’t have to be underweight to be under-eating.

2. Over-exercising can increase stress levels and cause missed periods

Similar to under-eating, over-exercising is a major cause of missing or delayed ovulation and periods. 

Our body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a predator and you going to that bootcamp class at 5am every morning.

When the physical load required for your body is too intense (or perhaps you haven’t increased your calorie intake to match new exercise levels), your body may respond by shutting down ovulation until a safer time.

If you relate to this scenario, consider swapping some of your regular exercise routine for something more restorative like yoga, slow walks or pilates.

Undereating and over-exercising are two key underlying causes of the condition hypothalamic amenorrhea (where ovulation stops due to a miscommunication from the brain).

3. Nutrient deficiencies or chronic disease

Underling nutrient deficiencies or chronic disease are a third reason your body may decide to delay or halt ovulation, making your period late. 

When these conditions go unaddressed, your body can perceive this as yet another form of stress.

Being malnourished or suffering from an unmanaged condition like an autoimmune disease (particularly Hashimoto's thyroiditis) are common reasons for irregular cycles or missing periods.

If your period has been missing or irregular for some time, it is always a good idea to visit your primary healthcare provider for a full checkup including lab work. Some blood tests to discuss with your doctor include:
  • Iron studies

  • Thyroid panel

  • Prolactin

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone)

Top Tips To Avoid Stress-Delayed Periods

1. Manage Everyday Stress

Much of the daily stress in our lives is non-negotiable.

It’s not as simple as quitting your job, saying no to family responsibilities and spending your days relaxing (although sometimes that would be nice!).

Instead, look at how you react to stressors that come up in your life.

The old saying “life is 10% what happens and 90% how you react” is a helpful one to remember here.

What self-care practices could you implement into your daily routine to help you improve your response to stress?

 Some of my favourites include:
  • Morning or evening guided meditation - there are so many free apps out there with a huge variety of meditations to choose from

  • Try supplementing Ashwagandha - There is strong evidence to suggest that supplementing Ashwagandha can be a great option for reducing stress levels naturally. Make sure you choose a nice organic Ashwagandha like Nourished Calm + Destress.

  • Relaxing bath or foot bath with magnesium salts (also known as epsom salts). These salts are rich in the essential mineral magnesium which helps our bodies combat stress as well as helps our muscles to soften (tight neck after a stressful day at work, anyone?)

  • Yoga, stretching or breathing exercises - these all encourage long, slow breaths which helps your body switch out of ‘fight and flight’ response (where stress hormone levels are at a high) to the ‘rest and digest’ response (where your body can prioritise digesting food and replenishing)

  • Switching off screens an hour before bed - phone included! Try reading a book under soft lighting, or lighting some candles and doing a guided meditation to help your body wind down

2. Learn To Say "No" To Reduce Stress

Many people have a tendency to overcommit and people-please (I find this to be the case especially with more nurturing women!).

Learn how to say no to activities and events that don’t light you up or aren’t essential.

As a rule, you want to walk away from gatherings and catch ups feeling energised rather than drained.

If certain relationships are not serving you, consider if these need to remain in your life.

Surround yourself with people who light you up and fill your cup.

3. Ask for help

This is a tough one, but so important!

Acknowledging where you need extra support in your life can feel strange when you pride yourself on being independent, but most people find those around them are more than willing to step in when asked!

4. Address Your Sleep Hygiene

Poor sleep can increase cortisol levels, worsen fatigue and create a reliance on substances like caffeine and alcohol.

These all fuel a worsened stress response and late periods. 

Set yourself a regular bedtime and stick to it!

You will notice a huge difference simply by increasing the time you spend in bed.

If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, try the 60 minutes of no-screen-time discussed above and consider a guided meditation right before sleep. 

Additionally, make sure your room is as dark as possible (blockout blinds or an eye mask are great options).

First thing in the morning, open your curtains and allow your eyes to receive natural light (but don’t stare directly into the sun!). 

This allows your body clock to reset and will help you feel more energised throughout the day (hello less caffeine cravings!).

5. Try Supplementing Ashwagandha

It might be worth trying a natural, organic Ashwagandha supplement to support your needs.

Studies (see list of references) indicate that supplementing Ashwagandha can have strong benefits in managing anxiety and stress levels.

Wrapping Up On Irregular Cycles & Late Periods

So there you have it, the top reasons why your period hasn’t arrived this month. 

As frustrating as MIA periods can be, it can be helpful to remember that your body isn’t trying to work against you.

She has an important message she is trying to communicate about how you are taking care of her. 

Your body doesn’t have words and uses symptoms like missing periods, PMS and acne breakouts to let you know something is out of balance and needs to be addressed.

Take a step back and ask yourself where you can support your body and cycle. 

By looking for the root cause of your symptoms and giving your body what it needs, you can restore healthy regular cycles. You’ve got this!

Now it’s your turn - have you dealt with missing or late periods before? 

What helped you find balance again? 

Have you ever experienced periods that stop then start again? Let me know your experience below.

Sending happy, regular periods your way,

Free 3 min Quiz 

PCOS? Which Type Do You Have?

TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read) Common Late Period FAQs

What causes delayed periods?

 The most common causes for your period to be late are: stress, pregnancy, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), peri-menopause, menopause, recently stopping hormonal birth control and thyroid conditions.

How late is normal for my period?

 The amount of time your period can be late varies depending on your normal cycle length. 

If you cycles are usually regular, a delay of more than a few days may signal something is out of balance, whereas if you commonly experience irregular cycles (such as in PCOS) it may be normal for your periods to arrive late.

Can you miss a period and not be pregnant?

 While pregnancy is the most common cause for missed periods, there are many other reasons your period may not be on time this month. 

One big contributor is stress as this can both delay and halt ovulation, which in turn makes your period late or disappear.

Can stress delay your period?

 Ongoing, chronic stress (like that low-grade stress caused by deadlines at work) can cause a ripple effect to the delicate balance of your reproductive hormones which are responsible for keeping your cycles regular and symptom-free. 

Stress can lead to changes in the length of your period, as well as a whole host of other hormonal symptoms like PMS, painful periods, acne breakouts and fatigue.

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About The Author - Tamika Woods

Tamika Woods | PCOS Author | Nourished Natural Health
Tamika Woods, Clinical Nutritionist (B.HS; B.Ed), Bestselling Author

For a decade, Tamika battled chronic acne, irregular cycles, mood swings, hair loss, painful periods, severe digestive issues and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). You name it - she's been there!

Tam was finally able to clear her skin, regulate her cycle, be free of period pain and fall pregnant naturally with her daughter in 2020. It took Tam 10 years and tens of thousands of dollars in tertiary education to get the answers she needed to get better.

She didn’t want other women to suffer as long as she did which is why she has dedicated her life to helping women in the same position as she was.

Tam helps women interpret what their bodies are trying to communicate through frustrating symptoms, and then develop a step-by-step roadmap to find balance again. She's here to help you get on track!

Tamika Woods is the author of the Amazon best seller PCOS Repair Protocol. She holds a Bachelor of Health Science degree (Nutritional Medicine) as well as a Bachelor of Education, graduating with Honours in both.

She is a certified Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Educator and a certified member of the Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA).

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