Missed Period on Pill: Top 8 Causes

If you’ve had a missed period on the pill, then this article is for you. Below, we’ll show you the top 8 causes for why this happened.

In a perfect world, things like this don’t happen. But since we don’t live in a perfect world, we need to investigate this strange symptom.

Women around the world use birth control so that they don’t accidentally get pregnant. In fact, oral contraceptives are one of the best ways to prevent this.

But if you miss your period while taking it, it might make your heart sink. In this article, we’ll talk about whether this means you’re pregnant, as well as discuss other possible explanations.

Does a Missed Period on the Pill Mean Pregnancy?

In most cases, no. So, you can eliminate a degree of worry right there. The chances are very low that you’ve gotten pregnant while on the pill.

Remember, women can miss their period when they’re not on the pill and for no apparent reason, so it’s nothing to stress over.

However, if you miss your period for a second time then you should probably do a pregnancy test.

Just because the chances are low, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get pregnant when you’re on the pill.

Possible Explanations for a Missed Period on the Pill

In this article, we’re going to talk about 8 possible scenarios that can cause you to miss your period while on the pill.

We encourage you to explore each of these possibilities to see which one is most likely in your situation.

If after reading this article you haven’t reached a conclusion, then we recommend scheduling a visit with your primary care physician.

Cause #1: Placebo Pills

The first and arguably most common cause is that you’re taking placebo pills. Most women will begin their period on the 3rd day of taking the placebo pills (the last seven pills in the pack).

Placebo pills are usually colored differently than the other pills.

If you take all the placebo pills and haven’t started your period, then there’s a chance that you’re pregnant.

Cause #2: Seasonal Cycle

Believe it or not, there are some birth control pills that will cause you to experience your period about four times a year.

As you can imagine, these contraceptive pills can trick you into think that you’ve had a missed period on the pill.

If you’re taking seasonal pills (which should be clearly labeled on the package) then expect fewer periods throughout the year.

Cause #3: You’re Pregnant

Contraceptive pills aren’t 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. Though the chances are extremely low, it’s still possible for you to get pregnant while taking them.

While this is unfortunate, it’s the reality of having unprotected sex while on the pill. If you’ve missed several periods in a row, and you’re not taking seasonal pills, then you’re probably pregnant.

Cause #4: Adjustment Phase

As with any type of medication, it takes time for the medication to start working in your body. During this adjustment phase, it’s possible to still get pregnant.

Use caution during this time span. How long is the adjustment phase? There’s no definitive answer. Every woman’s physiology is different so the adjustment phase for each woman will also be different.

Cause #5: Hormonal Fluctuations

Having a missed period on the pill can be the result of hormonal fluctuations. The ingredients in birth control pills can stop your period sporadically.

Some pills have the potential to stop your period indefinitely. It really depends on how the ingredients in the pill react with your body. Just know that hormonal fluctuations play a big role.

Cause #6: Lifestyle Changes

Have you made any dramatic lifestyle changes recently? If so, this can be a cause of your symptom.

For instance, if you’ve made drastic changes in your diet then this can cause a shift in the frequency of your menstrual cycle.

It’s also possible that you’ve stopped exercising and/or suddenly starting gaining weight. Explore any recent lifestyle changes that you’ve made.

Cause #7: Illness

There are a variety of illnesses that can cause a missed period on the pill. These include kidney disease, ovarian cysts, and thyroid problems.

Even depression has been known to play a crucial role in period frequency. If you’ve missed more than one period, and you aren’t pregnant, then mention this on your next visit to the doctor.

Cause #8: Taking Other Medications

Are you taking other medications besides your birth control pills? If so, these can cause your body to act in strange ways.

Medications like antipsychotics, steroids, and antidepressants can react with the ingredients in birth control pills and cause you to miss your period. Talk to your doctor about any medications that you’re taking with your contraceptive pills.

What Now?

Here’s how you should react if you’ve missed your period on the pill:

  • If You’ve Missed One Period: If you haven’t skipped any pills and you’ve only missed one period, and if you don’t have any additional symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, etc.) then you’re probably not pregnant. In this case, just wait and see what happens.
  • If You’ve Missed Two Periods: Missing two periods should cause a little more concern, but it doesn’t mean you’re pregnant. At this point, you should take a pregnancy test just to be sure that you’re not pregnant.
  • If You’ve Missed Three Periods: If you’ve missed three consecutive periods, and you’re not on seasonal pills, then the chances are high that you’re pregnant. If your pregnancy test comes back negative, then talk with your doctor about switching birth control pills.

Remember that it’s possible to get pregnant while on the pill. So, if you really don’t want to get pregnant then it’s highly recommend that you use additional precautions (like using a condom).


Having a missed period on the pill can cause you to feel anxious about being pregnant. But you shouldn’t jump to conclusions so quickly. First, see whether you’re taking seasonal pills.

If you are, then it’s completely natural to have only four periods a year. If you’re not on seasonal pills, and have missed three or more periods, get a pregnancy test.

If it comes back negative, then your current contraceptive pill obviously isn’t good for your body and you’ll need to get on a new one.

Ask a Question: If you want to ask a medical doctor a question that hasn't been answered in one of our articles go to: Ask a Medical Doctor About your Symptoms

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