Almost half of women worldwide experience physical and mental symptoms that tell that their period is coming in a few days. You know the pesky PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms we’re talking about — changes in appetite, irritability, breast tenderness or swelling, and mood swings, just to name a few.
Suppose you’re having some of these symptoms and assume your period is near. But then, Aunt Flo never arrives. What else could be going on?
Let’s look at potential reasons you might have period symptoms with no period.
Eight reasons you might be having PMS symptoms and no period
If you’ve been having PMS symptoms but no period, it could mean that those symptoms are from other causes unrelated to your period.
Other conditions and medications can cause symptoms much like those of PMS or cause you to miss a period. It’s always important to note that if you have specific or serious concerns, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Let’s dive into potential causes of PMS without a period.
Early pregnancy signs are almost identical to PMS symptoms (an unfortunate coincidence, we know). Breast tenderness or swelling, nausea, vomiting, tiredness, headache, and mood swings are symptoms you might have before your period or during the early pregnancy stage.
You can take a pregnancy test if you’ve missed your period and still have PMS symptoms. Even if your results say you’re not pregnant, you may want to take another test after a few days as it can take time for pregnancy hormone levels to rise.
See a doctor if it still shows you’re not pregnant but think you might be pregnant or still have these symptoms.
2. Hormonal birth control
When you’re on hormonal birth control, you might have PMS symptoms and not have a period.
Hormonal birth control works to prevent pregnancy via hormones — progestin, estrogen, or progestin-only — and can affect your menstrual cycle. Apart from missing your period, you might have side effects like nausea, tummy cramps, breast tenderness, and headache.
All types of hormonal birth control, including combined oral contraceptive pills, progestin-only pills, patches, hormonal intrauterine devices, vaginal contraceptive rings, and birth control shots, can cause symptoms that look like PMS.
If you’re on hormonal birth control and have been having extreme symptoms that impact your quality of life, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This condition can cause pelvic pain like severe cramping, and may contribute to infertility.
Although endometriosis symptoms can vary person to person, you may experience symptoms that can be mistaken for PMS, including headaches, tiredness, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Other symptoms to look out for that may suggest endometriosis include pain during or after sex, pain while peeing, spotting, painful periods, and heavy periods. If you are concerned you may have endometriosis, we recommend consulting your doctor.
4. Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another condition that can cause a person to miss their period from time to time and have symptoms similar to PMS, even when their period isn’t on its way.
PCOS is a hormonal condition that affects people in their reproductive years and can last a lifetime. This condition causes a person’s ovaries to
- Make too much androgens, i.e. male reproductive hormones
- Not release eggs when they should, leading to ovulatory dysfunction
- Grow bigger with fluid-filled sacs housing immature eggs, called polycystic ovaries
Symptoms common in PCOS that look like PMS include acne, weight gain, and stomach pain. Other symptoms include infertility, excess body hair, and thick skin patches. Many women with PCOS also experience missed periods.
Many women with PCOS experience PMS symptoms and missed periods.
5. Thyroid conditions
PMS without periods may also suggest a thyroid condition.
The thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland found in the neck. It produces the thyroid hormone, which regulates bodily functions, including metabolism and growth. The thyroid hormone also affects menstruation, ovulation, and fertility.
When the thyroid makes too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), a person may experience symptoms that might feel like PMS. These symptoms include tiredness, weight gain, mood swings, anxiety, appetite changes, constipation, and irritability.
They might also not have a period while experiencing these symptoms. If you have specific thyroid concerns, we recommend consulting your doctor.
If you’ve been under a lot of stress, you may feel tired or moody. You might also have body pains, diarrhea, headaches, changes in your appetite, restlessness, and mood swings.
It’s easy to mistake these symptoms for PMS. But if you have these symptoms and miss your period, it could be that your body is stressed. Stress can cause irregular menstruation symptoms but no period, but also including heavy periods, painful periods, irregular menstrual cycles, etc.
Once your stress levels reduce, you might stop having these symptoms, and your period may become regular again.
7. Uterine Polyps
When the lining in the uterus grows abnormally, experts call this overgrowth, uterine polyps. People with uterine polyps may not show any symptoms. But if they do, these symptoms may appear as irregular periods, spotting, long periods, heavy periods, and fertility issues.
Uterine polyps may also cause cramping like PMS when you’re not on your period.
8. Pelvic inflammatory disease
Having PMS symptoms without a period might be a sign of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of the cervix, uterine lining, or fallopian tubes.
It might happen if a person has a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea, or bacterial vaginosis (BV). A person may also have PID from a vaginal birth or surgery.
PID might cause you to have PMS symptoms like lower belly pain and can also cause you to miss your period. Other symptoms of PID include fever, pain during sex, vaginal discharge, and pain while urinating.
PID may cause you to have PMS symptoms like lower belly pain and can also cause you to miss your period.
When should you see a doctor for PMS symptoms without a period?
See a doctor at any point in time you feel like you’re having PMS symptoms and don’t see your period. A doctor may get to the root of it and find a treatment for whatever might be causing it.
Of course, if you think you might be pregnant, you can take a pregnancy test on the day of your missed period or a few days after.