After puberty, menstruation becomes just part of life for most women. They know when to expect it, what symptoms they’ll have and the length of their personal cycle. Whenever menstrual bleeding is delayed it can cause some serious concern or doubts in a woman’s mind.

Sometimes it could mean that you’ve fallen pregnant. Other times a delay could be from stress and tensions, or medication you’ve taken. It could also just be a slight change in your life patterns that lead to a small delay and then menstruation begins as normal.

So what causes this? And how many days delay is actually still considered normal?

A delay is usually caused by changes in your body brought on by physical or psychological disorders. It’s completely normal for even the most regular cycle to experience a delay of up to 10 daysfrom time to time.
Women who are going through periods of high anxiety, stress or extreme emotions will often experience delays in their cycle. Physical factors such as poor diet, hard physical labor or over exercising can also cause delays. Top female athletes regularly go for long time periods without experiencing menstruation. Additionally, if you’ve been on a hormonal contraceptive and stop taking it, you can also experience changes in the length and timing of your cycle.

There are also several health issues or diseases that can disrupt the proper function on your reproductive system. These include anemia, hypothyroidism, anorexia, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome and urinary infections.
Just remember, if you pass the 10-day deadline and there is no change in your situation, contact your doctor.

What should you do when experiencing a menstrual delay?

The first step is to stay calm and try to control the stress that can come with experiencing a delay. Worrying about whether or not you’ve fallen pregnant or that there may be something wrong with you won’t help matters at all.

The next step is to try a pregnancy test from your pharmacy. You should be able to get an accurate result from the first day of delay in menstruation. If you get a negative result, try again in a few days – this will still be within the normal 10-day delay that is considered healthy.

Once you’ve ruled out falling pregnant and menstruation still hasn’t come after 10 days, it’s best to go and see your gynecologist. A doctor will run blood tests, take a Pap smear and, if necessary, do a thyroid examination. Then they can then give you a proper diagnosis as to what is causing the delay and how to treat it.

Be sure to track your cycle

The only way to know for sure that your menstruation is late is to know your cycle well. This will give you greater control in working out if you may be pregnant and will help your doctor with diagnosing any medical conditions.

You will also be able to tell if you are consistently late over several months. If this is the case, you should consult a doctor. They can then check for any hormonal problems and prescribe medication to control this.