What Can Cause a Late Period but Negative Pregnancy Test?

Stress may cause a woman's period to be late.
Certain medications may affect a woman's period.
Home pregnancy test showing positive and negative results.
A negative home pregnancy test does not necessarily mean that a woman is not pregnant, especially with a late period.
Article Details
  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 10 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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In some instances when a woman has a late period but negative pregnancy test, she is indeed pregnant. This can be caused by low hormone levels or faulty testing. In other instances, a woman's period can be delayed or missed for other reasons. These can include stress, illness, or medication.

There are several things that can cause a woman to miss her period but lead to a negative pregnancy test. A woman should not automatically conclude that she is not pregnant, because she may be. Home pregnancy tests determine conception by detecting a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG. The sensitivity of tests can vary, with some requiring a greater presence of hCG in a woman's urine than others.

If a woman takes the test close to the time of conception and she uses a pregnancy test that is not very sensitive, it may indicate that she is not pregnant when she actually is. Although it is relatively rare, it is possible for a woman to get a negative test result when she is experiencing an ectopic pregnancy. This can happen because even though her body produces hCG, it may do so at drastically lower levels that if she were in the midst of a normal pregnancy.

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Sometimes, a negative pregnancy test is the result of impatience. It can be very important to follow the directions on the packaging. Lower levels of hCG may take longer to detect. There is generally a range of time in which results should be produced. Some women discard the test prematurely believing that they received a negative result when a positive will actually display later.

Using an expired pregnancy test can also produce false results. Somewhere on a test's packaging there should be an expiration date or “best before” date. Women should avoid using devices after this time has passed because they may be unreliable.

There may be instances where a late period but negative pregnancy test does not involve a woman being pregnant. In many cases, this type of confusion is the result of a woman experiencing a great deal of stress. Stress can have numerous effects on the body, and for women, one of them is delayed menstruation.

Some illnesses can cause a woman to miss her period. Thyroid conditions are a prime example, because they often affect the body's hormone balance, which can affect a woman's menstrual cycle. Furthermore, certain medications can also have this effect, especially those that are taken as birth control. The irregularities can occur when a woman begins or ends a course of treatment.

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Discuss this Article

jenita
Post 7

I am 25 years old, married and having unprotected sex. My period is two months late. My last menstrual period was 10 weeks ago and until today, there is no sign of a period. I'm having pregnancy symptoms like sore breasts, intense headache, extra vaginal discharge, spotting, stretch marks, tiredness, etc. I took a home pregnancy test and it was negative. I wanted to know if there is something else. Am I pregnant or not? Can someone help me in this case?

anon348441
Post 6

I have never had sex, but my boyfriend ejaculated near my vagina. Can this cause pregnancy? I was supposed to get my period on three days ago, but I'm still due. My period is always regular. Also, during my last period, I was diagnosed with dengue. It took me almost a week to recover. I did a home pregnancy test today and it was negative. Please help me.

anon348434
Post 5

I did my P.T a few days ago and I got a negative result. I waited for about another minute and was sure about the result. I didn't dispose of the test yet. Four days after that, I looked back at the test and I can see double lines. The other is not that faint line. Does this mean that I'm pregnant?

anon315802
Post 3

If a woman missed her period for the first time and she tested positive on a pregnancy test, is there a medicine to sustain her if she and her husband have not planned to actually give birth?

ElizaBennett
Post 2

@Kat919 - That's good advice, but women who, perhaps because of having gotten a missed period and negative test, have realized that they ovulate late or irregularly may want to take more active steps.

First, if you have not gotten your period in a few months, see your doctor; s/he may want to prescribe progesterone to get your cycle going again. (If taking progesterone brings on your period, that yields the helpful information that your body is at least building a uterine lining.)

Second, dietary and lifestyle changes could help regulate your cycle. Basically, eating more healthy fats and less meat and fewer refined carbs helps, and so does getting enough but not too much exercise. (You can look up the Newsweek Fertility Diet for more info.) Some people have also had success using light to regulate their cycles (it has to do with sleeping in complete darkness most of the month, but using a night light when you should be ovulating).

Kat919
Post 1

The problem of a missed period but negative pregnancy test could be mostly avoided if women were more aware of their menstrual cycles. You see, the part that is variable is ovulation. You can ovulate pretty much whenever, but you will get your period about 14 days after ovulation regardless (usual range is 12-16, and anything under 12 could be a hormonal problem). So if you do not get your period on time but you aren't pregnant, you probably ovulated late.

It's especially important for women who are trying to conceive to know when they ovulated. It will help date a pregnancy and also helps the woman to know when to take a pregnancy test. Some women are able to get pretty accurate results by simply charting their cervical fluid, but taking your basal body temperature every morning is a more reliable method.

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