Pregnancy test is negative but no period: here are the reasons why


by Lorna White |
Updated on

We've always been led to think that a missed period equals pregnancy. So if you've got no period but a negative pregnancy test, it's understandable why you might be feeling a little confused. Could it be a phantom pregnancy or a real pregnancy?

Could it be a faulty pregnancy test? Or could there be something else going on? To help you understand what's happening, we've rounded up all the possible reasons your pregnancy test might be showing a negative result despite your period not showing up.

1) Hormone levels

Sometimes, it's simply just a case of there not being enough human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your pee. This is the hormone we produce when pregnant, and if it's too early on in your pregnancy, your pregnancy test might not be able to detect it yet. If you've been quite eager to take a pregnancy test, it might be worth waiting a few more days then retesting, as the hCG levels will be higher if you're pregnant.

2) Anovulation

Anovulation is when an egg doesn't release from your ovary during your menstrual cycle. It mostly affects those with PCOS, girls who have only just started their periods and women in perimenopause. It can also affect those with a very low BMI. It's fairly common, affecting around 1 in 10 women of child bearing age at some point in their lives, however, if you think you're experiencing anovulation and you're trying to conceive, it's worth speaking to your GP about.

3) Lifestyle factors

Whether your period is very late or just hasn't come at all this month, it doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant. A number of lifestyle factors can put the brakes on your period including stress, weight loss and obesity. Have a think about whether you are under a lot of stress at the minute. Has your diet been impacted by this?

4) Breastfeeding

If you're still breastfeeding your baby, it can take several months for your periods to return after giving birth. This is because the hormone that causes us to lactate can also stop you from ovulating. Don't use this as a method of contraception however as you can still get pregnant while breastfeeding.

5) Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

For those with PCOS, irregular periods are very common, making it much more difficult to get pregnant. If you have PCOS and you're trying to get pregnant, it's worth taking regular pregnancy tests just in case you happen to conceive naturally. It's also worth speaking to your GP about what options you have if you've been trying to get pregnant naturally for a while with no luck.

6) Thyroid problems

The thyroid gland plays a very important role in your reproductive health, directly affecting your ovaries. If you suffer from severe thyroid disease, it can cause your periods to stop for several months or longer. In some cases, it can also cause heavy bleeding. If you suffer from thyroid disease and it's affecting your reproductive health, it's a good idea to speak with your GP.

7) Medication or birth control

If your birth control stops your periods or if you're regularly skipping periods, it's unlikely you'll be able to spot a missed or delayed period. That's why it's a good idea to keep a stock of pregnancy tests to regularly take in case your pill lets you down.

It's not just birth control that can impact your periods, but other medication can too. If you've recently started some new medication and your periods have stopped, this could be the cause.

8) Menopause

Could you be experiencing perimenopause? This is the transition to the menopause, and it's normal to experience irregular periods as well as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, low sex drive, fatigue and more.

What to do if your pregnancy test is negative, but your period is late

Firstly, wait a few days to a week and do another test, as you could be experiencing a false-negative result. In the meantime, you might want to consider all the factors above to help yourself rule out any possible causes. If your second pregnancy test is still negative, then book in to speak to your GP.

When to contact a doctor about your periods

If a late period isn't normal for you and you have drawn out the possibility of pregnancy, then it's a good idea to speak to your GP to identify any potential underlying causes. Especially if this is starting to happen regularly.

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