Missed Period Despite Having A Protected Sex?

If I take a girls’ survey on what are the most concerning issues they deal with, they will surely mention their periods, hair-falls and acne problems. But what if they are sexually active and occasionally have late period? That’s a bummer. 

As you clicked the link to this article, I believe you might be troubled already, browsing for relevant answers and asking yourself “I had protected sex but my period is late” 

Well the thing is you can have protected sex and also have late periods. You can have late periods if you are on the verge of menopause, if you have PCOS, obesity, malnutrition or other chronic illness. 

Therefore, keep reading till the end to enlighten yourself with the possible causes why you have a delayed period despite having safe sex. 

I Had Protected Sex But My Period Is Late: Why?

One night of passion with your beau, and the next thing you know is that you are not having your period for the last couple of days! You are certain you used protection and the chances you might become pregnant is nearly 0%, yet you didn’t get your periods.

You anxiously wait and eat the brains of everybody close to you. Then you loiter a little more and determine to get yourself tested. You bring a pregnancy kit, then you go to the doctor, you panic only to realise that you were NOT pregnant, you just have a late period. 

This incident sounds familiar and a lot of you might have already experienced this, right? It’s nothing new and definitely not uncommon. You will hear experiences of women having delayed periods despite having sex with protection, be it condoms or contraceptive pills. 

i-had-protected-sex-but-my-period-is-late

This is pretty normal and most doctors from OB-GYN will vouch that this is one of the commonest complaints of their patients. The irony being said, you previously hated it while you were bleeding each month and you want your periods to kick in now that you are sexually active! 

You may have late periods for reasons other than being pregnant. If you already started panicking, let me assure you that it’s very normal and familiar among sexually active women. However, you can not pinpoint one specific reason why you have a late period.

But one thing you must note is that you may have missed periods if you are already pregnant. But there are other causes too. 

Now, let’s go through the details!

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) 

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is by far one of the most commonest factors contributing to delayed periods despite having protected sex. Can you imagine the tension of a girl with PCOS having intercourse and then having continual late periods? It truly is bothersome. PCOS is like a constraint in which a woman’s hormones are imbalanced during their childbearing age.

It is caused because of inadequate levels of progesterone and excess androgen. It doesn’t only affect the hormonal equilibrium but other functions too, which includes interference with the ovulation process.

pcos

Although the name itself is a little deceptive, you might not always have a “polycystic” ovary. Other symptoms are

  • Irregular period
  • Pelvic pain
  • Weight gain
  • Skin darkening 
  • Acne
  • Hair loss 
  • Hair gain at the most unwanted places

The symptoms are usually mild, it doesn’t negatively impact your daily life but it may cause other complications that involve infertility, insulin resistance, cardiovascular diseases, risk of uterine cancer, depression etc.

You can not fully cure this condition but prevent further disruption of your health by taking certain medications based on the symptoms you’ve been showing. Just remember, there are thousands of women with PCOS and they have been doing fine with accurate treatments. 

So, if you are one of them, don’t feel hopeless. You can have a normal life as well. 

Stress 

This is one of the distinguished reasons why you are having late periods, or even skipped periods. When you are stressed, your periods can change, it might start earlier or later and it might become painful. 

It happens because stress plays a vital role in suppressing the functions of the hypothalamus that controls the pituitary gland which ultimately administers the hormones secreted by the ovaries. Hence, it negatively impacts your menstrual cycle. At times your periods may temporarily stop, causing a condition called amenorrhea

Here are a few things you can do if you are stressed and you want to have your mind-body relaxed. Regular exercise, swimming, yoga, workouts etc can help. You might go for cognitive therapy and professional counselling which is beneficial as they manage the way you think and move on from your stressed life. Remember that physical stress and emotional issues both may cause a delayed period.  

Birth Control 

You may notice alterations in your menstrual cycle when you opt for birth control methods. If you consider only oral pills (OCP), it has a direct influence on oestrogen and progesterone that predominantly prevents ovulation by thickening the cervical mucus and making the uterine lining thin.

This way the eggs can’t be fertilised. If you somehow decide to stop taking pills, you may require a few months for your cycle to become usual once again (provided you have a regular cycle) 

But you need to strictly have these medicines because skipped doses of OCP may reduce its potency and in the worst case, you might even get pregnant due to continued missed doses. Spotting or light bleeding may also be observed.

Thyroid Imbalance

The thyroids are an indispensable part of the woman’s body as it regulates major metabolic functions on various systems including the reproductive system. It affects the hormone levels that result in the impairment of a regular menstrual cycle. So, you will hear from ladies with thyroid issues saying that they have had missed periods a lot of times in their childbearing age. 

thyroid-imbalance

Hence, first, you need to get yourself checked whether you have any thyroid problem or not, be it hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Your health can enhance with proper medications and necessary lifestyle modifications. 

Chronic Disease

Chronic diseases like diabetes, celiac disease, Lyme disease etc otherwise not directly related to your reproductive system may also contribute to late periods even after having protected sex. It is because of the body’s overall condition that you might have delayed periods despite having protected sex.

During this stage, your bodily functions may not run normally owing to the severity of the disease and medication taken for the certain disease. 

For instance, if you have uncontrolled diabetes, the level of blood sugar which is linked to hormonal levels can cause your periods to be irregular. Other inflammatory diseases can lead to damage or disruption of cellular activities, causing differences in hormonal tiers. Thus, your period gets impeded or missed even for a few months. 

Therefore, do not miss out on the prescribed drugs if you have comorbid conditions, no matter how severe or mild it is. 

Obesity

This is another common factor for delayed periods. Having extra weight causes the production of oestrogen in excessive amounts which are predominantly responsible for late periods and occasionally, temporary cessation of menstruation. 

Moreover, women with more bodyweight complain of delayed periods, irrespective of their sex life. 

You have to keep your body weight within the normal BMI range in order to have a healthy life. If you are on the verge of falling into the obese category or if you are severely overweight, you need to reduce your body weight through an effective diet and sustained workout schedules every day.

I know this might sound tough, but obesity can bring other health disorders that may put a hindrance in your normal life. 

Malnutrition 

Overweight women aren’t the only ones with this problem, if you are underweight, it may affect your period cycle as well. Eating disorders like bulimia, anorexia can cause your period to be late or stopped. Excessively restrictive diets or cutting off calories vastly inhibit the production of necessary hormones that affects not only the periods but other metabolic functions. 

malnutrition

Your BMI must not go below 18.5. However, if you have always been inherently thin and underweight, you need to take more foods that are wholesome and nutritious. In addition, if you have been losing weight insanely and drastically, accompanied by rigorous exercises, your periods will become lighter too. 

Reaching Menopause

Now, this is the ultimate factor of having late periods and it will occur to women mostly after the age of 45-50 or even later. It occurs because the levels of reproductive hormones in your body are dropping gradually and ovulation becomes irregular and inconsistent.

Although the average age of attaining menopausal stage is 45-50, a lot of women can experience menopause and have consistent signs and symptoms at the age of 40 (premature ovarian failure) During this stage a woman can go months without having her periods and investigations would show seemingly normal findings except for fluctuation of the hormones. 

Exercising Too Much

This may sound a little ridiculous but it’s not entirely irrelevant. Heavy workouts and invigorating exercises can impact the ovulatory phase. This is why you hear from military personnel, athletes or professional sportsmen that their periods had mostly been late in general, no matter when or how they had protected sex.

An hour or two of strenuous physical activity is acceptable but beyond this duration will imply pressure. Your body also needs rest and recovery from the exercise. But when you deprive yourself of that, the systems go downhill and your body becomes fatigued with overwork. Therefore you need to optimise your schedules with options that burn more calories or fat with limited efforts (like HIIT) 

So, Are You Pregnant??? 

To be frank, you might actually become pregnant after having sex using condoms or other forms of birth control whereas you are not supposed to be pregnant when you are taking contraceptive measures. It might be because of a faulty condom, or expired oral pills, anything. It will be hard to comprehend but you can use protection and still conceive, yikes! 

Studies say that condoms have a 98% rate of effectiveness however the remaining 2% isn’t meant to be ignored. Condoms may have tiny hole, it can tear or accidentally slip for which the sperm can be released into the vagina.

The pull-out method is widely popular among men, but this is rather insecure because of the secretion of pre cum. So, you may also get pregnant even before your partner ejaculates or before he puts on the condom properly. 

But the good news is that the chances you might get pregnant after having safe sex are very low. Regardless, that doesn’t mean you are thoroughly out of danger. Hence, being careful and practising protected sex is highly encouraged if you don’t want to have kids at the moment. 

Apart from condoms, there are diaphragms, spermicides etc which offer less efficiency. On the other hand, oral contraceptive pills (emergency pills, POP etc), injectable contraceptives, implants, IUD (intrauterine device) are more effective with rare cases of conception failure, almost zero.  

Things to Do to Regulate Menstrual Cycle If You Are Sexually Active

Monitoring your period can be a little tricky but it’s fundamental. For women with regular and unvarying menstrual cycles, you can count the first day of your period up to the next period as one cycle. It usually takes an average of 28 days ( might be 24 to 35 days) for one cycle. 

This varies from person to person with other associated health factors. For this, you need to be acquainted with the concept of a “safe period” for having intercourse in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies. It is pretty simple. All you need to do is track your periods (both regular and irregular). 

Say if you have a cycle of 28 days, the 9th to 15th day of your menstrual cycle is the most fertile time, meaning you are ovulating in that phase. Hence, you need to refrain yourself from having unprotected sex on those particular days. The other days are safe to go. This method is however different and a little limited to women with irregular menstrual cycles. 

The benefit of this calculation is that you can determine the days when you are infertile and when you are ovulating. You can do a little research on the safe period method because they will offer you effectiveness to an optimum level without the use of birth control methods. 

Here’s a list of some of the things you can do to keep your menstrual cycle regulated other than calculating the date for safe sex practice and for obtaining the date of your cycles.

  • Practice yoga and meditation
  • Exercises and workouts
  • Maintain bodyweight within the normal BMI range.
  • Eat fruits like apple, pomegranate, pineapple etc
  • Have food enriched with vitamins and proteins
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take supplements with iron, vitamins etc

When to Visit a Doctor?

Now that you have known about the probable reasons, you need to know the conditions which may require consultation of a medical expert so that you can get treated without further delay. Visit the hospital if you observe the following symptoms:

  • Unusual heavy vaginal bleeding
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding for more than 10 days after late periods. 
  • Bleeding after you reached your menopausal stage
  • Pain in the lower abdomen

In a doctor’s office, you will be asked to inform about your medical history, sexual history, emotional issues, lifestyle, usage of contraceptives, family history etc that hamper your menstrual health. You will also be recommended to take a pregnancy test in case you didn’t have any.  

FAQs

Can you get pregnant even after having sex while using a condom?

Answer: Yes, you might get pregnant even after having protected sex. No birth control method, particularly the barrier method, offers absolute effectiveness in the prevention of pregnancy. If the condom had holes or slipped during intercourse, then you might get pregnant.

How long after you miss your period should you worry that you are pregnant?

Answer: After 4 weeks without bleeding, you can consider your period as a missed period. After this duration, you must be concerned and take a test and later visit your doctor.

Why is your period delaying than normal if you are not pregnant?

Answer: In case you aren’t pregnant, you may have a late period for other causes like obesity, chronic illness, hormonal imbalance, stress etc. 

Conclusion

In case you are reading this portion, I believe a lot of you had your doubts cleared on “I had protected sex but my period is late” 

Responsible factors for a late period even after having protected sex have been discussed here briefly, other lesser-known causes are unlikely to occur. 

Remember to eat a balanced diet and lead a fatigue-free life. Wishing you all a wholesome life, here I conclude!

Maisha Zarnaz

Maisha Zarnaz

I am Maisha, currently studying for MBBS in Armed Forces Medical College, Dhaka. The advancements in medical science enthrals me a lot, hence I like to read medical blogs and articles and help people with whatever knowledge I have been able to acquire on healthy eating, lifestyle and skin care. I love watching TV series or baking when I'm free and music has always been my passion.

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