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Why is my period late? Understanding the Causes of Menstrual Irregularities

Whether your period is early or late, there are a myriad of explanations as to why yourĀ  period cycle might be slightly thrown off.Ā During these times it can be worrying, and often stressful, as you can't predict when it might arrive.Ā 

But, don'tĀ panic, this is really common!Ā 

It can be a big help to understand how the cycle works to ease your worries - after all, stress and worry can delay your period even further - we'll go into this later.

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Understanding your cycle

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Understanding the basics of your cycle is a great starting point to help you spot any patterns or irregularities.Ā Everyone's menstrual cycle is different and even if youĀ have regular periods, it's common toĀ experience the occasional fluctuation, thisĀ is usually nothing to worry about.Ā 

But, to break it down...

The length of your average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but cycles from 23 to 35 days are also absolutely normal.

There are four main phases to the menstrual cycle:Ā 

Menstruation - this is where the uterus sheds its lining, resulting in menstrual bleeding. This usually lasts around 3-7 days.Ā 

Follicular PhaseĀ - follicles in the ovaries begin to develop. One follicle matures and releases an egg during ovulation.

OvulationĀ around halfway through the menstrual cycle, the mature egg is released from the ovary and travels down the fallopian tube. This is the most fertile phase of the menstrual cycle.

Luteal PhaseĀ happens after ovulation, where the ruptured follicle produces progesterone to prepare the uterus for potential implantation of a fertilised egg.

If fertilisation has not occurred, your hormone levels will decline leading to the onset of menstruation and the start of a new cycle.

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Factors That Can Delay Your Period



The first thing that often comes to mind whenĀ a period is late is pregnancy. However, that isnā€™t the only factor that can cause a late period. If youā€™re anxiously awaiting your next period and feel that a potential pregnancy could be a possibility, the best solution is to pick up a test to put your mind at ease.Ā 

Aside from that...Ā Ā 

There are many factors that canĀ disrupt your menstrualĀ cycle. Two common factors are:Ā 

StressĀ 

Stress is a very common culprit as it can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.

High levels of stress can delay ovulation, in turn causing a late period. This can create aĀ particularly tense situation if you are anxious about a late period, no doubt causing theseĀ stress levels to rise even more and make things worse.

Learning stress management techniques can be a big help in these scenarios, meditation, yoga, or relaxation exercises can really help to mitigate the impact of stress on your hormone levels.

ExerciseĀ 

Whilst regular exercise has a huge amount of positive benefits to your overall health, excessive exercise and over exerting yourself can have the opposite effect.

So, ensure that you are fuelling your body properly for your workouts (check out this blog for more information on what to eat throughout your menstrual cycle). It's also important toĀ take enough rest days in between.

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Other period disrupting factors include:Ā 

  • Changes in weight
  • Medications
  • Travel
  • SicknessĀ Ā 
  • PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome)
  • EndometriosisĀ 

In some cases, a late period may be a sign of an underlying medical condition that requires attention. If your period is consistently late or irregular, or if you experience other concerning symptoms, it's essential to consult a healthcare provider.

For more information about irregular periods, check out Irregular Periods - What They Mean & How to Deal With Them

So what should I do if my period is late?

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Ultimately, a late period can be caused by a range of factors - but they are common and usuallyĀ shouldnā€™t be a cause for concern.

We would recommend keeping a pair of our Period PantiesĀ so that when your period does show up youā€™re already prepared and wonā€™t have the added stress of being caught off-guard. You won't have to worry about leaks, Ruby Life Period Underwear have an absorption of 50ml (which is the equivalent of three tampons!).

With this purchaseĀ you can be assured that you are alleviatingĀ a worry of another menstruatorĀ in the world, with every sale of Ruby Life Underwear, 2% of the revenue goes to the Learning Centre nursery based in Kisumu. Learning Centre is run by Ruby Cup's long timer partners, Golden Girls Foundation.Ā 

If you've never tried period underwear out yet, check out Period Pants: Everything You Need to Know

Now,Ā 

Try to remember that slight variation in your cycle is entirely normal, your body might be adapting and responding to external factors and your period will show up.Ā 

But:Ā 

If youā€™re noticing persistent irregularities, unusually heavy or prolonged periods, severe pain or irregular bleeding you should always speak to your doctor to check for any underlying causes.Ā 

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