Last updated on July 26th, 2018 at 05:49 pm
Question: Why is my period a week late?
Yes, it’s normal that you will panic whats wrong with your body if seven days have passed and you are yet to notice pre-period signs.
Your behavior, appearance, and vagina typically change before the start of period, and if you are late, and there is no sign of period approaching, it’s normal you will be concerned.
While you will be quick to think something serious is wrong with you, it may just be due to a consequence of unprotected sexual intercourse you had 2 or 3 weeks ago.
After an unprotected sexual intercourse (that is, without a condom or birth control), you are at risk of getting pregnant.
Here’s an e-mail I received from one of my readers
Hi Dr. Dunn
It has been very stressful weeks for me as I work in a construction firm. I’m quite worried why my period has been delayed for 1 week now. I had sex about 3 to 4 weeks ago, and I’m yet to see my period. Is it possible my late period is due to pregnancy?
It’s normal that after an unprotected sexual intercourse, you will worry about getting pregnant, especially if you miss your period for a week.
While this is true, there are still other reasons that may affect your body hormones and subsequently, stop your period from coming when due.
Severe stress, weight loss, anxiety, Anorexia Nervosa, excessive weight loss or weight gain, perimenopause (if you are older than 40 years), diabetes and unstable thyroid hormones will cause your period to be delayed.
This guide explains reasons for 1 week late period, signs that mean you are pregnant, when it’s right to take a pregnancy test and when to worry.
Why is my period a week late?
One common mistake a lot of young women make is not charting your menstrual cycle and learning whats normal for them.
It true that most women will have a 28-day menstrual cycle, but you could have a longer or shorter menstrual cycle length, and it’s not abnormal. Normal menstrual cycle length can vary and may last for 21 to 35 days.
Simply put, your menstrual cycle length is the number of days between two of your menstrual periods.
For instance, if you last saw your menstrual period on the 4th of January, and then, your next menstruation started on the 30th of January, it means you have a 26-day menstrual cycle.
If you do not get your timing right, it could cause you to unnecessarily panic about a late period (when its actually not time).
If you are sure period 1 week late, Here are possible causes
1. You are pregnant
Getting the timing right for sexual intercourse is very important if you want to either prevent or get pregnant easily.
If you are trying to prevent pregnancy, it’s important to avoid sex during your ovulation period. During this time, your body expels an egg into your fallopian tube and makes it easy for you to conceive.
The truth is, if you’ve missed your period for about a week now after an unprotected sexual intercourse, it’s probably pregnancy.
After getting pregnant, your body secretes different hormones that ensure your baby is safe and also, stops your period from coming.
Apart from a delayed period, here are symptoms you will experience if pregnant
Sore breast is common during early pregnancy as your boobs get bigger and painful. If your breast hurts and you are one week late, it’s likely you are pregnant.
Body weakness is not uncommon before the start of period. However, if period is late for days to weeks and you feel very weak, it’s possible you’re pregnant.
During early pregnancy, body fatigue is common and occurs because of low blood and sugar levels.
Other signs of pregnancy if your period is one week late are nausea, vomiting, a heavy breast that is easily noticeable, spotting before your missed period (due to implantation), lower belly cramps, food aversion, constipation, frequent urination and mood changes.
What steps to take?
If you’ve not had sexual intercourse, there is no reason to worry about being pregnant. Alternatively, if you had intercourse and your period is absent for a week, the above symptoms suggest pregnancy.
It’s important you take a pregnancy test right away; If you are positive, tell your doctor immediately.
2. Young girls after menarche
Menarche is first-time a woman will experience cyclical vaginal bleeding called menstruation. After your first period, your body begins to adjust to your hormones.
The normal menstrual cycle for older women is 21 to 35 days. For young girls that just started menstruating, period could be delayed for a longer time.
If your period is fluctuating months after the menarche, you don’t need to worry. Usually, within six years, your body and hormones will normalize.
3. Stress, weight loss, and exercise
Stress, weight loss, and strenuous exercise may be the reason your period is 1 weeks late.
Your body organs and reproductive system are controlled by different hormones produced in other parts of your body.
Most notably, is gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), produced by the hypothalamus, that controls the release of estrogen, progesterone, and follicle stimulating hormones.
During stressful conditions, acute illness, severe exercise, and weight loss, your body stops or reduces the frequency and volume of GnRH.
This causes unstable levels of hormones needed for normal function of your reproductive system, hence, a delayed period.
4. Birth control implant, pills, patches and IUDs
Birth control is well known around the world, and it’s commonly used to prevent pregnancy, reduce severe pain during menstruation, lighten a very heavy period, and treatment of acne.
If you’ve missed your period for a week now while on any birth control methods, DONT PANIC.
Borth control intrauterine device can stop your period from coming altogether. Also, pills like Seasonale and Yaz can delay menstruation for about 3 – 4 months.
It important you talk to your doctor for evaluation and advice.
It’s natural that every woman grows old and experience some changes to their body. In women, one of those changes involves cessation of menstruation.
On average, at 51 years, a lot of women will stop having menses. Between 40 years and when period eventually stops, women will experience irregular period as estrogen levels fall.
Other symptoms of perimenopause are hot flashes, breast tenderness, lower sex drive, and tiredness.