Many women are familiar with the excitement that comes with a desire for pregnancy when menstruation doesn't arrive on the expected day. Unfortunately, many experience taking a negative pregnancy test in such situations. So, what could be the cause of a delayed menstruation if one is not pregnant? That's what we'll take a closer look at in this article.

Causes of Delayed Menstruation

There can be many reasons why menstruation is absent or delayed, and it is not necessarily a symptom of an issue. Menstruation is influenced by hormones, which can fluctuate for various reasons, and thus, there can be entirely natural explanations. 

Here are the most common causes of delayed or absent menstruation:

Pregnancy: This is one of the most natural reasons for a missed period. Even if the pregnancy test is negative, there may still be a chance of pregnancy. Some individuals produce the pregnancy hormone hCG more slowly than others. The body starts producing hCG only when the fertilized egg has reached the uterus and implanted. This journey can take anywhere from a day to a week, explaining why some may test positive a week before expected menstruation, while others only get a positive result a few days after. If your period is delayed, it is recommended to test again after a few days.

Weight Loss or Gain: Rapid weight loss or gain can affect the menstrual cycle. Weight loss can lead to a reduction in estrogen levels, a hormone crucial for regulating the menstrual cycle, potentially causing irregular or missed periods. Conversely, weight gain can increase estrogen levels, also leading to an irregular cycle and delayed menstruation.

Stress: Both emotional and physical stress can disrupt hormonal balance, causing a missed or delayed period.

Medication: If you have started new medication, it is essential to check whether the medication may impact hormones, potentially causing irregular menstruation or its absence.

Reproductive Disorders: Conditions affecting the uterus and ovaries, such as PCOS/PCO and endometriosis, can lead to missed periods or irregular cycles.

Lifestyle: Unusual diets or eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating can impact the menstrual cycle. Similarly, substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, may also affect menstruation.It is always recommended to consult a doctor if menstruation continues to be absent or irregular over several months (a single month of irregular cycles is normal).

Delayed Menstruation but Negative Test

The days from ovulation to the day of testing can feel endlessly long, and many can likely recognize the feeling that every sensation in the body might seem like an early pregnancy symptom. If someone experiences delayed menstruation but receives a negative pregnancy test result, it can all feel particularly frustrating, especially if their cycle is typically regular.The reasons for delayed menstruation can be varied. It could, of course, be due to pregnancy, and therefore, it is recommended to test with a pregnancy test. However, if the pregnancy test is negative, it could also be due to stress or similar factors that can disrupt hormonal balance and, consequently, menstruation. Simply having a strong focus on the dream of becoming pregnant can lead to delayed menstruation and an irregular cycle. In addition, factors such as overtraining, weight changes, hormonal contraception, diseases like PCOS, and menopause can also contribute to delayed menstruation. If you wish to test whether you are entering menopause, you can try our menopause tests, which you can find right here.

Irregular Cycle

Irregular menstruation is often caused by hormonal disturbances and can be a symptom of conditions such as PCOS, sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, stress, menopause, absence of menstruation, and hormonal contraception. Irregular menstruation can make it challenging to conceive, as it may be difficult to pinpoint ovulation. It is, therefore, a good idea to consult a doctor if the cycle is irregular or varies significantly. The same applies if your menstrual cycle is shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days over several months. 

See  our selection of ovulation tests here

What Can the Doctor Do for Missed Menstruation or Irregular Cycle?

An irregular cycle can often be a symptom of conditions such as thyroid problems, fibroids, chlamydia, PCOS, or cell changes. The doctor can treat these with medication, endoscopic surgeries, or cell scrapings. Stimulation treatment with hormones may also be necessary to promote ovulation if menstruation, and consequently ovulation, is absent.

What Can You Do for Missed Menstruation and Irregular Cycle?

Depending on the cause of missed or irregular menstruation, there are steps you can take to promote a more regular cycle. If you are underweight, hormones may be somewhat suppressed, and gaining weight can be beneficial. The same applies if you are overweight; this can also cause hormonal imbalances, and in many cases, weight loss can be beneficial for achieving a regular cycle.Stress and excessive exercise can also lead to missed or irregular menstruation. So, regular exercise, sufficient sleep, maintaining a normal BMI, and minimizing stress can have a positive effect.

Source:, Rigshospitalet, Hvidovre Hospital.