For most women, a late period signals something could be amiss with her menstrual cycle. Late periods happen for a variety of reasons. However, sexually active women know that missing a period could be a sign that they are pregnant. When they take a pregnancy test and it comes back negative, their confusion may be confounded because they are not aware of what other reasons they could be late on their period. Before they head to the doctor’s office for a more thorough exam, they would do well to consider some of the reasons that they could miss the first day of their scheduled menstrual cycle.
Women who have regular 28-day cycles in particular may worry because they have never before been late on a period. However, being late, even for women who are regular with their cycles, can be the result of something so simple as being ill. When a woman is sick with or recovering from an illness like the flu or rota virus, she may experience irregular periods for a month or two until her each one of her body’s system is back on track. A late period and a negative pregnancy result could indicate that she needs to give her body more time to recover.
Sometimes women get negative results on their pregnancy tests after missing a scheduled period because they are testing too early. While human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, can show up in a woman’s body as soon as 11 days after conception, it can sometimes take longer for it to be noticeable on a pregnancy test strip, especially if she is not using one designed for early testing. If she does not start her period within a week of its scheduled date, she should test again or see her doctor for a blood hCG test.
Women who are late on their periods may be particularly confused if their bodies are showing signs of pregnancy, yet the tests are coming back with negative results. Rather than rely on the test results, women are usually advised to trust their bodies to indicate whether or not they could be pregnant. In particular, early pregnancy is usually accompanied by various types of discharge. Some women may experience spotty bleeding during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This bleeding indicates that a pregnancy is implanting itself into her uterine wall and is quite normal. It should not be cause for alarm.
Another type of discharge that is quite common in early pregnancy is white, milky discharge. This type occurs when the vaginal walls are thickening immediately after implantation. The walls thicken to protect the woman’s uterus and the growing baby inside her body. As the walls thicken, the vagina creates more discharge than the woman may be used to, however. Nonetheless, as with spotty bleeding white discharge should not be cause for alarm.
These kinds of discharge can occur even when a woman is getting a negative result from a pregnancy test. She may be getting a negative result for any number of reasons, including a manufacturer’s defect with the test or her not using the test correctly. It could be as well that she may be trying to test too early. Some tests still require that women wait about a week after they miss their periods to test and get an accurate result. In the meantime, a woman should listen to her body and take her cues from what it is trying to tell her. If her body shows signs that she is pregnant, she should adjust her lifestyle accordingly and see her doctor for a blood test.
Another sign of early pregnancy, along with discharge and a missed period, is cramping. Cramping results when the pregnancy is implanting itself in the uterine wall and the cervix is closing to protect the growing baby. Someone who has never before been pregnant may take the cramps as a sign of an impending period or miscarriage. However, cramping is very normal and can happen with the first and every subsequent pregnancy.
When a woman has cramping, yet each pregnancy test keeps coming back with a negative result, she should trust her instinct and listen to her body. If she has other signs of early pregnancy, such as discharge, spotting, tender nipples and breasts, fatigue, morning sickness, frequent urination, and darkening of her skin under her eyes, on her cheeks, and on her stomach, among other places, she should assume that she is pregnant. She also should keep testing until she is more than a week late on her period. If her period is late for a more than a week and she still gets negative results, she should then head to her doctor’s office for more thorough testing.
Cramping along with negative test results could not only indicate a chemical pregnancy or miscarriage. It could also signal that the woman has something more seriously wrong with her. She may have an STD or she could have have endometriosis, a disease that can cause infertility and require surgery. Women who are nearly always regular in their menstrual cycles, but get negative pregnancy test results should understand why they may need to keep testing or seek more in-depth medical care. They ultimately should listen to their bodies and take their cues from the symptoms they are experiencing