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It’s been a day, or two, or nine, and your normally dependable period still isn’t showing up. But you haven’t had sex, or home pregnancy tests you’ve taken keep coming back negative, so you’re pretty sure you’re not pregnant. So what’s the deal? What’s your uterus even waiting for? There are several reasons your period could be late that don’t mean you’ve expecting.

You’re stressed

Stress can wreak havoc on your system, whether it’s making you lose sleep, messing with your appetite, or even upsetting your skin. And, yes, it can make you miss your period. When you experience stress, your body releases a buttload of adrenaline and cortisol, and your brain can alter your normal bodily functions until it detects that the stress is over. Sometimes that means your uterus just nopes right out of its monthly tasks. Luckily, there are many things you can do yourself to lower the amount of stress in your life.

You’ve recently lost or gained weight

Being significantly under or over weight can also affect your hormonal balance, especially if you’ve lost or gained the weight in a relatively short period of time. Your body may interpret the sudden change as stress, and as we previously established, stress can make your body go koo-koo bananas. Your doctor can help you establish a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Your birth control is messing with your cycle

I know: birth control is supposed to regulate your cycle! Why hast thou forsaken us, B.C.? But some types of birth control, such as the depo-provera shot or a hormonal I.U.D., can reduce the length and frequency of your period, meaning that some months, it may not come at all.

You’re syncing up with other women in your life

If you’re recently begun spending a lot of time with a lot of other women – say, if you’ve started a new job or hobby – then it’s entirely possible that your period is syncing up with theirs. For the most part, this process happens over a long period of time, but occasionally your cycle will just make a big jump forward – kind of like how the X-Men became X-Men, except with fallopian tubes.

You have thyroid irregularities

Having an under- or overactive thyroid will cause your metabolism to change, and in turn, this can affect your cycle. Whether you have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, it can result in missed or lighter periods. Both conditions come with other health issues, from hair loss to insomnia to weight gain (or loss), so if you suspect your thyroid is the culprit, see your doctor.

You have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS can be a real jerk to your system. Basically, it prevents your body from ovulating, which means you have a heckload of progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen hormones in your system. And we know how the body reacts to extra hormones, right? PCOS comes with many other symptoms, including weight gain, hair growth, and infertility, so definitely see your doctor to determine your next steps.

You’re going through early menopause

Don’t panic: this doesn’t mean you’re old! Just remember the “early” part of “early menopause.” While most women go through menopause around age 50, it’s possible your body has run out of eggs much sooner than expected, and so your body is going through that change now instead of later.

As we can see, the human body is a delicate flower that can be thrown off-balance by myriad things. (What a drama queen.) If you’re absolutely sure you’re not pregnant but your period is still AWOL, your best move is making an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause and help you figure out a solution.

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