Periods are among the many things that a girl is concerned about. In fact, if I take a survey now about what health issues girls are worried about, periods will be on top. But what if they are sexually active and occasionally have late periods? That’s a bummer. Because pregnancy is the first thing that comes to mind with a late period.
As you clicked the link to this article, I believe you might be troubled already. You’re probably browsing for relevant answers and asking yourself “I had protected sex but my period is late”.
A late period doesn’t always have to be due to pregnancy. You can have late periods if you are on the verge of menopause if you have PCOS, obesity, malnutrition, or other chronic illness.
Let’s dig deeper into why you have a delayed period despite having safe sex.
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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. So, the chances that you might become pregnant is nearly 0%. However, you didn’t get your period.
You anxiously wait and eat the brains of everybody close to you. Then you loiter a little more and consider getting yourself tested. You bring a pregnancy kit, then you go to the doctor. You panic only to realize 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. Most OB-GYN doctors 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. But now 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. However, you can not pinpoint one specific reason why you have a late period. For that, you have to visit a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
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 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 caused because of a hormonal imbalance. There is too little progesterone and too much androgen. This imbalance interferes with the ovulation process.
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
- Hair loss
- Hair gain at the most unwanted places
The symptoms are usually mild. So it doesn’t negatively impact your daily life. But it may cause other complications that include infertility, insulin resistance, cardiovascular diseases, risk of uterine cancer, depression, etc.
You can not fully cure this condition. However, you can prevent further disruption of your health. You can do this 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.
This is one of the distinguished reasons why you are having late or 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 can mess up your hormonal balance. There are two small structures in your brain called the hypothalamus and the pituitary. They control functions of other organs including the ovaries. Stress can suppress the functions of the hypothalamus. 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. Regular exercise, swimming, yoga, workouts, etc can help. You might go for cognitive therapy and professional counseling. These are beneficial as they manage the way you think. So, you can move on from your stressful life. Remember that physical stress and emotional issues both may cause a delayed period.
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 estrogen and progesterone. These hormones prevent ovulation by thickening the cervical mucus and making the lining of the uterus thin.
This way the eggs can’t be fertilized. 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. That’s because skipped doses of OCP may reduce its potency. In the worst case, you might even get pregnant due to continued missed doses. Spotting or light bleeding may also be observed.
The thyroids are an indispensable part of the woman’s body. It regulates major metabolic functions and has effect in 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.
Hence, first, you need to get yourself checked whether you have any thyroid problems or not. Your health can improve with proper medications and necessary lifestyle modifications.
Chronic diseases like diabetes, celiac disease, and Lyme disease, 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. This is because of the severity of the disease and the 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.
This is another common factor for delayed periods. Having extra fat causes the production of estrogen in excessive amounts. This hormone is for late periods and occasionally, temporary cessation of menstruation.
Moreover, women with more body weight complain of delayed periods, irrespective of their sex life. So, it’s best to keep your body weight within the normal BMI range. If you are on the verge of falling into the obese category, an effective diet and sustained workout schedules every day can help you.
I know this might sound tough, but obesity can bring other health disorders that may put a hindrance in your normal life.
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 and anorexia can cause your period to be late or stopped. Cutting off too much calories vastly inhibits the production of necessary hormones. So, these affect not only the periods but other metabolic functions.
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.
Now, this is the ultimate factor in having late periods. 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. Hence the ovulation becomes irregular and inconsistent.
The average age for attaining the menopausal stage is 45-50. However, 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 period. Investigations would show seemingly normal findings except for the 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.
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. 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 even using protection. It might be because of a faulty condom, expired oral pills, or 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 holes, it can tear or accidentally slip. After this, 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 practicing 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, and IUDs (intrauterine devices) 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 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. This is 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 body weight within the normal BMI range.
- Eat fruits like apples, pomegranates, pineapple,s 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 with a medical expert. Visit the hospital if you observe the following symptoms:
- Unusual heavy vaginal bleeding
- 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.
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.
Now that you’ve reached the end, 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!