Menstrual Delay: What is it, What are its Symptoms, Why Does It Happen?
Menstrual delay is a situation that occurs to almost every woman during her reproductive age, and the reasons for which are wondered, and it means that the menstrual period does not start on the day it should be according to the calendar calculation.
Menstrual delay is a situation that occurs to almost every woman during her reproductive age, and the reasons for which are wondered, and it means that the menstrual period does not start on the day it should be according to the calendar calculation. While there may be delays that do not have a bad reason, they may also be due to various reasons such as medication use and eating disorders. In this article, you can find answers to your questions such as what are the symptoms of menstrual delay, what causes menstrual delay, what are the diagnosis and methods of menstrual delay.
What is Menstrual Delay?
In most women, the menstrual cycle lasts approximately 28-38 days from the day the menstrual period begins until the next menstrual day. Although there is no definitive diagnosis of menstrual delay, a 3-day delay in someone who has very regular menstrual cycles can be considered delayed menstruation, while for someone who has menstrual cycles every 28 days, 38 days from the last menstrual date. One day may be considered overdue. The menstrual cycle is a natural process that occurs in the female reproductive system, makes reproduction possible, and lasts from the first day of menstruation to the first day of the next menstrual period. There may be many different reasons for menstrual delay, and it is important to receive treatment after the diagnosis of menstrual delay is made.
What are the symptoms of menstrual delay?
Delay in menstrual period and absence of one or more menstrual periods is called amenorrhea. Primary amenorrhea is when a person has not had a menstrual period until the age of 15. Secondary amenorrhea is when women who normally menstruate do not have one or more menstrual cycles. Depending on the cause of amenorrhea, some symptoms may occur in the body. Some symptoms of menstrual delay are:
- pelvic pain
- nipple discharge
- Mood changes such as restlessness
- Excessive hair growth on the face and body
- Symptoms such as hair loss may be observed.
What Causes Menstrual Delay?
Although a few days of menstrual delay is normal, a long delay in the menstrual cycle may be due to some underlying reasons. Some other known causes of menstrual delay, which is one of the first signs of pregnancy, are:
Stress: High levels of stress don’t just affect mental health. It may also cause some physical symptoms. Small daily stresses usually don’t affect your menstrual period. However, important periods in your life such as the death of loved ones, job loss, weddings and important exams may cause your hormone balance to be disrupted. This may cause your period to be delayed.
Extreme diet and exercise: A healthy diet and regular exercise can be very beneficial to your health. However, overdoing your diet and exercise may cause your menstrual cycle to be delayed. It is important to consume enough calories to maintain your hormonal balance.
Polycystic ovary syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome is the formation of many cysts in the ovaries and is a disease that negatively affects ovulation. This causes the hormone level to deteriorate and the absence of ovulation. Menstrual delay occurs in women who do not ovulate.
Medicines: Psychiatric medications, antidepressants, drugs used for cancer, blood pressure and allergies may cause menstrual delay as they disrupt the hormonal balance.
Lack of reproductive organs: During fetal development, some parts of the reproductive system such as the uterus, cervix or vagina may be missing. In people whose reproductive system is not fully formed, the menstrual cycle does not occur.
Structural abnormality of the vagina: A blockage in the vagina or the presence of a membrane that prevents blood flow from the uterus and cervix can prevent menstrual bleeding.
Birth control pills: Some people using contraceptives (birth control pills) may experience a menstrual delay. Even after stopping birth control pills, this condition may take a long time to improve. Contraceptives used by injection or implanted into the uterus can also cause menstrual delay.
Diabetes: If you have uncontrolled diabetes, the interaction between your blood sugar level and hormones may disrupt your menstrual cycle, causing menstrual delay.
Thyroid problems: Thyroid hormone disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can negatively affect your menstrual cycle. The thyroid produces hormones that help regulate the body’s systems. If the level of thyroid hormone is abnormal, you may experience menstrual delays.
Menopause: During perimenopause, the first period of menopause, the frequency of your periods may decrease. The decrease in menstrual periods is due to the decrease in the estrogen hormone.
Hyperprolactinemia: If there is high amount of the protein hormone called prolactin in your blood, menstrual delay may occur.
Weight problem: Being overweight or underweight and any change in your weight can negatively affect your menstrual cycle. Health problems linked to weight and menstrual irregularities include eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
Breast-feeding: You may continue to have amenorrhea after the birth of the baby. This is normal and you do not need to worry. During breastfeeding, called lactational amenorrhea, it takes some time for estrogen and progesterone hormones, whose levels increase during pregnancy, to drop to normal levels. The duration of menstruation again varies from person to person.
What are the Diagnostic Methods for Menstrual Delay?
When you consult a doctor with a complaint of menstrual delay, your doctor will first ask about your menstrual cycle and medical history. A physical examination will then be performed, including a pelvic examination. To make a more accurate diagnosis, blood tests may be requested and pelvic ultrasound and hysteroscopy may be performed as needed.
How to Treat Menstrual Delay?
Delayed menstrual period in women can cause unwanted stress and mood disorders such as restlessness. Therefore, it is important to treat menstrual delay. Treatment for menstrual delay depends on the cause of the menstrual cycle disorder. When presenting treatment options, your physician will pay attention to the severity of your health problem, which treatment you prefer and your health history. Some treatment options are:
- Hormonal birth control pills: Hormonal birth control pills are effective in treating irregular menstrual cycles caused by fibroids, endometriosis, or other medical conditions. These may be given as combined birth control pills consisting of estrogen and progestin or as progestin-only pills. Apart from oral contraceptives, contraceptive patches can also be used in treatment. Both types of contraceptives are very effective in treating irregular bleeding, even if they do not correct the reason the bleeding stopped. These types of contraceptives can help smooth menstrual cycles and relieve pelvic pain that occurs during menstruation.
- To correct menstrual delay, it is important to follow a healthy diet, keep blood sugar levels at normal levels, consume adequate calories, pay attention to the weight of people with polycystic ovary problems, and avoid excessive stress and exercises that will strain the body. If you pay attention to these warnings, menstrual irregularity and menstrual delay will probably resolve on their own.
- Eating disorders can be treated depending on the underlying cause by receiving counseling and nutritional therapy.
When to See a Doctor?
Although menstrual irregularity and delay are normal most of the time, it can sometimes be a sign of serious problems. For menstrual irregularity and menstrual delay, it is important to see a doctor in the following cases:
- severe pain
- Abnormal vaginal discharge or odor
- Weight loss or weight gain for unknown reason
- Excessive acne formation
- Breast hardening or nipple discharge
- Your periods last longer than a week continuously.
If the menstrual delay lasts for a few days, it is not a cause for concern. However, if the menstrual delay lasts longer than normal, it may be a sign of a serious health problem. If you experience such a situation, be examined in a health institution, early diagnosis is very important for your health.