Why Do I Have Irregular Periods?
Menstruation is a natural phenomenon linked with women’s wellness. It is normal for a woman’s uterine lining to shed at different periods throughout her monthly menstrual cycle. Women’s reproductive systems go through this cycle to prepare for delivery during the pre-pregnancy preparation period. In other situations, it is referred to as a menstrual cycle or period. Regular menstrual cycles are often an indication that your body is in good working order. Periods that are irregular or lengthy are not typical, in addition to being unpleasant. Irregular periods affect many women. Every woman is different, and so does her menstrual cycle. Periods in some women happen like clockwork. Others have a hit-or-miss record. Since it takes several years for the hormones that regulate menstruation to reach equilibrium, it is common for periods to be irregular in the first few years after it begins. Women nearing menopause may have irregular menstrual cycles. Aside from these, a variety of additional factors may contribute to irregular periods.
Sometimes hormonal imbalance may also cause spotting after periods. Intake of hormonal contraceptives also causes bleeding after periods. Additionally, spotting a week before periods is also common in some women and it is usually considered harmless. Bleeding before a period may be a sign of pregnancy or a sign of hormonal changes in the body
Some of the signs of the period come to include mood changes, acne, breast pain, bloating, food cravings, tiredness, and an increase in appetite and thirst. Some women also experience cramps even if their period is a few days late.
What Are Irregular Periods?
Are you concerned about a missed or late period but are certain that you are not pregnant? Other than pregnancy, missed or late periods may occur for a variety of causes.
A typical cycle may last anywhere from 21 to 35 days. Your periods may be irregular if the length of each cycle begins to vary and during your period, you may shed more or less blood than normal. The duration of the days in which menstruation lasts also varies in case of irregular periods. An irregular menstrual cycle is defined as one that is shorter or longer than usual, with more or less bleeding than is normal for the person.
The typical menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, although it may last anywhere from 24 to 38 days. If a woman’s menstrual cycle is shorter than normal, there may be 2 periods in one month. While irregular menstrual cycles are not uncommon, having two periods in a month on a regular basis may suggest an underlying problem. On the other hand, a menstrual cycle that lasts for more than seven days (for instance: a period for two weeks) is referred to as a long period. In some women, there is no period for 2 months. If there is no period for 3 months, it may be due to pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, then the condition may be due to other factors and is known as amenorrhea.
Some of the common irregularities include:
- Amenorrhea: Complete period’s absence
- Polymenorrhea: Gap of fewer than 21 days in between 2 cycles
- Oligomenorrhea: Gap of more than 35 days between 2 cycles
Reason Behind irregular menstrual cycle
Period irregularities may be caused by a variety of factors. Your menstrual cycle may be disrupted by alterations in the hormones progesterone and estrogen. As a result, irregular periods are common among teenage girls approaching puberty and adults nearing menopause. Some of the reasons behind irregular periods are:
This syndrome is characterized by a hormonal imbalance, resulting in an irregular menstrual cycle. Period 2 weeks early can also occur in this condition.
A change in hormone levels, which is common throughout adolescence and menopause, may cause the menstrual cycle to become disrupted.
Hormone levels may be reduced in the body as a consequence of diseases like bulimia or anorexia nervosa, which can disrupt the menstrual cycle.
It leads to elevated blood sugar levels that affect the hormones in the body, culminating in an irregular menstrual cycle.
Women with hypothyroidism i.e. underactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism i.e. overactive thyroid may have menstrual irregularities.
Increased stress hormone levels in the body may either postpone or extend the menstrual cycle. Thus, stress can delay your period.
All these factors lead to sudden changes in menstrual cycle length.
Should I be worried if I Have Irregular Periods?
In most instances, having a few irregular periods per year is normal. If you have any further symptoms, you should see a physician to rule out an ovulation problem or a medical condition as the cause of your symptoms. If you are not currently using contraception and are not yet of reproductive age but have irregular periods, you should see your physician. For example, if you have PCOS, having irregular menstruation may increase your risk of getting uterine cancer.
How to Treat an Abnormal Menstrual Cycle?
Unless your irregular periods are causing you discomfort or if your menstrual cycle is being disrupted by another disease, you are unlikely to need therapy.
The two most frequent reasons for irregular menstruation in women are PCOS and hypothyroidism (insufficient thyroid hormone production). The overall aim of therapy is to reestablish hormonal balance in the body.
If you have PCOS, your doctor may advise you to use birth control pills or other hormone treatments to help you recover control of your period. If you have hypothyroidism, thyroid hormones may be required in certain cases.
If irregular periods persist after three months of hormonal birth control, your doctor may suggest a new form of birth control.
Certain women have menstrual irregularities as a consequence of intense physical exercise. It is likely that you may need to decrease the intensity or frequency of your workouts. If your issues are being caused by stress, knowing how to manage it — and, if required, talking with a counselor — may be helpful.
It is common for women to have irregular menstruation cycles as a result of a hormone deficit or imbalance in their female reproductive system. Oral contraceptives containing the hormones estrogen and progesterone are often prescribed by physicians to help women regulate their irregular periods. Women who do not have regular periods may also be given a hormone called progestin in order to encourage them to start having them. If you have irregular periods and are trying to conceive, your doctor may suggest that you try alternative hormone treatments.
What to Do When Periods are Late or Missed?
Aside from pregnancy, a variety of reasons may cause missed or late periods. Premenstrual syndrome is caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal abnormalities and severe medical conditions. Besides these reasons for late periods, it is also possible that your regular cycle may become unpredictable when your body is undergoing change.
Follow the below tips if your periods are late or missed:
- Practice yoga since it helps in balancing hormone levels
- Maintain a healthy weight to regulate periods
- Exercise regularly to control weight and subsequently regulate periods
- Use ginger as it helps in relieving PMS symptoms
- Add cinnamon to your diet since it aids in regulating menstruation
- Take multivitamins since vitamin deficiency may also cause irregularities in the menstrual cycle
- Intake of apple cider vinegar is beneficial as it helps in weight control and menstruation
- Increase the intake of pineapple as it regulates periods due to the enzyme it contains
By adopting a few simple lifestyle adjustments and utilizing natural treatments, you may be able to restore balance to your menstrual cycle. Some of the natural treatments have been scientifically shown to help in menstrual cycle control.
When Should I talk to my HCP?
If you have been having regular, monthly periods but the pattern has changed, see your doctor. To rule out pregnancy or an, your doctor may do a physical examination as well as additional testing. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor right away:
- You miss three or more periods each year
- You may menstruate more than once every 21 days
- During your period, you are bleeding more than normal
- During your period, you have greater discomfort than normal
- Irregular periods with the inability to get pregnant
If your period is irregularly short or lengthy, or if your menstrual cycle is abrupt, see your doctor. You should also visit a doctor if your period is painful and lengthy, or if it lasts more than a week.
An irregular menstrual cycle has been related to changes in a woman’s estrogen and progesterone levels and is a major concern related to women’s wellness. Prepubescent girls and women nearing menopause are the most common victims of this illness. While irregular periods that occur once or twice a year do not cause concern, missing periods, heavy or light periods, or any other menstrual-related problem should be reported to a doctor for further investigation. Visit us for any issue regarding irregular periods as we at Manhattan Medical Arts can help in providing the best treatment to keep you healthy and well.
– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.
About The AuthorDr. Syra Hanif M.D.
Board Certified Primary Care Physician
Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.Read More