Irregular periods can be a hard subject to tackle because defining them is difficult; what is irregular for one woman can be regular for another. Nonetheless, irregular periods can be worrying, particularly if it is the first time that your menstrual cycle is inconsistent. How do you know when you should be alarmed by your symptoms, or if the irregularity can be corrected? Keep reading below to answer all your questions.
How Do I Know if I Am Having Irregular Periods?
Irregular periods will be different for each person. A regular cycle is defined as occurring every 28 days with a bleeding period that typically lasts five days. The menstrual cycle varies for every woman depending on her hormones. To help determine whether or not you have an irregular period and if your cycle has become abnormal, calculate how long your menstrual cycle usually lasts. Irregular periods are usually defined as being too frequent or infrequent, but you may also experience a change in the duration and flow.
Why Am I Having Irregular Periods?
There are various reasons why you could be having irregular periods. Some of the following are the most common.
Menopause. When a woman is in perimenopause, the period leading up to menopause or the full 12 months she has gone without menstruating, hormones can severely fluctuate and lead to irregularities. Irregular periods are considered very normal at this time.
Puberty. It can take the body several years after puberty to adjust to a regular menstrual pattern because hormones can still be imbalanced.
Change in contraception. If you have changed from one hormonal birth control to another, or have changed from a non-hormonal birth control method to a hormonal one, your menstrual cycle is likely to be affected.
Choice of contraceptive. Birth control pills or any of the hormonal birth control methods can alter the level of hormones you have in your body. Your body needs time to adjust to the new hormones, or it may even be preparing for the cessation of your periods. Bleeding can become more erratic, lighter, or heavier depending on the contraceptive.
Lifestyle. A poor diet, stress, heavy exercise, and an extreme change in weight can alter your hormone levels and cause irregular bleeding.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If a woman is suffering from PCOS, ovulation does not usually take place, so bleeding can become irregular or stop completely.
Gynecological problems. Unexpected pregnancy, early miscarriage, and problems with the womb all can cause irregular periods.
Thyroid disorders. The thyroid gland produces certain hormones. If you experience irregular bleeding, it might be a sign of a thyroid disorder.
Cancer. Heavy bleeding between periods can be a symptom of cervical cancer, but this is extremely rare.
Should I Worry?
In most cases, there is no need to be concerned about your irregular periods. In fact, 90% of women will have experienced irregularity in their menstrual cycle before they start perimenopause and irregular periods become unavoidable. If you are concerned, you should visit your doctor to determine the cause and the best treatment.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Manage My Irregular Periods?
Treating your irregular periods depends on their cause and how long you've been experiencing them. The majority of women have irregularities because of a hormonal imbalance. If you are fairly young and have been irregular for less than 7 months, it is usually advised that you leave them untreated, as your body just needs time rebalance the hormones and adjust to the changes. If you are going through menopause then you can make lifestyle changes to try and rebalance the hormones or use alternative treatments. If you have irregular periods because of an underlying condition, you should seek medical help.
More Information about Irregular Periods
Despite being common, irregular periods can be concerning to women who know little about why they happen. To read more about the treatment options for irregular periods, follow the link below.
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