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Reasons for a Late Period (That Aren’t Pregnancy) According To Chinese Medicine


Almost all women have had times in their lives when they were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their period. Sometimes this wait makes a woman do a pregnancy test only for her period to arrive a few days later. 

This article explains what a lengthy cycle is, reasons for a late period and what your body is experiencing from the perspectives of Chinese medicine. 

In TCM there are several underlying patterns that means mensuration may be delayed for a number of reasons other than pregnancy.


What is a healthy menstrual cycle length?

Each menstrual cycle begins on the first day of bleeding and continues until the next period begins. The average menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, but a cycle can last between 21 and 35 days and still be considered healthy. Interestingly, a large study conducted by the University of Adelaide  showed that only around 16% of 1.5 million participants had a 28-day cycle, even though this was considered the typical length of menstrual cycles.


A late period is one that does not begin 5 or more days after the expected date. A missed period happens when menstrual flow is absent for 6 weeks or more after the start of the previous period

Reason for a late period from a  Chinese medicine perspective


From a TCM standpoint, there are two fundamental reasons for late periods:

• Deficiency: when blood is insufficient, the Sea of Blood (Chong Mai meridian) is empty with no blood to push down. Early signs are scanty flow of water like menstruation which eventually leads to amenorrhea (the absence of menstrual periods).

• Excess; is more likely caused by an external source that obstructs the passage of the channels, usually causing Qi and/or Blood stagnation.

Cold-dampness and Damp-Heat obstruct Qi flow, thus preventing menstruation from descending. Amenorrhea can occur unexpectedly. 

1.Emotional chronic stress

Anger or chronic stress may cause stagnation of Qi which can lead to Blood stasis over time, resulting in no periods.

Chronic Stress is a very common factors in the development of amenorrhoea. They cause Liver Qi stagnation (the organ responsible for the smooth flow of Qi) this delays the period by blocking the meridians that trigger menstruation. If the period starts again it could be accompanied with PMS symptoms and clots. 


2. Blood Deficiency 

The menstrual meridians cannot start a period at the appropriate time if there is a lack of blood. Blood deficiency relates to low iron levels causing anemia. This can be caused by malnutrition due to poor diet, excessive exercise that leads to the disappearance of menstruation or other chronic health conditions. 



3. Poor diet reduces Qi and Blood and weakens the spleen

A nutrient-deficient diet depletes Qi and Blood, resulting in secondary amenorrhoea from Blood and Spleen deficiencies. Mainly happening when young girls are more inclined to follow a slimming diet.

Dampness and Phlegm from dairy and oily food consumption, attack the spleen and clog the Lower Burner causing amenorrhoea. This is more frequent in women with an overweight medical history.


4. Long-term use of birth control (Contraceptive pill)

When a woman decides to stop the contraceptive pill after a lengthy period of use, her periods typically do not return for a long time. Clinical practice confirms many times woman’s periods don’t return for over a year after being on the pill for several years. The contraceptive pill produces a blood and kidney shortage, which is why periods do not return.



5. Cold Uterus 

Blood can stagnate and clot when exposed to external cold and damp environments. When this occurs, new blood isn’t generated for menstruation, which eventually delays the start of a period. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) believes that a woman’s uterus function is affected by an imbalance in yin and yang. When your uterus becomes too cold—usually because it doesn’t have enough yang—it stops functioning normally. Yang is the warming energy which drives blood flow and works as a catalyst for menstruation. Learn more about cold uterus here


Want To Learn More About Reasons for a Late Period ?

To answer any remaining questions you may have, feel free to contact us. Were happy to walk you through the process, or even schedule a free consultation.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our consultation page where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.

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