What are the Causes of Menstrual Delay?

What is Menstrual Delay?

Every woman without any underlying health issues experiences a menstrual cycle, typically occurring every 21 to 35 days or, on average, once every 28 days. A menstrual period usually lasts between 2 to 7 days. The harmony of hormones in the body is the primary factor shaping the regularity of the menstrual cycle. Deviations from this cycle, lasting a minimum of 7 days, are termed as menstrual delay. To discuss menstrual delay, the onset of menstruation must be delayed for at least 7 days.

Research indicates that almost every woman experiences menstrual irregularities at certain times. Experiencing delays more frequently than 2 or 3 times within a year could be indicative of serious health issues. While irregularities occurring 2-3 times within a year can be considered normal, if it happens more than 3 times, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional to examine the underlying reasons. For individuals experiencing menstruation for the first time, the situation may be slightly different. It is quite normal to experience irregularities during the process until the menstrual cycle is fully established.

Various factors such as environmental influences, stress, psychological factors, seasonal transitions, hormonal conditions, or the use of different medications can contribute to minor deviations.

With pregnancy, menstrual bleeding ceases, and the cessation of bleeding for 7 days or longer is defined as menstrual delay.

Causes of Menstrual Delay

There are several different factors that could lead to menstrual delay. The most well-known ones include:

Pregnancy: It’s one of the primary reasons for menstrual delay. Women who engage in active sexual activity without protection may experience menstrual delay due to pregnancy.

Intense Exercise Programs: If you increase your exercise intensity while decreasing your daily calorie intake, you may face issues with menstrual delay.

Chronic Illnesses: Chronic illnesses lasting more than a year or having a lifelong impact can directly affect menstrual irregularities.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Excessive production of male hormones by cysts on the ovaries can cause menstrual delay. While the excess male hormone leads to increased cysts, the cysts trigger more male hormones, continuing this vicious cycle. Treatment for this involves medication.

Weight Loss or Gain: If your weight is below 10% of your normal weight, your body’s functioning changes, negatively affecting ovulation. Women who are overweight or even obese may also experience problems with menstrual delay. Excess weight leads to hormonal changes, triggering menstrual delay.

Breastfeeding, Postpartum Period: During breastfeeding and the postpartum period, individuals may not have their periods or may experience various menstrual delays. Once breastfeeding ends, the menstrual cycle typically returns to normal.

Birth Control Pills: Women using birth control pills often experience menstrual irregularities. It may take up to 6 months for menstrual irregularities to normalize after discontinuing birth control pills taken at regular intervals.

Stress Factor: The hypothalamus region of the brain regulates the menstrual cycle. Situations experienced during periods of stress affect the brain and lead to menstrual delay.

Thyroid Disorders (Goiter): Having Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism can also cause menstrual delays.

Early Menopause: Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 55 in women. Perimenopause, which occurs at age 40 or even earlier, leads to decreased egg count and menstrual irregularities.

The most common cause of menstrual delays is pregnancy. Stress, unexpected changes in daily life, or transitional periods between seasons can also contribute to menstrual delays. Major traumas and surgeries create stress both psychologically and hormonally for the patient. Therefore, menstrual delay is very common in the early stages after surgery.

Using birth control pills, contraceptive injections, and the side effects of the hormones in hormonal rods applied to the arm are also significant factors.

If you’re experiencing menstrual delay, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare professional to undergo health checks.

Symptoms of Menstrual Delay

  • Experiencing intense abdominal and lower back pain,
  • Having the potential to become pregnant,
  • A home pregnancy test showing a positive result,
  • Missing two consecutive regular periods without knowing the underlying cause,
  • Not having menstruation until the age of 16,
  • Not having breast development or pubic hair growth until the age of 14 are symptoms of menstrual delay.
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