Sat | Dec 9, 2023

I'm late, again

Published:Friday | November 9, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Are you late this month, again? I bet you're thinking you're pregnant. But that's only one possibility. Gynaecologist and obstetrician Dr Nastassia Tate explains there's more to a late period than you might be thinking.

No, you don't have to get agitated. Women experience delayed periods for a number of reasons. For one, this could be a direct result of chronic illnesses, for instance thyroid gland disorders or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). The thyroid gland is instrumental in the smooth flow of your monthly menstrual cycle, controlling the production of hormones that bring on your Aunt Flo. PCOS on the other hand, stops you from producing and releasing eggs.

A change in of lifestyle, too, can cause your menses to be several days or months late, especially if you're stressing. Rapid weight loss and gain affects menstruation in the way that having anorexia (low body weight) or being obese can. These factors lead to an abnormal secretion of hormones oestrogen and progesterone, the chemicals that collaboratively work ensure your 'time of the month' is on schedule.

"There are several more reasons for this. Birth controls are big triggers, too, because they prevent ovulation like PCOS. And early menopause can have an effect on the menstrual cycle. It reduces the amount of and quality of the follicles of the ovaries," she explained.




To truly determine if you're having irregularities with your menses, you must be aware of the length of your cycle. It's not the same for all women, but a 21- to 35-day pattern is considered the norm in the medical fraternity. Dr Tate advises that upon missing your monthly flow, you should take a pregnancy test to know if that's the cause.

"If that's not it and you still haven't got your period for an extended time - for example, three to six months - you should visit your doctor. An evaluation by your gynaecologist is necessary to rule out all pathological causes," the doctor explained.

She added:"Irregular menses may indicate an underlying cause that can further predispose one to many chronic illnesses and even endometrial cancer. It can also affect your ability to get pregnant. So, seek treatment because it's necessary to mitigate these likelihoods."