While a period brings along a week of cramps and other unpleasant symptoms, it is still an important aspect of a woman’s monthly cycle, and its absence may signal that something is wrong.
A urinary tract infection (UTI), being an infection that affects the urinary tract, does not impact a woman’s menstrual cycle. While the stress associated with the infection may delay the period, in most cases the period delay is likely due to another cause.
Can Having a UTI Delay Your Period?
Because of the proximity of the urinary tract to the vagina and other reproductive organs, some people may wonder if a UTI is the reason behind a late period. However, UTIs only involve the urinary tract and do not directly affect the reproductive organs or the menstrual cycle.
Can UTI Antibiotics Delay Your Period?
The only way to cure a UTI is through antibiotics, which are often prescribed in oral doses. Some of the most common antibiotics used to treat UTIs include:
While these antibiotics fight the infection by stopping bacteria from multiplying or killing them, they do not affect the hormones responsible for regulating menstruation.
One antibiotic, rifampin, may impact hormone levels and delay your period, though. However, while it can be effective against UTIs when used with trimethoprim, it is not a common prescription for this type of infection.
What Can Delay Your Period?
While pregnancy is the most common condition associated with a late or missed period, other health conditions can also cause this to occur.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may miss periods and have fewer periods in a year (less than 8). This is because, with PCOS, the body produces too much androgen, which prevents the egg from developing or releasing properly and then affects their period. In some cases, someone with PCOS may stop having periods entirely.
However, not everyone with PCOS experiences delayed or missed periods, with some women experiencing the opposite with periods that occur every 21 days or more frequently.
Both hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone production) and hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone production) can cause irregular menstrual cycles.
With hypothyroidism, high thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH) causes the pituitary gland to release prolactin. Too much prolactin in the body interferes with the production of estrogen by the ovaries, which can cause delayed or absent periods.
With hyperthyroidism, too much thyroid hormones cause an increase in sex hormone binging globulin (SHBG), which can prevent ovulation and delay or prevent a period.
When a woman goes through menopause, her body’s production of female sex hormones, such as estrogen, decreases. This can cause periods to become more erratic before entirely disappearing.
Research has shown that up to half of all women with diabetes also have irregular periods. This is likely because type 2 diabetes increases the risk of the ovaries not releasing an egg, which then stops a period from occurring.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Primary ovarian insufficiency occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop working before they turn 40. One of the first symptoms of this condition is irregular or missed periods.
Could You Be Pregnant Instead?
If you are sexually active and have a late or missed period, pregnancy is possible.
Even more, some of the symptoms of early pregnancy share symptoms with UTIs, such as:
- frequent urination
It’s also possible to have a UTI while pregnant, which requires prompt treatment to avoid the development of a more serious infection with severe complications for the mother and developing baby.
Can A UTI Affect Your Period at All?
While the infection itself may not affect your period, it is still possible for a period to be delayed when sick with a UTI.
However, your upcoming period may be what contributes to a UTI instead of the other way around. This is because, with your period, your estrogen production lowers. Estrogen has anti-inflammatory properties that protect against infection and keep the good bacteria in the vagina (that keep harmful bacteria levels low) healthy and active. When estrogen levels dip, you become more vulnerable to infection.
When To See a Doctor?
If you have any symptoms of a UTI, it is crucial to see a doctor right away. If left untreated, a UTI can develop into a kidney infection which can have serious complications, so quick treatment of a UTI is recommended.
If you have any symptoms of a kidney infection, it is important to seek immediate medical services. Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
- pain in the back and sides
- bloody or cloudy urine
- foul smelling urine
- nausea and vomiting
Get Help from an Online Doctor!
With DrHouse, you can meet with an online doctor in just 15 minutes to discuss your symptoms and receive an antibiotic. For those with a delayed period but no UTI symptoms, your doctor can discuss with you what else might be causing this delay and what you can do.
For those with frequent UTIs, your online doctor can also discuss lifestyle changes that may help limit their appearance, such as:
- drinking lots of water
- urinating when the feeling arises
- wiping from front to back after a bowel movement
- urinating right after having sex
A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, and despite being located near the reproductive organs, a UTI cannot delay your period. However, the stress inflicted on the body by the infection may cause a delay.
If your period is late, some potential causes may be pregnancy, polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid disorders, menopause, uncontrolled diabetes, or primary ovarian insufficiency.
If you frequently have a delayed or missed period, it is best to discuss this with a doctor to determine the cause behind this. Additionally, if you think you have a UTI, speak to a doctor to receive antibiotic treatment and avoid a more severe infection.
- Urinary Tract Infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/uti.html
- Polycystic ovary syndrome | Office on Women’s Health. (2022). https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/polycystic-ovary-syndrome
- Shim, U., Oh, J., Lee, H., Hong, Y., & Sung, Y. (2011). Long Menstrual Cycle Is Associated with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Korean Women. Diabetes &Amp; Metabolism Journal, 35(4), 384. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.4093/dmj.2011.35.4.384
- Nagma, S. (2015). To Evaluate the Effect of Perceived Stress on Menstrual Function. JOURNAL OF CLINICAL AND DIAGNOSTIC RESEARCH. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.7860/jcdr/2015/6906.5611
- Habak PJ, Griggs, Jr RP. Urinary Tract Infection In Pregnancy. [Updated 2022 Jul 5]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537047/
- Saliba, W., Nitzan, O., Chazan, B., & Elias, M. (2015). Urinary tract infections in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: review of prevalence, diagnosis, and management. Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome And Obesity: Targets And Therapy, 129. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.2147/dmso.s51792
- Aziz, K., Shahbaz, A., Umair, M., Sharifzadeh, M., & Sachmechi, I. (2018). Hyperprolactinemia with Galactorrhea Due to Subclinical Hypothyroidism: A Case Report and Review of Literature. Cureus. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.7759/cureus.2723
- Selva, D., & Hammond, G. (2009). Thyroid hormones act indirectly to increase sex hormone-binding globulin production by liver via hepatocyte nuclear factor-4α. Journal Of Molecular Endocrinology, 43(1), 19-27. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1677/jme-09-0025