Shark week. Aunt Flo’s in town. Red Moon rising. Whatever name you might give it, menstruation makes having a vagina *all the more enjoyable.* However, there are some months when your period fails to show up altogether, and even though we don’t miss the cramping, fatigue, mood swings, and weird food cravings, the absence of our period is worrisome.
We’re used to our period coming like clockwork every month…except when it doesn’t. If you know you’re not pregnant, there are probably a million questions running through your head. You can’t help but ask yourself what’s normal in the realms of periods and which abnormalities require more investigation. Don’t worry, we got you. HelloGiggles spoke with Dr. Alyssa Dweck, OB-GYN, women’s health expert, and author of the upcoming book The Complete A to Z of the V, who shares her knowledge with us about why Aunt Flo might be late — or canceling her visit altogether.
Here are seven reasons why you aren’t getting your period, besides being pregnant, of course.
1You have PCOS
“Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS, results from a hormone imbalance due to infrequent or total lack of ovulation,” Dr. Dweck tells HG. “Typically, testosterone levels are elevated. Symptoms might include irregular or absent menses, difficulty with weight control, hair growth in typically male places (chin, chest or mustache for example) acne and insulin resistance.”
Between 5 and 10 percent of women who are in their childbearing years suffer from PCOS, which equals about 5 million people. Unfortunately, PCOS is the most common cause of infertility. Although many women go undiagnosed, PCOS is certainly treatable and you don’t have to suffer through it alone. Reach out to your doctor immediately if you feel like you might have PCOS.
2You have thyroid irregularities
Your thyroid regulates metabolism and can heavily influence whether or not you get your period. “An underactive or overactive thyroid gland might result in altered menstrual habits, including amenorrhea,” says Dweck. Amenorrhea is a fancy science word for an absence of your period.
It’s estimated that 59 million Americans suffer from thyroid irregularities — and many of them don’t even know it. Some additional signs of having thyroid issues is pain or tenderness in your neck, a lump in your throat when you swallow, and enlargement of the thyroid gland itself, which is a butter-fly shaped gland at the base of your neck.
3Your body mass index (BMI) is really low
Speak to your doctor if you feel like you need to figure out whether your BMI is too low for your body and your overall health.