Menstrual Period - Missed or Late

Is this your symptom?

  • Late Period: 5 or more days late compared to normal cycle
  • Missed Period: No period for more than 6 weeks

Some Basics...

  • Menstrual periods stop when a woman becomes pregnant. A woman with a missed or late period should consider the chance that she is pregnant.
  • There are other causes besides pregnancy for a missed or late period.
  • The first day of menstrual bleeding is the first day of a new cycle. Cycle length can vary from woman to woman. The range is 24-35 days. The average cycle length is 28 days.
  • Menstrual bleeding normally lasts 3-7 days.
  • Ovulation often happens at about day 14 of the cycle.

Causes

  • Pregnancy is the most important cause of a missed or late period
  • Stress
  • Dieting, exercise and weight loss
  • Menopause
  • Polycystic ovarian disease
  • Birth control pills
  • Depoprovera injection
  • Pituitary and other endocrine disorders

Home Urine Pregnancy Tests

  • Home urine pregnancy tests do not cost very much. They are easy to use. Most drugstores sell these tests over-the-counter (OTC).
  • Urine pregnancy tests are very accurate. They can turn positive as early as the first week after a missed period.
  • It is best to do an at-home pregnancy test first thing in the morning.
  • When a home test is negative, but there is still a high suspicion of pregnancy, repeat the test in 3-5 days or go to a doctor's office for testing.
  • The pregnancy test may not work right if there is blood in your urine. A small amount of blood should not cause a problem.

When to Call for Menstrual Period - Missed or Late

Call 911 Now

  • Passed out (fainted)
  • You think you have a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Stomach pain and you are pregnant
  • Stomach pain and you might be pregnant
  • You feel weak or very sick
  • You think you need to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You think you need to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You are pregnant
  • You want a pregnancy test done in the office
  • Recent weight loss
  • Over 45 years old
  • Missed 2 or more periods in a row
  • Missed period 2 or more times in the last year
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Missed or late period

Care Advice for Missed or Late Menstrual Period

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Menstrual periods stop when a woman becomes pregnant. A woman with a missed or late period should consider the chance that she is pregnant.
    • There are other causes besides pregnancy for a missed or late period.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Pregnancy Test, When in Doubt:
    • If there is a chance that you might be pregnant, use a urine pregnancy test.
    • You can buy a pregnancy test at the drugstore.
    • It works best first thing in the morning.
    • Follow all package instructions.
  3. Stress:
    • There are ways to reduce your stress.
    • Try talking with a friend or family member.
    • Get more sleep.
    • Eat a healthy diet.
    • Try to avoid things that cause you to feel stressed.
    • If this does not work, talk with your doctor or a counselor.
  4. Internet Resources - womenshealth.gov:
  5. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pregnancy test is positive
    • You have trouble with the at-home test
    • New symptoms suggest pregnancy (morning sickness, breast tenderness/swelling)
    • You need help coping with stress
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 12/16/2017 1:00:28 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:12 PM

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