A Missed Period. The Pregnancy Test Says Negative . . . But Why?

What happens when you’ve missed your period, taken a pregnancy test, and it is negative? What could be going on with your body?

There could be many different reasons why you haven’t had your period yet. Most women jump to the conclusion that they must be pregnant. But sometimes that test is negative. So what does that mean?

Natural Causes
One of the reasons for a missed period could have to do with natural causes. If you are breastfeeding, or going through menopause, periods often stop for a time. Side effects from medication can also have an effect on your period. For instance, some contraceptives can totally stop monthly cycle. Even after you stop taking contraceptives, it may take some time to return to regular menstruation. Other medications such as antipsychotics, cancer chemotherapy, antidepressants, blood pressure medications, or even some allergy medication can also cause your period to stop or be irregular.

Lifestyle
Another thing to consider when talking about a missed period is your lifestyle. If you have low body weight (10% or more under normal body weight), it could affect many of your body’s hormonal functions, and even result in stopping your period. Those who struggle with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia may have their period stop completely. Even things like excessive exercising or rigorous training can have an effect on your period because of low body fat, stress or expending too much energy. Unfortunately, a huge factor that could impact your period is stress. Too much mental stress can actually alter (temporarily) the functioning of the hypothalamus, which controls the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. Usually though, once the stress goes away, your cycle will return to normal.

Medical
Medical issues can sometimes be the cause of a stopped or irregular period. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can cause an absence of your period because it affects your hormones. A thyroid can be either overactive (hyper) or underactive (hypo), which can also interrupt your menstrual cycle. Additional causes could include a pituitary tumor (benign and non-cancerous) or even early menopause for those who are a little older. Issues such as uterine fibroids, uterine scarring due to previous surgeries (such as a cesarean section), lack of reproductive organs – to name just a few – should all be considered. If you are concerned, you should have a physical exam by a healthcare provider, who may go on to conduct lab tests or other diagnostic tests (like an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI).

Something You NEED To Consider . . .
Admittedly, a negative pregnancy test may make you feel relieved if being pregnant was unintended. But if you are sexually active, a pregnancy test is not the only test you should have, especially if you are having sex with more than one partner, have changed partners in the last year, or did not use protection during sex. It’s important to remember that using protection does not completely guard you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For the health of both you and your partner(s), you should be tested for STIs. If the results are positive, you should start treatment immediately. You are in control of knowing your STI status. If you want to be 100% sure that you won’t get pregnant or contract an STI, it is best to adopt the “not right now” method: wait to have intercourse in a monogamous, committed relationship such as marriage.

Information provided by:
CDC

Additional articles about periods:
A Lesson on “That Time of the Month” {Your Period Questions Answered}


If you (or someone you know)has questions about a possible pregnancy, your first step is a pregnancy test. But if you have questions about the results of that test, you need to talk to a compassionate, knowledgeable health care professional.  They can help you sort through the questions you have, and even help with additional testing.

Additionally, if you (or someone you know) suspects that you might have contracted an STD, you should contact your doctor immediately for an appointment.

However, if you are not ready to talk to a doctor, it could be helpful to discuss your symptoms, concerns and options in a confidential and helpful setting with someone who has answers.

Feel free to schedule a no-pressure appointment with us where you can speak with someone who will help you determine your next steps. Our staff is compassionate, knowledgeable and can offer the support and direction that you need.