No Period Negative Pregnancy Test: Causes
Pregnancy tests have come a long way. Historically, women didn’t have a reliable method of knowing if they were pregnant without going to the doctor. It wasn’t until the first at-home pregnancy test was invented in 1976 that women were able to confirm that they were expecting.
But despite technological advances that let women know they are pregnant, there's still a lot of mystery about a woman's menstrual cycle.
A woman may have a delayed or missed period, but still have a negative pregnancy test. In those situations, she has to wonder what's going on. Is she pregnant? Is something wrong?
Here are a few reasons your period may be late, even if your pregnancy test is negative. Low hormone levels
If you're trying to get pregnant, there's good news: You may still be pregnant. Sometimes, levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) early in pregnancy aren’t yet high enough for a home pregnancy test to detect.
One study found that home pregnancy tests only have to be capable of detecting hCG levels above 25 mIU/mil to achieve the commonly advertised 99 percent accuracy rate. Another study calculated that in order to detect 95 percent of pregnancies, a test would have to be able to detect levels as low as 12.4 mIU/ml. But not all home pregnancy tests were consistently sensitive enough to do so.
A woman's cycle can vary widely, so if you happened to conceive later in your cycle, your hormone levels may not be high enough. Pregnancy bleeding, recent hormonal contraceptive use, or breast-feeding can all interfere with a woman accurately knowing her dates.
There can be as much as 13 days difference to when ovulation occurs, meaning that you may think you are 4 weeks pregnant when you're only two weeks along.
If you think you may be pregnant and missed a period, but are getting a negative result on your pregnancy test, wait a few days, then retest. If you continue to miss your period, be sure to talk to your doctor to rule out any complications. Ectopic pregnancy
It’s rare, but sometimes an ectopic pregnancy can occur and register as a negative pregnancy test. This happens in less than 3 percent of ectopic pregnancies.
Seek medical attention if your pregnancy test is negative and you are experiencing these symptoms: severe pain low in your abdomen or on one sidedizziness or lightheadednessbleeding or spottingnausea and vomiting Environmental factors
There are a number of environmental factors that can wreak havoc on your menstrual cycle. Stress, for example, can delay your period.
Malnutrition can affect it, too. Your cycle can fluctuate if you aren't eating enough food or are drinking too much caffeine.
And sudden lifestyle changes, like working the overnight shift on your job or intense exercise, can also cause your period to be irregular. Breast-feeding
Breast-feeding can also cause some irregularities in your cycle. Even after your period returns after having a baby, it may take some time before your cycle goes back to normal.
Breast-feeding is also unpredictable month by month. As babies grow, their feedings may change. For example, if your baby is going through a growth spurt and suddenly increases the frequency of night feedings, it may interfere with your cycle. Medical conditions
Medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or thyroid problems may cause women to have highly irregular cycles and miss their periods. Some women may have very light periods, some may have very heavy periods, and some may skip periods all together.
Menopause for women typically begins around age 50. In some women however, it can start prematurely, under the age of 40. It's different for everyone, but if you have missed your period for over 90 days and are not pregnant, talk to your doctor about getting tested for any underlying medical conditions. Medications
Birth control may cause irregularities in your cycle. But there are also other types of medications that may lead to a missed period. For example, blood pressure or allergy medications can throw off your cycle. Next steps
Even if your period is late, there may be many different reasons for getting a negative pregnancy test. You may be dealing with an undiagnosed medical condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome, or you may be experiencing a lifestyle issue such as extreme stress. If you continue to test negative and haven’t had your period, be sure to speak with your doctor. You asked, we answered Should you let your doctor know if you miss your period and aren’t pregnant?
Missing one's period can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are temporary and some of which are more lasting. Women who haven't had their period for more than three months should bring this to their doctor's attention. More in-depth evaluation may be necessary, with the goal of looking for potential underlying medical conditions that may be causing this, as well as addressing the ability to get pregnant, if desired.- Euna Chi, MD Article Resources Article resources Daniilidis, A., Pantelis, A., Makris, V., Balaouras, D., Vrachnis, N. (2014). A unique case of ruptured ectopic pregnancy in a patient with negative pregnancy test - a case report and brief review of the literature. Hippokratia, 18(3), 282-284. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4309153/Gnoth, C., Johnson, S. (2014). Strips of hope: Accuracy of home pregnancy tests and new developments. Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde, 74(7), 661-669. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4119102/Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, May 9). Amenorrhea causes. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/amenorrhea/basics/causes/con-20031561 Was this article helpful?Yes No How helpful was it? How can we improve it? Please select one of the following: This article changed my life! This article was informative. This article contains incorrect information. This article doesn't have the information I'm looking for. I have a medical question. Change Let us know how we can improve this article. NOTE: Healthline isn't a healthcare provider. We can't respond to health questions or give you medical advice.
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