We’ve all had those moments of fear, of dread, of complete fall-to-the-ground-and-can’t-get-up earth-shattering anxiety. It happens to me every so often when I see an ex in public, or when I think about all the people who still support Donald Trump, or when I miss my period.
As a generation that grew up on blockbuster hits like Riding in Cars with Boys and Juno, missed periods tend to make our minds jump to the first and most life-altering reason: holy shit, am I pregnant?
As women, we do not take this worry lightly. In fact, I would say it weighs us down more than a 10-piece McNugget meal after a night out on the town. We are worriers because ultimately if something comes out of us, it will be our responsibility—like, approximately 18 years of responsibility. I can’t even keep my iPhone screen in good shape for more than six months.
So we turn to our girlfriends and our mothers, our sisters and our baristas to ask, “What the heck could it be?!” The ideas come in: maybe you’re just syncing with your friends (debunked), maybe you miscounted your cycle (false, I change my Facebook photo every time my cycle ends), maybe you’ve been drinking too much caffeine (reason #1 never to ask your barista for late period advice).
After sitting down, and taking a breath and turning on the new Solange album, reason returns. Of course there are other things that could be making you late:
Did you just realize that this will be the final season of Girls on HBO? Don’t know what to do with yourself? Feeling panicked? Stress can cause your period to be shorter, longer, or even bring it to a rattling halt. A good way to deal with this is by practicing active mindfulness, taking on more physical activity, and of course, finding a new HBO hit series to indulge in.
Good ol’ hormones, confusing your mind and body, because hey, if they won’t what will? Because birth control contains hormones, and hormones are what sets your period into action, birth control can affect the regularity and timing of your period.
Been a bit frisky lately? If you’ve taken Plan B, your period can be up to a week late, or early. It can also cause spotting and irregular bleeding until your body adjusts, making your brain jump to all sorts of crazy conclusions, like, maybe the dress really was gold and Harambe is alive.
Major Weight Loss
Did you just start seriously hitting the gym? Being an incredibly active person can put your body into overdrive and mess up your menstrual calendar, especially if you lose more than 10% of your body weight. Eating disorders can have the same effect. Check in with your doctor, or your girl tribe, to brainstorm some healthy ways to stay within your BMI.
Getting back to the McNuggets. Been spending a lot of nights out with your #bossbabes that lead to late night snacks? Excessive weight gain can also play a role in your period running behind. When you’re packing on pounds, your body tends to create an excess amount of estrogen—which basically just confuses your body and decreases ovulation.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Oh good! Another condition we get to endure as women! Polycystic Ovary Syndrome accounts for a lot of of cases of missed periods. This endocrine disorder makes your hormones all unbalanced, and causes small cysts in your ovaries. So how do you know if that’s what’s up? Check for common symptoms: irregular hair growth, acne, and missing periods. It’s kind of like you’re living the movie 17 Again, except with less Zac Efron and more cysts. And if that’s the case, you need to see a doctor.
Ultimately, give it a bit of time, and try not to let a missed period rule your thoughts. If that doesn’t do the trick, head in to your nearest clinic or healthcare provider to get down to the nitty gritty. And before you hold it against your ovaries forever, just remember—we’ve all been fashionably late before.
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