Everyone’s bodies are different, as are our menstrual cycles; they could be anywhere from 21 – 35 days long. Some of us have irregular periods, but the monthly cycle is regular for most women, with the period arriving on the dot. But sometimes, it does act up and get delayed. So when should you get worried about the delay?

period is considered late if it doesn’t begin for over 5 days after the date you expected it to happen. When that happens, it usually creates a sense of panic. While the first thought is pregnancy, there could be other reasons for a late period.

Is it normal to have a late period?

Irregular periods are not so uncommon. Pregnancy is the usual reason for missing a period. A quick home pregnancy test can help. If you are sure that you cannot be pregnant, then should you be alarmed? And how long should you wait before you consult a doctor?

If you’ve always had your period like clockwork, and have now missed it for about three months, it is time to visit the doctor. She will do a thorough check and be able to diagnose the reason for the missed periods.


What can cause your period to be late?

All of us have had a late period or skipped one, even when not pregnant. Early pregnancy symptoms like bloating and sore breasts are quite similar to PMS – so don’t always confuse them. Delayed periods are quite normal, and could be due to a variety of reasons:

  • Pregnancy – the most common one.
  • Menarche or approaching menopause – if you have just started getting a period in the last couple of years, or are near the menopausal age, then erratic and irregular periods are normal.
  • Breastfeeding or just had a baby
  • Illness – a severe illness can also affect your menstrual cycle
  • Stress– can bring about hormonal changes in your body, which in turn affects your cycle
  • Excessive exercise
  • More serious medical conditions – like a thyroid condition, diabetes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or an eating disorder.

Our bodies don’t always run like clockwork.   There might be variations or delays at times. See a doctor for extended delays in periods, which will help you resolve your issue.

Can a period be late due to stress?


A late period can be caused by a number of reasons, and not just a possible pregnancy. Worrying about it will only add to your stress and anxiety, which will affect your body. You may get a headache, insomnia, an upset stomach or even chest pain. Stress also disrupts your menstrual cycle.

Our periods are regulated by the production of hormones called oestrogen and progesterone. The stress hormone cortisol impacts the production of these hormones, and upsets the balance of our body. This interferes with our cycle, and the period may get delayed. Keeping stress under control goes a long way to having regular periods.

What to do when your period is late?

Do take a home pregnancy test if you’re late by more than 5 days, and have had sex at least once since your last period. Even if it comes in negative, consult a doctor. She will do a check to rule out other reasons.

What to do when periods are late?

You can try to regulate your irregular periods.

  • Exercise well, eat a balanced iron-rich diet, and relax.
  • Track your period. You will notice a pattern and can be prepared for the period.

Late period negative pregnancy test

A missed period does not always mean a positive pregnancy test. Even when the period is delayed, the result may be negative. If you have conceived late in your cycle, the pregnancy does not show up in tests till later.

An ectopic pregnancy, stress, or other medical reasons could also give you a negative result. Do see a doctor as soon as you can.

Delay in periods and white discharge – what does it mean?

White discharge happens before ovulation. If your period is more than 2 days delayed, and you notice an increase in the vaginal discharge, then you are possibly pregnant. It could also occur as a result of breastfeeding, intercourse, or late ovulation, but it’s best to take a test or visit your doctor.

You know your body and its functions best – they may vary from time to time, in response to external and internal factors. Listen to what your body is telling you, and take care of it.