Getting a period every month can seem cumbersome, especially when you have special events lined up. But when you get it, you know your body is working the way it should.
When you know your ‘date’, you can plan around it. Not just that, you can be ready for it. But that is not the case with all women. Some women have irregular periods and that can be a headache!
According to experts, the perfect menstruation cycle is 28 days long. Several women get their periods exactly on the 29th day. But it is not uncommon to have periods that are 25 to 35 days long. But is having irregular periods normal? Yes, this too is considered healthy. If your menses cycle falls in this median, your periods will be considered normal or regular. But if you get your periods in 21 days or before, or if it lasts 8+ days, you have irregular periods. Late, early, or missed periods are also considered irregular.
Causes Of Irregular Periods:
What causes some women’s body to behave so erratically? There are a number of reasons why you may have irregular periods.
1. Excessive Working Out Or Dieting:
Yes, you want to be healthy and shed some weight. But if you push your body beyond its capacity, it can revolt. Exercising too much can cause your periods to become erratic or even stop. Extreme dieting has the same affect on the body. If you had a bout of illness recently, that may be the cause behind irregular periods too.
[ Read: What Is The Right Age To Get Pregnant ]
Life is stressful today. Constant stress and worry can take a toll on your health. Stress can throw the hormones in the body out of gear, which in turn can cause missed or irregular periods.
3. Birth Control:
If you are on the pill, you may experience irregular periods. The pill can also cause your period to be lighter than usual and in some cases stop periods altogether!
[ Read: When To Stop Taking Birth Control Pills ]
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):
PCOS is a medical condition that causes tiny cysts to form in the ovaries. Women with PCOS usually suffer with irregular periods. A study showed that irregular periods as well as elevated androgen is already present in adolescents, which can go on and become PCOS with time(1) . PCOS not only leads to infertility, but can also cause diabetes and heart disease. That is why it is important to take irregular periods seriously, even among adolescents.
5. Other Medical Issues:
Other medical conditions too can cause irregular periods. Thyroid disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, diabetes, fibroids, eating disorders, and endometriosis are a few of them. A serious condition that may cause irregular periods is ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer is considered to be a silent killer with not many symptoms. But recent research has shown that persistent irregular periods is a classic symptom of ovarian cancer (2) .
Age plays a huge part in irregular periods. When girls first get their periods, it may take years before their periods become regular. Fluctuating periods is common among teens. Women nearing menopause also experience irregular periods.
Is It Normal To Have Irregular Periods?
Apart from the fact that irregular periods can wreak havoc with your social life, there are other factors that can make erratic periods a problem.
- If you are trying to conceive, irregular periods can play spoil sport. So talk to a specialist. Irregular periods can indicate that you are not ovulating every month. If that is the case, you may be put on fertility drugs to increase ovulation.
- An irregular period, in many cases, is the first symptom of an underlying health issue. It is normal to have irregular periods once or twice in a year. But if that becomes the norm, you need to be evaluated by a doctor.
- PCOS is one of the first things doctors suspect when you have irregular periods. A simple ultrasound scan can help your doctor determine the existence of PCOS.
- You will also be screened for thyroid disorders and other hormonal diseases to find the exact cause of irregular periods.
- Doctors don’t associate ovarian cancer with irregular periods. But with new information coming in, it is wise to ask your doctor to screen you for this deadly disease too.
- According to a study, irregular periods can also lead to Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) in women (3). So, talk to your doctor about this potential problem too.
[ Read: Pcos And Pregnancy ]
Prevention and Treatment of Irregular Periods:
If you know what exactly is causing your periods to be irregular, you can treat it. Here are some tips to prevent and treat irregular periods:
- If stress is keeping you awake at night and causing irregular periods, you need to try and manage stress better. Yoga, meditations, tai chi, etc. are great tools for a stress-free life.
- Listen to your body and don’t over exercise. Stop starving yourself and try to eat a balanced diet instead to lose weight.
- If the cause for irregular periods is hormonal, you may have to take oral contraceptive pills.
- If you are averse to hormonal treatment, you can try black cohosh. This medicinal herb is used by many cultures to treat irregular periods. But stay off it if you have a history of liver disease.
Many women avoid talking about periods because society has made it a taboo subject. But the fact is that periods are a normal function of a woman’s body. It is an indication of a healthy body.
Hope by now your doubts are cleared about whether is it normal to have a irregular periods. For most women, irregular periods are a rare thing. But don’t ignore persistent irregular periods with a ‘that’s just how my cycles are’ attitude. Get yourself checked to rule out anything serious.
Do you have irregular periods? Have you checked with your doctor? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.
Reference : 1
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