ZocdocAnswersWhy was my period 20 days late?

Question

Why was my period 20 days late?

I'm 27 and been off the birth control pill for about 8 months. My periods are normally pretty regular. I have an app that tracks them and I normally get it within a day of when the app says I will. I had unprotected sex before the last period a day before the app said my ovulation day was, but did use the withdrawal method. About 10 days later I spotted and thought it could possibly be implantation bleeding. Then my period was 20 days late. During that time I took about 5 pregnancy tests and all were negative. Why was my period late? Should I be worried something is wrong with me?

Answer

There are several different possible explanations for why your period may have been late. If this continues to be a problem, then it would be a great idea to see your primary care doctor or your OB GYN doctor for additional workup. One possibility is that your period may have been late because of stress, fatigue, an acute illness, or a change in your sleep patterns, and all of these can affect the hormone signals from the brain to the ovaries that regulate the period. Another possibility is that you may have been pregnant, but that you subsequently had a miscarriage of the pregnancy. Very early miscarriages are extremely common, and they may have no overt symptoms (like heavy bleeding or cramping) other than causing the period to be delayed. A very early pregnancy may be too small to cause the pregnancy test to be positive. There are numerous other hormonal causes of delayed periods, such as problems with the thyroid gland or polycystic ovarian syndrome; however, these don't typically need to be looked for unless the irregular periods are occurring frequently, at which point you should see your doctor. It's a good idea to book an appointment your physician!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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