Missing a period can be scary, or exciting, depending on your life plan. But skipping over that time of the month doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. In fact, it’s totally normal to miss your period every once in a while — and far more common than you think.
“We typically assume a 28-day cycle as ‘normal,’ but in reality, it’s normal for periods to come anywhere from 21 to 40 days,” Jennifer Conti, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn, host of The V Word Pod, and a medical advisor for Modern Fertility, told POPSUGAR. Between 9 and 14 percent of people who menstruate have irregular cycles.
Dr. Conti explained that, when pregnancy is off the table as a potential cause, environmental factors like stress — both emotional and physical — or diet could also be to blame for a missed period. Your period should return to normal once those issues have been resolved, she added. However, if you’re having irregular bleeding that’s not linked with birth control, or your period doesn’t go back to normal, you should talk to your healthcare provider to rule out any underlying conditions.
Your doctor may recommend hormonal birth control to help regulate your periods, Dr. Conti said. If that’s not a path you want to take, they may also be able to suggest some lifestyle changes that could help get your irregular periods under control.