Few things can send a guy who isn’t ready to be a dad into panic mode like receiving a phone call from his girlfriend with the expression: “we need to see now, I missed my period.” Even married people, who aren’t ready to be parents yet, or again, get into the same mode. The same can happen if your teenage daughter has missed her period during the due date. This panic is borne out of the fact that one of the first signs of pregnancy is a missed period.
Before getting into the panic mode, it’s important to understand the fundamental process that results in the monthly menstrual cycle of a woman with a view to determining what can cause her to miss her period.
In a report obtained from Health Magazine, Joshua U Klein, MD, chief medical and reproductive endocrinologist at Extend Fertility, explained: "Ultimate control of your menstrual cycle resides with the hormones secreted by the hypothalamus and pituitary gland–essentially your brain.”
Physical or emotional health factors that can result in secretion of the hormones that would alter menstrual cycles include, but is not limited to:
- Stress and emotional distress
- Lack of sleep
- Changes in diet
- Travel and location changes due to early flights and time zone changes
We tend to underestimate the impact stress can have on our bodies and a female’s periods. Anything that throws your body out of its normal routine can cause stress, and therefore has the potential to alter your menstrual regularity, says Dr. Klein. Weight fluctuations and changes in your diet can also cause hiccups in your menstruation cycle. And, if you are taking hormonal birth control pills and you're not taking them at the same time when you're in a different time zone, this can mess up your cycle too, points out Orlando-based ob-gyn Christine Greves, MD, a fellow of the American Association of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Missing a pill can also screw with your period, she reminds us.
Balanced hormonal state is necessary for menstrual stability. When the levels of hypothalamus and pituitary gland in your body becomes altered resulting in imbalance, even your ovulation schedule can shift. Earlier or late menstrual flow might occur as a result.
But if unprotected sexual intercourse had been ongoing, and your period is MIA, missing in action, few weeks after, a pregnancy test certainly should be conducted.
With respect to time zone change effect during long distance travels, fortunately there is a way to regulate the period to ensure that you don’t miss it due to imbalance in the aforementioned two hormones. According to Health Magazine, women who take birth control pills should be sure to take them at the same time every day that they do at home. Maintaining regular sleeping and healthy eating habits, exercising, and staying hydrated are all ways to help keep your flow normal once you get to your destination. "Do as much as you can so your body doesn't feel the stresses," Dr. Greves tells us.
Also important: "Birth control have a risk of their own when you travel," says Dr. Greves. Contraception that contains estrogen (the vaginal ring, the patch, and of course, the combined pill) can increase your risk for blood clots, so you need to make sure you're moving your legs inflight (wearing compression socks won't hurt) and check with your doctor that you're not at a higher risk for clots.
Credit: Extend Fertility, Health Magazine
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