We’ve all been there… That dreaded time of the month where all you want is your sweatpants, a bag of chocolate, and your couch. Then one day, you find yourself wondering when that awful week will come around again… As much as you hate it, you do need it to come… right? You don’t want to admit it but you’re late and you know what that could mean… but hold on, let’s not jump to conclusions just yet. There are a lot of variables that go into being late. So let’s take a step back and define what a period actually is, what the symptoms are, and what causes periods to be late, so we can navigate this together. Afterall, knowledge is power, and we want you to be equipped with the knowledge to take care of yourself and your needs.
Why is my period late, and what is a period, exactly?
A menstrual period is the shedding of the uterine lining that happens every month in a woman’s reproductive years. This process is controlled by hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle, which typically lasts between 21 to 35 days. During this time, the body goes through various changes that can cause physical and emotional symptoms. 
We know you know them… Some common period symptoms include cramps, bloating, fatigue, acne, headaches, mood swings, and breast tenderness. Of course, these symptoms vary from woman to woman and can be experienced in varying degrees. The more you know about period symptoms, the better equipped you’ll be to manage them and give your body what you need. 
How long do periods last?
The length of a period can vary from woman to woman, but they typically range from three to seven days. Some women experience periods that last longer or shorter than the average length. The factors that can affect the length of a period include age, stress levels, hormonal imbalances, and underlying medical conditions. 
For some women, a menstrual period can be a painful and uncomfortable experience, while others may hardly notice it. Regardless of the experience, it’s important to keep track of the duration of your period and any changes in your menstrual cycle.
Period tracking apps can be a helpful resource to predict when your period is supposed to come and they can be helpful to recognize any menstrual irregularities.
If you notice any irregularities, such as a period that lasts longer than usual, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider. They can help determine if there are any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the change in your menstrual cycle.
Understanding how long a period lasts and what is normal for your body can help you take good care of yourself and maintain good reproductive health.
So what are the causes of a late period?
A late period is defined as a period that is delayed by more than 5 days. Late periods can be caused by a variety of factors, including stress, changes in weight or exercise, hormonal imbalances, and certain medical conditions such as PCOS.
Additionally, some medications such as birth control pills can also cause a delay in periods. If you are taking any medication, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any potential side effects. 
If your period is consistently late or irregular, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.
Stress and its impact on periods
Stress can have a significant impact on menstrual cycles and may cause missed or late periods. This is because stress can affect the hormonal balance in the body, which can disrupt the menstrual cycle.
If you are experiencing stress, it is important to find healthy ways to manage it, such as exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist. Reducing stress can help regulate your menstrual cycle and improve your overall health.
If you are consistently experiencing stress and it is impacting your daily life, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to receive appropriate treatment.
Changes in weight and exercise
Changes in weight and exercise can also impact menstrual cycles. Rapid weight loss or gain, as well as excessive exercise, can disrupt the hormonal balance in the body, leading to missed or late periods.
If you have experienced significant weight loss or gain, or have changed your exercise routine, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine the impact on your menstrual cycle and receive appropriate treatment.
It is important to maintain a healthy weight and exercise routine to ensure proper menstrual health. 
Hormonal imbalances and their impact on periods
Hormonal imbalances can impact menstrual cycles and may cause missed or late periods. This is because hormones play a key role in regulating the menstrual cycle.
If you have a hormonal imbalance such as PCOS, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to receive appropriate treatment. Treatment may include medication or lifestyle changes to regulate the menstrual cycle. 
Medical conditions and their impact on periods
Certain medical conditions such as thyroid disorders or uterine fibroids can also impact menstrual cycles and may cause missed or late periods.
If you have a medical condition that is impacting your menstrual cycle, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to receive appropriate treatment.
Treatment may include medication, surgery, or other interventions to manage the underlying condition and regulate the menstrual cycle. 
So could it be pregnancy?
For many women, the most common reason for a late or missed period is pregnancy. If you’ve had sex recently and missed your period, taking a pregnancy test is an important next step.
Searching online and talking to your friends can only get you so far. A medical verification of pregnancy is important to determine whether or not you’re pregnant. That’s why CareNet offers free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, so you can get the answers you need.