Irregular Periods: Causes And Symptoms
by Dr. Surya Bhagwati on Oct 12, 2021
Period or menstruation is normal vaginal bleeding that occurs as part of a woman's monthly cycle. It is an indicator of a woman’s reproductive health. Menstrual cycle patterns differ in every woman. It can be disconcerting to experience an irregular period.
This post discusses problems with periods, causes of irregular periods, and their symptoms in detail.
Table Of Contents
- What Is the Period or Menstruation?
- What Is Irregular Menstruation?
- What Are the Causes of Irregular Periods?
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Hormonal imbalance
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Faulty diet and lifestyle
- Premature ovarian failure
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Uterine fibroids
- Other Irregular Periods Reason Include:
What Is the Period or Menstruation?
In women of reproductive age, female hormones stimulate an ovary to release an egg every month and thicken the uterus lining to support a pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, the uterus sheds this lining through the cervix and out through the vagina. It is called a period.
This process repeats every month in women between menarche (starting point) and menopause (cessation of menses). A cycle is counted from the first day of 1 period to the first day of the next period.
On average, the menstrual cycle is 28 days long. It can vary between women and from month to month. In women, cycles can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days and 21 to 45 days in young teens. Bleeding usually lasts around five days, but this too can vary, from 2 to 7 days.
A woman spends 1/5th portion of her reproductive life menstruating. A woman menstruates for nearly 1800 days, equivalent to 6 years in her entire lifetime.
What Is Irregular Menstruation?
There are many variations in menstrual patterns. In irregular periods, the cycles become shorter or longer than normal. Bleeding may be heavier or lighter than usual. Few women can experience other problems like abdominal cramps.
The Most Common Irregular Periods Problems Are:
- Amenorrhea or absent menstrual periods. When a girl does not get her period by age 16 or when women stop getting a period for at least three months without pregnancy.
- Oligomenorrhea or infrequent menstrual periods: Periods that occur more than 35 days apart.
- Menorrhagia or unusually heavy bleeding.
- Prolong menstrual bleeding that exceeds eight days.
- Dysmenorrhea: Painful periods that may include severe menstrual cramps.
What Are the Causes of Irregular Periods?
Irregular menstruation can have many different causes, including:
1. Pregnancy or breastfeeding
One of the early signs of pregnancy is a missed period. Even after pregnancy, breastfeeding can delay the return of menstruation.
2. Hormonal imbalance
A hormonal imbalance is a leading cause of irregular periods. Hormones play a role in regulating the monthly cycle and the health of the reproductive system. Abnormal high or low levels of certain hormones can disrupt the normal rhythm. And it can cause heavy bleeding and other symptoms.
3. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is one of the most common causes of irregular periods. In women with PCOS, ovaries become enlarged and contain many fluid-filled sacs, called follicles, surrounding the eggs. Along with irregular menstruation, high levels of androgen or male hormones are also present.
4. Uncontrolled diabetes
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can affect the working of the menstrual cycle regulating hormones and disrupt your menstrual cycle.
5. Faulty diet and lifestyle
An unhealthy diet, extreme dieting, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, sudden weight loss, or a quick weight gain can lead to problems with periods.
High stress, hectic lifestyle, intense physical exercises or changes in exercise routines, travel, prolonged illness, or other changes in a daily routine can impact the menstrual cycle.
6. Premature ovarian failure
The loss of normal ovarian function before age 40 years is called premature ovarian failure. Women having premature ovarian failure or primary ovarian insufficiency can suffer from irregular periods problems for years.
7. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
The infection of the reproductive organs in women can cause problems with periods.
8. Uterine fibroids
A type of noncancerous growth occurring in the uterus can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and prolonged menstrual periods.
Other Irregular Periods Reason Include:
- Cancer of uterus or cervix
- Prolong or heavy usage of medications such as steroids or blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulant)
- Certain medical conditions such as bleeding disorders
- Pituitary disorders or an underactive (hypothyroid) or overactive (hyperthyroid) thyroid gland affect hormonal balance to cause irregular periods.
- Pregnancy complications like miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (embryo grows within the fallopian tube instead of the uterus) can cause an irregular menstrual cycle.
Symptoms Of Irregular Periods
It is crucial that you keep careful track of your period to recognize the signs and symptoms of irregular periods.
Following changes observed in the cycle indicate irregular menstruation:
- A cycle having a length that unexpectedly falls outside of your regular range typically exceeds 35 days.
- Absence of periods for 90 days without confirmed pregnancy.
- Having a period more often than every 21 days.
- Unusually heavy bleeding during period.
- The period lasts more than a week.
- Bleeding or spotting in between periods.
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
- Intense cramps or pain during bleeding that disturbs daily routine.
However, keep in mind that it can take up to 2 years to establish a regular cycle in young girls after they start getting a period. After puberty, most women’s menstruation gets regular.
When To See a Doctor for Irregular Periods Solution?
If you are experiencing any of these problems with a period, then you should consult a doctor. It can help to make an accurate diagnosis and get an irregular period solution.
Final Words on Irregular Periods
Irregular periods have a high prevalence among Indian women of reproductive age. Prolonged and excessive bleeding, absence of period, and intermenstrual bleeding are common irregular periods problems. Keep track of the period and consult a doctor to find irregular periods solutions.
Cycloherb: Ayurvedic Medicine To Help Regulate Monthly Cycle
Dr. Vaidyas Cycloherb contains several hormone-balancing herbs that help monthly cycles. In addition, this proprietary ayurvedic medicine also helps with cramps, discomfort, weakness, and low energy levels.
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