If you’re someone who gets a period, I’m willing to bet you’ve longed for the day when it simply disappears. In reality, though, research suggests that losing your period may be a sign of health problems that are worth getting checked out by a medical professional.
That said, it’s important not to panic! Many people who menstruate stop getting periods, whether because of a type of birth control, other medications, or unrelated health issues. If you aren’t menstruating, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with your health. It’s just always good to be on the safe side when it comes to taking care of your body, and too often, menstruation is considered taboo and can be brushed under the rug.
Let’s talk about what it *could* mean when you stop getting your period.
1. You’re not getting enough nutrients.
According to Livestrong, if you are not getting enough nutrients and calories, it is possible that your menstrual cycles will stop. As Livestrong explains, “If the reproductive system doesn’t get those nutrients, it can interfere with normal function. A poor diet is one explanation of secondary amenorrhea, according to the Cleveland Clinic.” This finding suggests that this may be why a high number of people with anorexia stop menstruating.
2. You’re exercising too much.
Kate Berz, a sports medicine doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, tells Vox that people don’t need to exercise an extreme amount to lose their periods. Berz clarifies, “there just has to be an energy imbalance, so not enough calories in to support the demands of exercise.” This has the potential to happen especially if someone is training or changing their exercise routine to be more intense, but not adjusting their diet accordingly.
3. You have hormonal imbalances in your body.
According to Heathline, hormonal imbalances can have a huge impact on your body, including the loss of your menstrual cycle. Hormonal imbalances can affect your body in all sorts of ways, including your sleep, your emotional state, your hunger, and much more, so if you feel like your hormones are a little off, definitely see a medical professional and get yourself some answers.
4. You’re dealing with too much stress.
According to Shape, stress can absolutely stop your menstrual cycle. As Eduardo Lara-Torre, M.D., (an ob-gyn at Carilion Clinic in Virginia), explains to Shape, “it often takes a one-time extraordinarily stressful event to create an abnormal period.” A death in the family, an incredibly high-stakes interview or test? Could be the emotional culprits behind your AWOL menstrual cycle.
Remember: If your menstrual cycle has stopped, don’t freak out. There could be entirely innocuous reasons behind this shift in your body, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your health.