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Late Period, Negative Pregnancy Test: Possible Causes

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

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 called secondary amenorrhea. This can happen if you[2]:

  • Engage in intense workout routines (such as marathon training)

  • Lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time

  • Eat an extreme, low-calorie diet

  • Suffer from an eating disorder

3. Hormonal Birth Control

Going on or off birth control can affect your period. For example, after stopping birth control, you may experience irregular or missed periods[2]. On the other hand, if you skip the hormone-free week, you may only experience light spotting or skip your period altogether.

4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects your hormones and causes irregular periods. It interferes with your body’s ability to release an egg (ovulate). 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? CORE Healthcare for Women of Central Georgia offers free lab-grade pregnancy tests, administered by a registered nurse or nurse practitioner. 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 Central GA

A negative pregnancy test should come as a relief if you’ve missed a period, but it may leave you with more questions than answers. The good news is that you don’t have to face this alone. CORE Healthcare for Women of Central Georgia provides free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, so you can confirm your pregnancy (or lack thereof) in a compassionate, nonjudgmental environment.

Give us a call at (478) 216-5176 or schedule your appointment online today! All services are free and confidential.


  1. Can Stress Cause You to Skip a Period? Cleveland Clinic. (2020, September 18).

  2. 8 Reasons Why Your Period Is Late. Cleveland Clinic. (2023, April 20).

  3. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, December 23). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results? Mayo Clinic.

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