A doctor shows a woman information about her health

Why Your Time of the Month Isn't On Time

Whether your period has been irregular for as long as you can remember or it’s significantly early or late all of a sudden, you probably want answers. The likely cause: a hormonal imbalance. Your hormones act as messengers to tell your body when it’s time to ovulate, shed the uterine lining, and more, controlling your period every step of the way. When these hormones get out of control, your period falls off schedule. Here are some of the most common reasons why your hormones might be out of balance.

Being Overweight

Body fat produces estrogen, so people who are overweight might have too much of this hormone. Responsible for signaling the beginning of ovulation, too much estrogen can upset your body’s cycle and cause you to start your period early.

Being Underweight

Just as too much body fat can alter your cycle, so does too little. If you’re underweight, your body might not produce enough estrogen to keep your cycle steady. Speak with your doctor about creating a plan to reach a healthy BMI for your frame.

Exercising Too Hard

Extreme exercise can use up more energy than you’re taking in. This might cause your body to stop non-vital functions so it can put all the energy it gets into making sure your heart, brain, lungs, and other organs are getting the fuel they need to keep you healthy. Your body doesn’t classify reproduction as necessary for survival, so this may cause you to miss your period or have an irregular cycle.

Having a Chronic Condition

Several conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and hypothyroidism, can affect your hormone levels. If you have a chronic condition, speak with your doctor about managing it through lifestyle changes and treatment.

Stressing Out

Stress sends the body into a state of fight or flight, causing it to produce hormones that slow down functions that aren’t essential to the current situation, such as the reproductive system.  Women who are constantly stressed out continue to have abnormal levels of hormones, leaving their reproductive system and its functions on the backburner. Taking some time to relax can help you better handle stress and regulate your hormone levels.

Approaching Menopause

As your body prepares to enter menopause, you will experience perimenopause, a transition period of fluctuating estrogen levels. This is the time when most women experience the common symptoms of menopause, including the absence of menstruation. You might skip a single period, or you might go for several months without a period and then resume menstruation. You officially enter menopause when you’ve missed your period for 12 months in a row.

If you experience changes in your period, schedule an appointment with a Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OB/GYN. Our team can help you figure out what’s causing your hormonal imbalance and find a solution to get you back on track.
 

Sources:
Healthline | Can a Hormone Imbalance Affect Your Menstrual Cycle?
Healthline | 7 Period Symptoms No Woman Should Ignore
Healthline | Why Is My Period Late: 8 Possible Reasons
Very Well Health | Your Hypothalamus and Your Menstrual Cycle
NAMS | Menopause 101: A primer for the perimenopausal
Healthline | Losing Your Period Because of Exercise Is a Bad Sign