Why has my period suddenly stopped?

It isn’t just pregnancy that can halt your monthly flow

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19 February 2022

What does it mean if my periods are irregular?

If you've missed a period, the obvious thing to consider first is whether or not you could be pregnant, however, if it turns out you aren't, there are lots of other explanations for you missing a period, either if it's just a one-off, or more consistently irregular cycles.

Each month it is not uncommon to experience variation in your period symptoms – some may be more painful than others and some may be lighter than others too. It’s also quite common for a period to fall a couple of days earlier or later than it did the previous month but if this is the case, at what stage is a period considered irregular?

Well, if you have a longer or shorter cycle this may be considered 'irregular' as it takes more or less time for your period to come around each month than the typical 28 days. Although, this may be normal for you. A long cycle can be as much as 42 days (or more), a short cycle could be as little as every 21 days, for example, whereas a regular flow comes every 28 days or so. Also, as above, just because it takes 42 days for your period to come round one month, it doesn’t necessarily mean this time frame will be the exactly same next time around! 

In this instance, it could be easy to mistake a longer or irregular cycle for a missed period so it’s important to let a little time pass before worrying that your period has stopped completely. What’s more, bear in mind that irregular periods are often accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • A particularly light or excessively heavy flow
  • The period is either shorter than two days or longer than 5

My advice: From hormone imbalances to age, there are a few things that can cause irregular periods so if you are concerned about this issue it’s best to get checked out by your doctor. 

Reasons for missed periods

Next, I explore some common reasons for missing periods:

1. Weight gain

There are two important hormones involved in the menstrual cycle and that is progesterone and oestrogen. Progesterone prepares the womb for a fertilised egg but if you don’t conceive it is also responsible for cramp. Oestrogen on the other hand, prompts the release of an egg in the first place. In order for the menstrual cycle to function as normal these hormones exist in a delicate balance. 

However, being overweight or obese can disrupt this delicate balance because oestrogen is stored in fat cells meaning you’ll end up with too much of this hormone. This can result in irregular periods and could mean you have more frequent periods. 

On the other hand, oestrogen dominance could upset blood sugar levels, and contribute to insulin resistance which are processes that are often associated with the condition PCOS. In this case, periods may be less frequent.

My advice: Considering the change in body weight may be a more useful place to start, rather than targetting the hormones in the first instance, as the hormone imbalance may be a consequence of some other process. Moving more, (walking is great!), prioritising fresh produce, sleeping better and managing stress can be useful tactics to help balance body weight. However, if you need any further tips, please don't hesitate to get in touch!

2. Weight loss

Embarking on the latest fad diet or losing a lot of weight in a very short period of time through other methods is another way to risk upset your period cycle. 

In contrast to weight gain, weight loss can reduce our stores of oestrogen resulting in low mood and light, infrequent periods. That’s not all though, if oestrogen levels are extremely low it can also cause periods to stop altogether.  

My advice: To avoid sudden and considerable weight loss, rather than dieting to the extreme, work towards making sensible choices about what you are eating and more sustainable changes. Try swapping processed meals and snacks (which can have hidden fats, sugars and unwanted extras) for homemade and fresh varieties, and keep exercise to a moderate level or else it could become stressful. If necessary, once again, please seek advice from a medical professional.  

3. Stress

Be it work worries, financial concerns or personal troubles, stress is an unfortunate feature in many lives. It can affect our digestion, sleep, mood, as well as many other areas of our health including menstruation

The problem is that stress takes attention away from all these non-essential bodily processes meaning they function less effectively. This stress response stems from times long ago when a life-threatening situation such as an animal attack required the body to focus on immediate survival rather than anything else – reproduction wasn’t exactly top of mind at this time! Even though the source of stress has changed a little since this time – we aren’t likely to come across a sabre-toothed tiger these days – our response to stress is the same.

My advice: If you are feeling stressed I’d recommend you visit our Stress Hub where you will find a wealth of information and advice on the topic.

Alongside this it can also help to talk to those around you about your worries, whilst relaxing stretches may also relieve some tension.

For mild stress and anxiety you could also turn to herbal remedies - our Stress Relief Daytime drops contain a mix of Valerian and Hops to ease that troubled feeling.

4. Excessive exercise

Although gentle exercise can actually help to ease period cramps, embarking on a harsh workout regime has the potential to disrupt the menstrual cycle. 

Extreme exercise acts as a stressor so it can disrupt your flow in the same way that money worries or a personal problem would. Also, losing a lot of weight through extreme exercise could, as I’ve just discussed, risk upsetting the delicate balance of hormones in the body which can cause periods to stop. 

My advice: Moderation is key – remember, you don’t have to train for a marathon to get your stint of exercise! Instead, why not embark on a gentler regime with a variety of exercises such as cycling, stretching and walking? Also, over on our Get Active Hub we have a range of tips that will help encourage strength, endurance, flexibility and balance without putting your body under too much strain.

5. Hormonal contraceptives

The contraceptive pill is a popular and effective method of contraception but depending on the type, it may cause you to miss periods, or it may stop them altogether. The mini pill, in particular, may have this effect.

The pill is not the only form of contraception that can cause these problems though, as well as the progesterone-only pill, the contraceptive injection, implant or Mirena coil can all have similar effects.

My advice: Your periods should return to normal when you stop using these forms of contraception, although it can in some cases take a little while for your system to rebalance. You should always discuss your options in terms of contraception and their effects with your doctor.

6. Menopause

Finally, oestrogen levels decrease in the approach to menopause and this causes ovulation to become less regular before the periods stop altogether. 

The menopause usually occurs around the age of 45 but it’s not unheard of for it to begin as late as 60, Alongside more irregular periods, the menopause can involve other symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats and mood changes.


My advice: Our Menopause Expert Eileen covers everything menopause-related in her hub. Here you’ll find blogs and videos on the topic, as well as tips to help deal with it more effectively.

For a little additional help during the menopause you could also try our Menopause Support Tablets. These are made from Soy Isoflavones which can help to relieve symptoms like hot flushes and night sweats.  


First published October 2018, updated in February 2022.

A.Vogel Menopause Support | For Perimenopause, Menopause & Postmenopause Symptoms

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