Got two X chromosomes? Then you probably know your period can be more like your flaky friend who always shows up late to drinks (and sometimes not at all) than that super-organized friend who’s early to every group dinner.
First of all, don’t freak out. Irregularities in menstrual cycles aren’t all that rare. Many women experience a missed period every once in a while, and three to four percent of all women will skip at least three cycles at some point in their lives (a condition technically known as oligomennorrhea).
While your initial—and very valid—reaction to skipping a cycle might be that you’re pregnant, a number of lifestyle and health factors can also prompt our menses to take a mini-vacay. (Still, never wait to take an OTC pregnancy test or visit your doc for a blood or urine test to rule out a potential pregnancy.)
But if you’ve skipped three or more periods, and you’re sure you aren’t pregnant, paying a visit to your OB/GYN, GP, or an endocrinologist is non-negotiable. In the meantime, here are seven common reasons your periods could be AWOL—and what you can do to get things back on track.