Irregular periods: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

What is an irregular period-?

A period or menstruation is the part of the menstrual cycle where the endometrium which is the lining of the uterus is shed in the form of blood through the vagina. The normal length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days but it may vary from individual to individual. Irregular periods are the one where this length increases to 35 days or more. Irregular periods also called oligomenorrhea can occur due to a change in the contraception method, any hormonal imbalance – like during menopause or enduring exercises. Treatment for irregular periods during puberty and menopause is not required but if the periods are irregular during the reproductive years then a strict medical advice is required.

What periods are considered irregular?

The typical duration of a menstrual cycle is 28 days, but for some women it may not happen every 28 days or so. The periods are considered irregular if:

  • The numbers of days between your periods start to change.
  • The amount of blood loss is more or less than the usual.
  • The duration of the period varies.

Causes and symptoms of irregular periods-

Irregular periods can have several causes that need to be evaluated as soon as possible by the doctor. Here are some possible causes of irregular periods and their symptoms –

Pregnancy-

Pregnancy is one of the most common reasons for a woman to miss her periods. In many cases spotting is observed. Some common symptoms of pregnancy include:

  • Morning sickness
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Nausea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Fatigue

After having unprotected if you miss your period, a pregnancy test is a must to do. In cases where you have a missed your periods and may be pregnancy but experience a sharp pain in your pelvis, then you must see a doctor to rule out the chances of a miscarriage.

Hormonal birth control pills:

Consumption of Hormonal birth control pills or using hormone containing intra uterine device can cause irregular periods

Breastfeeding:

Prolactin is a hormone that’s responsible for breast milk production. Prolactin suppresses your reproductive hormone resulting in light periods or no period at all.

PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome:

Irregular periods are the most common symptom of PCOS. You may miss your period or have a very heavy bleeding in case you get your period.

Thyroid problems:

Irregularity in periods is often noticed in people who have thyroid problems. In Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid heavier periods or excess cramping is noticed, whereas is hyperthyroidism sorter and lighter periods occur.

Endometriosis:

This affects one in ten women. In this the uterine lining that is supposed to cover the inner of the uterus, grows outside if it. In this case heavy bleeding and menstrual cramps occur.

Stress:

Stress is one of the most common factors which causes changes in a woman’s’ menstrual cycle. Stress interferes with the regular menstrual cycle by affecting a part of the brain that controls your hormonal activities.

Treatments-

Treating irregular periods depends upon the reason why your periods are irregular. Your doctor may recommend the following in case of irregular periods;

  • Thyroid medications
  • Hormonal IUD’s
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Vitamin D supplements
  • Exercise
  • Stress relieving procedures
  • Metformin
  • Oral contraceptives

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