Delayed Periods: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

By Dr. Ankita Chandna in Obstetrics And Gynaecology

Jun 07 , 2023 | 4 min read


Delayed periods can be a cause of concern for many women. While pregnancy is the most common reason for missed or late periods, there are various other factors that can contribute to this condition. Understanding the causes, recognizing the symptoms, undergoing proper diagnosis, and receiving appropriate treatment is essential for managing delayed periods effectively.

Let's look into the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for delayed periods.

What causes irregular periods?

A woman may naturally miss her periods due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, or menopause. Apart from these, amenorrhea or delayed periods could have several causes.

  • Primary amenorrhea results from underdeveloped ovaries or structural problems of the woman's reproductive organs.

  • Secondary amenorrhea may be caused by hormonal dysfunction of glands such as the thyroid gland or pituitary gland. These glands produce the hormones required for the proper functioning of the ovaries and regular menstruation.

    Some of the possible causes of amenorrhea include -

What are the symptoms of delayed periods?

Most women experience delayed periods sometime in their life.

  • Missed periods for more than 35 days.

  • Consistently long periods lasting more than a week.

  • Excessive bleeding or spotting between periods, after sex, during pregnancy, or after menopause.

  • Fever and severe pain during periods.

  • Unexpected hair growth, abnormal vaginal discharge, or odour.

  • Unexplained weight loss or gain.

  • New onset of acne

Natural hormonal changes

During puberty, the woman's body undergoes several hormonal changes. These changes regulate ovulation and menstruation. Women experience hormonal changes during pregnancy, breastfeeding, perimenopause, and menopause. These are all times when a woman may expect delayed or erratic periods.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), and female hormones such as Oestrogen and Progesterone are responsible for regular menses in women. Therefore, any disruption of the hormonal balance or an increase in the male hormone Androgen may cause delayed or irregular periods in women.

How to get Regular Periods Naturally?

  • Exercise: Exercise offers numerous health benefits that can aid your menstrual cycle. 

  • Yoga: It has been demonstrated to be a successful treatment for a variety of menstruation problems. Yoga has also been demonstrated to increase the quality of life by reducing menstrual pain and mental symptoms connected with menstruation, such as depression and anxiety, especially in women with primary dysmenorrhea.

  • Check your vitamin deficiency: Ensure that you don't have low levels of Vitamin D or B12. If low, begin taking natural supplements.

  • Maintain a healthy diet: Introduce cinnamon, ginger, and apple cider vinegar into your diet and avoid junk food.

Starting Birth Control

Birth control medication helps avoids unwanted pregnancy by preventing ovulation. This is done by modulating the hormone levels in the body. However, you may not have regular periods for a few months when you start to have birth control pills. Talk to your gynaecologist about your expected changes. In addition, if you experience any unusual symptoms when starting any new birth control medication, it is important to seek medical attention.

Stopping Birth Control

When you stop birth control medication, your body may need a few months to adjust to the new hormone levels. Typically, you may start bleeding within two weeks, but this is not a normal period. The next menstrual cycle is your regular period. If it is delayed, you must talk to your doctor.

When should I see a doctor?

  • It is usual for a young girl who has started her periods (around the age of 9) early to experience a delayed period for a few months.

  • If you are above the age of 16 and have not started your menstrual cycles, you should consult a gynaecologist.

  • A woman who has been menstruating regularly but has missed three periods in a row and has a negative pregnancy test must consult a gynaecologist and discuss delayed periods treatment.

  • Women over the age of 45 experiencing delayed periods also require medical attention and proper diagnosis, as it can be a sign of perimenopause. 

Delayed periods – Diagnosis

Most women experience irregular periods and may even skip a period when they first start menstruating. They may also have delayed periods during perimenopause.

You may need to provide your doctor with a detailed medical history, including –

  • Date of your last menstrual period

  • Symptoms of discomfort, if any

  • Any lifestyle changes and modifications such as diet, exercise routine etc.

  • Any medication you take

  • Information about your emotional health (anxiety, stress, etc.)

Your doctor may perform a pelvic exam and recommend one or more of the following tests –

  • Blood hormone tests

  • Abdominal ultrasound

  • Other imaging tests, such as a CT or an MRI

Delayed periods treatment

Amenorrhea or delayed period is treated by diagnosing and rectifying the underlying cause.

Some of the changes that your doctor may recommend may include –

  • Dietary changes

  • Modifying exercise regimen

  • Stress reduction through meditation, yoga etc.

  • Hormonal treatment through medication

  • Surgery (cyst removal)

  • Treatment protocols to treat cancer (depending on diagnosis)

  • Treatment of thyroid dysfunction

  • Steroid treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia and Cushing's Syndrome

  • Treatment for PCOS and anovulation

Delayed periods can be innocuous or point to more serious underlying conditions that need treatment. Therefore, getting timely medical attention, proper diagnosis, and treatment is very important to regulate your menstrual periods.

The gynaecologists at Max Healthcare are experts at treating amenorrhea, infertility, hormonal issues, and associated conditions. Seeking medical attention and having a support system is essential to combat all physical and mental health issues associated with delayed periods.