What do you do when your period still hasn’t come, but your pregnancy test comes back negative? Could it be a false result, or is there something else delaying your period? Should you take another test (or two… or three) just to be sure? 

We get it. A missed period can be alarming, especially if you don’t want to be pregnant. However, it’s possible that something else is causing the delay. Today, we’re exploring what can cause a late period, other than pregnancy.  

What Can Cause a Late Period (Other than Pregnancy)

There are several reasons your period is late. Common factors include stress, diet and exercise, birth control, and certain health conditions. 

1. Stress

When you experience stress, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. The higher your cortisol levels, the more likely you are to have irregular or missing periods[1]. Stressful situations that may cause a missed period include[2]:

  • Major life events, like a wedding, break up, or the loss of a loved one
  • School-related stress, such as final exams or projects
  • Work-related stress, such as a hostile office environment or job loss 

2. Extreme Diet and Exercise

A healthy diet and exercise can transform your body. However, overdoing it can have negative consequences. Even if you’ve had regular periods in the past, you may start skipping them due to extreme diet, weight loss, or exercise—a condition known as secondary amenorrhea. This can happen if you[2]:

  • Suffer from an eating disorder
  • Eat an extreme, low-calorie diet
  • Lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time 
  • >Engage in intense workout routines (such as marathon training)

3. Hormonal Birth Control

Going on or off birth control pills can affect your period. For example, if you skip the hormone-free week, you may only have light spotting or miss your period altogether. Additionally, after stopping birth control, you may experience irregular or missed periods href=”https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-is-my-period-late/”>2].

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem with your hormones that causes irregular periods. It interferes with your body’s ability to ovulate (release an egg). If an egg isn’t released to meet the sperm, you won’t get pregnant, and your pregnancy test result will be negative. However, if you don’t ovulate, you usually won’t have a period either[2].

5. Thyroid Problems

Your thyroid helps control your period. If you have an overactive or underactive thyroid, it might cause a delayed period[2]. Thyroid problems are quite common, affecting up to 10% of menstruating women[2]. If you think your thyroid might be affecting your menstrual cycle, reach out to your doctor to discuss diagnosis and treatment options. 

Now What?

If your period hasn’t started, wait a week, then take another pregnancy test[3]. Want a second opinion? EPS offers free medical-grade pregnancy tests, administered by licensed medical professionals. We’re here to answer your questions and provide the care you deserve. 

If you miss three consecutive periods, contact your healthcare provider. They will help you take the steps to figure out what’s causing your missed period.

Free Pregnancy Tests and Ultrasounds in Omaha, NE

A negative pregnancy test might come as a relief if you’ve missed a period and you were not intending to become pregnant, but it may leave you with more questions than answers. The good news is that you don’t have to face this alone. EPS is here to help!

To speak with a nurse now, call or text (402) 554-1000. You also may request your appointment online. 

All services provided at EPS are free, such as pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, STI screening and treatment, professional counseling, material assistance, and more! Please be aware that we do not provide ultrasounds with a negative pregnancy test. We do offer repeat tests in one week.



  1. Can Stress Cause You to Skip a Period? Cleveland Clinic. (2020, September 18). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/can-stress-cause-you-to-skip-a-period/  
  2. 8 Reasons Why Your Period Is Late. Cleveland Clinic. (2023, April 20). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-is-my-period-late/ 
  3. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, December 23). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results? Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940