For many women that have a regular menstrual cycle it can be alarming to be a few days late…

For many women that have a regular menstrual cycle it can be alarming to be a few days late. The most common thing to do is to buy a pregnancy test.  If this test is negative you might be confused but it is actually fairly common.

This can happen when you are actually pregnant, meaning that this test gave you a false negative.

The most common causes for a false negative test are listed below.

  • Low sensitivity of the test. Not all home pregnancy tests are made the same. There are some with worst detection levels than others, meaning that they are not able to detect lower levels of hCG (hormone of pregnancy) in urine.
  • You took the test too early. If you take the test too soon after conception the hormone levels could not be high enough for detection by a home pregnancy test. Even the most sensitive tests can only be performed three to four days before your expected
  • Your urine is too diluted. If you drank a lot of water before taking the test so your urine might lack enough concentration of hCG to be in the detectable levels.
  • hCG levels are not high yet. Every woman is different and production of hCG varies in rate and concentration after implantation of the fertilized egg.
  • The test has a late reaction. Pregnancy tests are based on specific antibodies that attach themselves to hCG. These antibodies might not be the most appropriate to attach to your particular hCG, which leads to delayed positivity of the test. Also the positive band might be very light and interpreted as negative.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. If you develop an ectopic pregnancy, in which the egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, the levels of hCG produced can be very low.
  • Late ovulation. It is possible to experience sometimes late ovulation that leads to implantation of the egg later than normal in the menstrual cycle.

Therefore, if you really need to know if you are pregnant as soon as possible, you have to take a few things into consideration. You should: use a pregnancy test that has a high sensitivity, use the first urine of the day since it is more concentrated, and read carefully all the instructions that come with the test to ensure that you use it correctly. If your period does not appear after a few days and you start experiencing symptoms of pregnancy, you should contact your doctor in order to perform a blood test, which is always more reliable in determining if you are pregnant.

If you missed your period it does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant. The menstrual cycle is controlled by hormones that act in synergy to assure that the egg is formed, released and, in case of it not being fertilized and implanted in the uterine wall, the lining of the uterus sheds causing your period. For many women ovulation does not occur regularly, leading to irregular menstrual cycles. This means that it is impossible to predict when the next period will occur and this can be interpreted as a missed period by the woman experiencing it.

This type of situation occurs for a variety of reasons and if missing a period is a regular occurrence to you, you should contact your physician. In fact even women that have normal menstrual cycles can have a late period due to a disruption in the hormonal balance. This can be caused by many factors such as stress, lack of sleep, jet lag, or even too much exercise. In any case if a late period gives you some concern you should visit your doctor that preform some tests in order to see if your hormonal balance is affected and recommend you nutritional supplements  or other strategies to regulate your cycle.

The most common causes for a missed period, besides pregnancy, are:

  • Thyroid problems.
  • Abnormal prolactine production.
  • Peri-menopause.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
  • Excessive loss or gain of weight.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Excessive exercise.
  • Illegal drug use.
  • Breast-feeding .