Irregular menstruation, also known as irregular periods, can refer to a range of menstrual cycle irregularities. This can include anything from missed or infrequent periods to irregular bleeding or changes in the duration and flow of periods.
Irregular periods can be as a result of illnesses, contraception(birth control), stress, changes in weight, and certain medications.
This post will walk you through what irregular periods are and what to do about it.
Why Should Women be Concerned About irregular periods?
- Irregular periods could be due to a serious medical condition that may require immediate medical attention. Failure to treatment may cause problems.
- Irregular periods can sometimes affect fertility.
- Untreated health conditions that cause irregular periods can have long-term health consequences.
- Irregular periods can lead to unplanned pregnancies.
How to know your period is irregular
There are a number of signs that may imply that your period is irregular. Just ensure you track the menstruation cycle and keep records.
1. Infrequent periods.
If you are not pregnant and you are not experiencing menopause, but you are having fewer periods than usual, this can be a sign of irregularity.
2. Missed periods.
If you are not pregnant and you are not experiencing menopause, but you are missing periods entirely, this can be a sign of irregularity.
3. Changes in the duration and flow of your periods.
If your periods are normally regular but you notice that they are becoming longer or shorter, or the flow is changing, this can be a sign of irregularity.
4. Irregular bleeding.
If you are experiencing bleeding at unpredictable times, outside of your usual period, this can be a sign of irregularity.
Ensure you seek medical help if you are experiencing anything that might insinuate your period is irregular.
What causes irregular periods?
There are a couple of reasons why periods could be irregular, and the specific cause is different for every individual.
Causes of irregular periods include:
1. Hormonal imbalances.
The hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle can become imbalanced for a variety of reasons, including changes in weight, excessive exercise, and certain medical conditions. This can lead to irregular periods.
Stress can affect the body in many ways, including disrupting the hormonal balance that regulates the menstrual cycle. This can lead to irregular periods.
3. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
It could be a reason your period is not regular.
4. Thyroid disorders.
Thyroid disorders can also cause irregular periods.
Pregnancy can cause periods to stop altogether, or to become irregular.
As women approach menopause, their hormone levels begin to change, which can cause periods to become irregular before they stop altogether.
Treatment options for irregular periods
The treatment options for irregular periods are highly dependent on why you are having irregular menstruation. Some possible treatment options include:
- Hormonal birth control: For women who are not trying to conceive, hormonal birth control can help regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent irregular periods.
- Medications to regulate hormones: In some cases, medications such as clomiphene or metformin can help regulate the hormones that control the menstrual cycle and improve regularity.
- Lifestyle changes: You might not be aware but some things that we do have a greater impact on our health. For instance, handling stress, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight, can help keep the menstrual cycle in check and improve regularity.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove growths or cysts that are interfering with the menstrual cycle.
- Treating underlying medical conditions: If a medical condition such as PCOS or a thyroid disorder is causing irregular periods, treating the underlying condition can help regulate the menstrual cycle.
What to do when your period delays
If your period is delayed and you think you may be pregnant, the first step is to take a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, you should contact your healthcare provider to discuss your options and receive appropriate prenatal care.
If the test is negative and you are not pregnant, then other reasons might be the culprit for a delayed period. These can include stress, changes in weight, excessive exercise, and certain medical conditions. Schedule an appointment with a gynecologist if you have irregular periods and are not sure why that is happening.
In the meantime, you can try to manage the symptoms of a delayed period by getting plenty of rest, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Avoiding stress and practicing relaxation techniques can also be helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I be concerned about irregular periods?
Irregular periods can be a sign of unknown illnesses that could require medical attention. In some cases, irregular periods can indicate hormone issues or other issues that can affect fertility.
Additionally, irregular periods can sometimes be a sign of more serious health problems, such as endometriosis, PID, or thyroid disorders. These conditions require treatment as failure may lead to long-term repercussions.
How do I fix an irregular period?
To fix an irregular period, the cause for it needs to be treated. For instance, if it is PCOS leading to an irregular period, then treatment needs to commence to avoid irregular periods.
If stress is the cause, treatment may involve stress-reduction techniques such as therapy or exercise. Consult a doctor for more informed treatment options.