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My period is late. What should I do?

If your period is late, it can be an uncomfortable and even stressful time. While there are several possible causes for a late period, some of which are entirely normal, it is important to understand your options and how to proceed. If you aren’t planning on having more children, and you already have a few causing chaos, the idea of another one can add to stress levels (!).

Alternatively, if you don’t have kids, and weren’t planning on them, stress levels can rise when you are late.

Late periods happen for many reasons other than pregnancy. It can be a result of hormonal imbalances, lifestyle changes, or medical conditions.

But what period delay is normal, and when should you start to worry?

Generally, a delay of a few days up to two months is just normal if there are significant changes in your lifestyle or if there are stressors that might have caused it. If the delay continues for more than five days, that is the time that a period is considered to be officially late. If you go three months without a period, this is called paused periods.

If you are several days on delay and you have had unprotected sex, the first thing that you will suspect is that you are pregnant. In any case, there are several things you can do if your period is delayed.

Here are some tips for what to do if your period is late

Here are a few ideas of what to think about if you are beyond those 5 days due. And if you are a teen reading this, don’t forget to check out our period book on the site – it is totally free!

Take a pregnancy test

This is the most important step to take when your period is late. You can purchase a home pregnancy test at most pharmacies or visit your doctor or clinic to take a test. If the test is positive, it is important to schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options.

Consider your stress levels

Consider whether you are under stress or have experienced major changes in your life. Stress and changes in routine can affect your menstrual cycle and cause your period to be late. Try to relax and focus on taking care of yourself. Exercise, get plenty of rest, and eat healthy foods.

Think about retaking your test a few days later

Third, consider retaking a pregnancy test in a few days if you have a late period negative pregnancy test. If your period still hasn’t arrived, you should make an appointment with your doctor to discuss any potential underlying causes. Your doctor can also provide you with further advice on how to proceed.

Have you lost weight?

If you are watching your weight, it is most likely that your period will be delayed because of the changes in your body. People suffering from eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia also experience this because there is not enough body fat to stop ovulation.

What birth control do you use?

Women who use birth control pills often have their periods delayed. This is because the pill contains oestrogen and progestin hormones that will prevent the release of eggs. Once birth control pills are stopped, it may take up to three months to have a regular period cycle.

Do you have underlying health conditions?

Do you have any other health conditions that might affect your body? Chronic diseases like diabetes can affect your period. Since there are changes in the blood sugar count, there is also a change in the hormones, which tends to make your period irregular. Other chronic conditions affecting your menstrual cycle are congenital adrenal hyperplasia, Asherman’s syndrome, celiac disease, and Cushing syndrome. If you are worried about anything, do see your GP, or medical practitioner of course.

Keep calm

Finally, it is important to remember that while a late period can be worrying, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. In many cases, a late period is nothing to worry about and can be attributed to lifestyle changes, stress, or even hormonal fluctuations.

However, if your period is more than a few days late or you experience any other symptoms, it is important to seek medical advice. We aren’t a medical site, of course, so these tips are provided as guidance, and not medical advice, make sure you see a GP, or medical practitioner if you are worried.

We hope that this is a useful article – if you are looking for other articles on women’s and teen’s health, do check these out as well:

Women and teen health on KiddyCharts

Here are some more articles about health in women and teens - check them out now!

Or alternatively, some of these articles as well:

Women's health articles from off KiddyCharts

Here are some more ideas for articles on Women's Health to take a look at; including some on the menopause, which we NEED to talk more about.

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Take care,


This is a collaborative post.

Helen is a mum to two, social media consultant, and website editor; and this site is (we think) the only Social Enterprise parenting magazine! Since giving up being a business analyst when juggling travel, work and kids proved too complicated, she founded KiddyCharts so she could be with her kids, and use those grey cells at the same time. KiddyCharts has reach of over 1.1million across social and the site. The blog works with big family brands (including travel) to help promote their services, as well as offering free resources to parents of kids under 10. It gives 51%+ profits to Reverence for Life, who fund a number of important initiatives in Africa, including bringing running water and basic equipment to a school in Tanzania. Helen has worked as a digital marketing consultant (IDM qualified) with various organisations, including Channel Mum, Truprint, Talk to Mums, and Micro Scooters. She loves to be creative in the brand campaigns she works on. Get in touch TODAY!

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