You might feel worried about what is going on if you’ve got period symptoms but no period, and you know you’re not pregnant. There can be different reasons for this, and not all of them are things you need to worry about. In most cases, they’ll turn out to be something that can be treated, or even go away on their own with time and relaxation.
We’ve set out a list of the 15 most common reasons you might get period symptoms, but no period (including pregnancy, because it’s a possibility). If you’re worried about any of them at all, we’d always suggest going to speak to your doctor.
Sometimes, it’s possible for your body to go through all the hormonal changes you’d expect from premenstrual tension (PMT) or premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but not actually release an egg, meaning there will be no blood at the end of it. This is called an anovulatory cycle, and they can happen randomly or be related to something else, such as body weight, nutrition, or being close to menopause.
When you don’t release an egg, you won’t have your period, but you might still get cramping or other little problems associated with the start of a new cycle. It’s also more common than you might think. It’s been suggested that up to 18% of all regular cycles that women, non-binary, and transgender people have are anovulatory.
If you skip more than three cycles in a row, it’s time to speak with your doctor.
Stress is a common reason for missing your period, even if you might not think it would be. It affects your hormone balance, including the hormones that regulate your ovaries and uterine lining. You might still feel the telltale cramps, but there will probably be no blood.
Meaning “middle pain” in German, this is the PMS-like cramping, bloating, and breast tenderness that you might feel about halfway through your menstrual cycle. This should be about day 14, which is roughly when you should start to ovulate.
Having mittelschmerz means there’s no bleeding yet, but it’ll probably be on its way and arrive in about a week or so. It’s also completely normal, and many women experience it.
If you’ve been feeling stomach cramps, especially in your upper belly and almost right after eating, it’s possible that what you’re going through is simply a bout of indigestion. Of course, there will be no blood if it is this, and you might also feel overly hot, or pain between your navel and the lower part of your breastbone. You might also feel bloated, which gives it a PMS-like symptom.
If you’re lactose intolerant, eating something containing it (usually a milk product, like cheese, ice cream, or yoghurt) will probably give you bloating, cramps, and maybe even diarrhoea. These are also premenstrual symptoms, but should go away in a few hours.
It's becoming widely known that most people are naturally lactose intolerant without realising (makes sense seeing as we're not baby cows!), so why not give plant-based alternatives a try? You can find great plant-based milk like oat, rice, nut or soy milk that tastes better than cow’s milk and is better for your health, the animals and the environment!
Missing periods can often happen when you have a poor diet, drink a large amount of caffeine, or drink more alcohol than is normally recommended. You might still experience other premenstrual symptoms at this time, but there will be no blood.
Everyone points to missing periods as a sign of pregnancy. If you’ve had unprotected sex in the last month, used the “pull-out” method of contraception, or haven’t taken birth control as you might have, you might want to check with a pregnancy test.
Some symptoms of early pregnancy can mimic the symptoms of PMS. These symptoms include cramps, fatigue, mood swings, and breast tenderness. It never hurts to be sure, if it’s possible for you!
Iron deficiency is a common reason for getting period symptoms, but no period. If you’re not taking in enough iron, have heavy periods, or an inability to absorb iron into your body, then your menstrual cycle might suddenly stop.
Exercising too much
Something many of us like to do to take the edge off cramping and other symptoms of PMS is go to the gym. However, it’s actually been found that having too hard a workout or working out too much can actually have a bad effect on your menstrual cycle, either by making it irregular or by making you miss it that month altogether.
The physical stress might make menstruation stop, so there will be no bleeding but you might still find that you’re getting some slight spotting, alongside acne and cramps. This is because the physical stress of exercise can cause hormonal fluctuations.
Positions during sex
This is an odd one, but certain positions during sex can lead to cramps and discomfort. This is because these positions are harder on the vagina and female organs, especially the uterus and the ovaries.
Hormonal birth control
If you know you’re not pregnant because you’ve recently had a hormonal IUD implanted, you might be experiencing one of the side effects. One of the ways it prevents pregnancy is by thinning out the lining in the uterus, so that there’s nothing to shed when your period would normally come around.
If you’re taking oral contraceptive pills, you might also find your menstrual flow is super-light, or only end up as spotting. Feeling the same symptoms you might have while not on them, such as cramps or breast tenderness, is also common.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
This is when your body has an excess of chemicals in the body that relate to ovary function, weight gain, hair growth, and sensitivity to insulin. It’s mostly known for causing cysts to grow on a person’s ovaries, which can cause pelvic pain that feels like cramping if they rupture or cause the ovary to twist.
Having PCOS can often cause anovulatory cycles or irregular spotting.
Endometriosis is when the tissue that normally grows inside your uterus grows outside of it, especially in the pelvic area. This can cause a lot of cramping or other PMS symptoms (like mood swings), which may make you feel like you’re on your period days or weeks earlier than it would ordinarily come. It can even last for days after your period has ended.
If you’re having trouble living everyday life with these symptoms, please speak to your doctor.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Alongside cramps with UTIs, you might also find that you feel like you need to go to the toilet more often, find it more urgent to go to the toilet more often, and going to the toilet might hurt more (it feels like burning). You might also bleed when going to the toilet.
If you think the reason for your cramping is a UTI, talk to your doctor and get it treated as soon as possible.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Cramping is a common complaint from those who suffer from IBS, as is either constipation or diarrhoea, both of which are common for those heading for their time of the month. It’s even possible for people with IBS to have both constipation and diarrhoea, which can cause even more discomfort that might feel like period pain.
Find your perfect fit for your period
We know exactly what it’s like to worry about periods, and we want you to have some stress taken out of yours when it arrives. That’s why we’ve created a super-soft, stylish, and absorbent range of period underwear for you to try.
With multi-layer technology built in, you’re guaranteed a clean, dry, leak-proof experience every month, no matter your flow or what you’ve got planned. With all our collections, from Sleep Shorts to Hipsters, you’ll even find your perfect pants in a style that suits you!
Buy a couple of pairs of fluxies period pants to get yourself started and pass your next period in complete comfort. When you’re done, you can even just bung your pairs straight in the wash and wait for the next time ‒ menstrual products have never been so sustainable!