Each menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period and continues all the way until the next period comes, this cycle is often about 28 days long but can vary between women from 21 to 35 days long. You would typically expect the next period to start between 1-4 days earlier or later than expected if it is regular or if the period happens unpredictably throughout the month, it would be considered irregular menses.
Women can occasionally experience irregular menstrual cycles, or even skipped cycles at times. We term this as amenorrhoea, or more specifically secondary amenorrhoea. This varies from woman to woman, which is why it is defined as the cessation of regular menses for 3 months or cessation of irregular menses for 6 months.
What does this mean?
It actually means it can be completely normal to miss your period for up to 3 months, which means you can opt to monitor it and see if it does eventually resume the normal monthly cycles.
When should I worry about missing my periods?
So if you typically have quite regular periods and you have missed beyond 3 cycles, consider seeking out medical help to see whether there are possible underlying medical conditions that might be triggering. This will be covered in more detail below. For women with irregular menses, consider monitoring for 6 months, as it can be unpredictable when to expect your next cycle to come. Beyond that, if your menses has not returned, consider seeing a doctor as well.
What are some of the causes of missing my menses that could just be lifestyle-related?
If you happen to miss your period for a month or 2 and are considering holding out on seeing a doctor, think through whether any of these might be the cause for it.
The most common cause to consider initially especially if you are in a reproductive age group would be whether pregnancy could be in the cards. If you do not use contraception and are currently sexually active, then there is always that possibility. This can be checked very easily with a over the counter urine pregnancy kit from your nearby pharmacy. The best and earliest time to check this would be around the time you would expect your menses to come (and yet it hasn't).