A woman will have a regular menstrual cycle after adolescence, with periods happening around the same time each month. The length of a menstrual cycle varies from person to person and can usually range from 24 to 35 days, but the average cycle is about 28 days.
Oligomenorrhea, which affects many women, is characterised by irregular periods that may begin sooner or later in their cycles, be very heavy or light, or linger for a protracted period of time.
It’s crucial to monitor your period and make an appointment with a doctor if it begins acting strangely because your monthly cycle is frequently a reliable indicator of your general health.
In fact, there are a variety of causes for irregular periods, and not all of them will call for medical attention. Read on as we go over a few typical causes of irregular periods, what they can signify for your health, and when you should consult a doctor.
What is an Irregular Period?
When your menstrual cycle length unexpectedly deviates from its typical range, you have an irregular period.
Abnormal uterine bleeding and the following symptoms can accompany irregular periods:
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than usual
- Spotting or bleeding in between periods
- Heavy bleeding during your period
- Bleeding after menopause
- Bleeding after sexual activity
A lot of women get regular menstruation after adolescence. The cycle will occasionally differ by a few days, though, and that is typical.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) estimates that between nine and fourteen percent of women experience irregular periods between the time of their first period and menopause.
If you are also experiencing these symptoms then it’s time to book an appointment with a gynecologist doctor.
Causes of Irregular Periods
The following are the causes of irregular periods in females.
1. Hormonal Contraception
Hormonal changes brought on by using contraception are one of the most prevalent causes of irregular periods. The contraceptive pill, coil, implant, and patches can all lead to erratic periods or even the cessation of your period entirely.
Your menstrual cycle may change if you change your contraceptive method.
Nonetheless, many women who use hormonal contraception maintain a typical, regular menstrual cycle.
It is crucial to discuss the best form of contraception with your doctor because there are many to pick from.
PCOS affects around 1 in 4 women around the world and is characterised by the development of tiny cysts on the ovaries, which impairs their functionality.
The most typical symptom of PCOS is irregular or no periods since women with it don’t ovulate or release an egg each month.
PCOS can also lead to infertility, however many people discover that they are able to get pregnant too.
The uterine lining tissue can grow outside of the uterus due to the disorder known as endometriosis, which affects about 10% of women.
Periods are very painful and frequently erratic which is brought on by endometriosis. Bleeding between periods is possible, and periods may last considerably longer than they should.
Together with bowel issues, sex pain, infertility, and gastrointestinal pain, endometriosis can also cause a wide range of other painful symptoms.
Endometriosis is a chronic ailment that can take several years to diagnose and seek treatment for. So if you’re suffering from any of the above symptoms, you should talk to your doctor.
4. Thyroid problems
Period irregularities could be a sign that your thyroid is not working properly.
Together with other symptoms, thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause excessive fatigue, weight gain, and depression with the problem of irregular periods.
A woman’s estrogen levels will change during perimenopause, which happens a few years before menopause starts.
During this time, periods may become irregular. In the perimenopause years, spotting between periods, light or heavy periods, shorter or longer periods, or skipped periods are all common occurrences.
But, if you start bleeding profusely at this time in your life, you should talk to your doctor since it may be an indication of a different medical condition that is sometimes misdiagnosed as a menopausal symptom.
6. Weight gain or weight loss
The body can suffer while experiencing extreme weight gain or reduction in a short amount of time.
You may get irregular periods as a result of how it affects your hormones and throws them out of balance.
Periods may completely stop in some individuals who follow very stringent calorie restrictions and diets, or who have started exercising intensively.
Moreover, periods can also be irregular if you are highly overweight. For details and suggestions, consult your doctor.
Stress has an impact on more than just your mood; it can also directly alter your menstrual cycle, libido, blood pressure, and sleep patterns.
When we experience intense anxiety or worry, the stress hormone cortisol is released into the body, which may have an impact on our levels of estrogen and progesterone and, in turn, have an effect on our menstrual cycle, leading a period to arrive late, early, or not at all.
Using efficient coping strategies for day-to-day challenges and minimising stress can both be beneficial.
Many people discover that stress-reduction techniques like yoga or Pilates or low-intensity, relaxing workouts like meditation and breathing exercises, a nutritious diet, and enough sleep can all help.
What treatment is available for irregular periods?
Regular periods will often return in the majority of women without the need for treatment.
The menstrual cycle can frequently be regulated with only a change in lifestyle, such as adopting a healthier, more balanced diet or lowering stress levels.
Those who experience more severe symptoms, nevertheless, should visit a doctor.
Oral contraceptives, which can help to control the menstrual cycle and lessen issues like excessive or prolonged bleeding, are the most prevalent form of treatment.
When should you see a doctor for irregular periods?
Menstrual health is important since it has a direct impact on many other aspects of life, including metabolism, fertility, sleep, and many more, including heart health. Therefore, seeing a doctor is highly recommended, especially if you are under the age of 45.
If your menstrual cycle is normally regular but your periods suddenly become irregular or you’re experiencing extreme period fatigue for seemingly no reason, then visiting a doctor is strongly advised. You may consult one of the best gynaecologists in your town.