When it comes to helping your teen with her periods, one of the most troublesome issues that you may have to face is irregular periods. While most people assume that periods are a regular cycle that occurs on almost a specific date every month, it is not something that happens to everyone.
Has your teen been having irregular periods of late and seems worried about it? Do you feel it could be a medical condition, and there may be more to it than just a few dates going here and there? If you are already starting to worry about her irregular periods, read on to know why it happens and what you can do to help your teen.
When Do Girls Get Their Menstrual Cycle?
Most girls get their first periods the ages of 10 and 15. Of course, it is also normal for a girl to get her periods earlier or later than this age range. The first menstrual period that you get is known as a menarche.
Here again, it is important to remember that not all girls get their menstrual periods at the same time, as it depends on the overall development of the girl who is getting the periods. Some girls hit puberty faster than others while some take longer to reach there. Even though some teens do not start menstruating even by the time they are 16, you should go for a checkup with the doctor to rule out any medical condition.
What Is the Menstrual Cycle And How Can You Calculate It?
Most doctors say that a monthly menstrual cycle runs for about 28 days, which means that it is about 28 days from the time the first day of the periods to the start of the next periods. However, it is important to remember that 28 is a number that is used as an average count and does not mean that if your teen does not have a 28-day cycle, something is wrong with her menstrual cycle.
To understand your teen’s menstrual cycle, ask her to count the number of days from the first day that she had her bleeding one month to the first day when she had her bleeding the next month. The number of days that pass in between will be your teen’s menstrual cycle.
Is It Normal For Teenagers To Have Irregular Periods?
Once your teen starts having her periods, the first two years will see a lot of irregularities in terms of when she gets her period and what type of a menstrual cycle she has. Here are some of the many changes and patterns that your teen will go through during her first few months of menstrual periods:
1. Irregular Periods Are Normal:
It is possible that your teen has irregular periods, which means that her menstrual cycles do not follow a specific pattern in the number of days that take place at the start of one period and the start of the other. It is not a very unusual thing to happen, and you can sometimes notice the irregularity continuing for as long as anything between two and six months at a stretch. On an average, your teen’s second period will arrive within the first 35 to 40 days that she got her first period. In some cases, it may also take a full two months or more before she gets her second period after getting her first one.
2. Speak To A Doctor After Three Months:
In case, you feel that it has been more than three months and your teen’s periods have not returned, you should get an appointment with her doctor.
3. The Duration Of The Menstrual Period Will Also Vary:
Sometimes, your teen will have her periods only for about two or three days in a month while, in other months, she may have her periods for as long as five to even seven days a month. All of this is normal, as your teen’s body is still developing, and there are many changes that are happening inside her. During puberty, your teen goes through a lot of changes in her body, which can also affect her menstrual cycle in different ways each month.
4. Hormonal Changes Can Also Affect Regularity And Flow:
As your teen’s body is still developing, there will be lots of hormonal changes that she will be going through. The amount of bleeding that she has and whether or not she has a heavy flow or light flow during her menstrual cycle will also depend on the amount of hormones that are being produced inside her body. During the teenage years, your girl will go through a lot of change in her hormonal levels, and the hormone levels will keep fluctuating a lot. As a result, it will have a huge impact on the amount of blood that she loses each month during her menstrual cycle as well as the length of her days and the length of her entire menstrual cycle (1).
[ Read: Common Teenage Problems And Solutions ]
When Should You Speak To A Doctor About Your Teen’s Irregular Periods:
Of course it is natural that as a mother, you may worry about your teen’s irregular periods, especially if they do not seem to come back to their regular pattern soon. Instead of worrying too much about it, here are a few pointers on when you should get your teen examined by a doctor:
- While it is normal that many teens will go without their menstrual periods for as long as two months at a stretch, get your teen fixed up for an appointment with her doctor if she goes three months without having her menstrual period. In some cases, it could point towards a case of a medical issue with the reproductive organs, such as a premature ovarian failure.
- In case your teen does have one period within the three-month time frame, it is not something you have to worry about, but you can still speak to your doctor about it. In most cases, it will just be due to the many hormonal fluctuations that your teen is going through.
What Are The Other Causes Of Irregular Periods In Teenagers?
In addition to the many changes that your teen is going through and her hormonal fluctuations, there are other reasons too that could cause an irregularity in her periods. Here are a few common reasons for irregular periods in teenagers:
1. Sexually Active Or Pregnant Without Realizing:
- It is possible that your teen is sexually active and may have started missing her monthly periods.
- While it could simply be due to her hormonal fluctuations, there is also a huge possibility that your teen may be pregnant.
- Even if your teen has used a condom, it is effective only in 99 percent of the cases, and there is always the chance of an accidental pregnancy. Also, if your teen did take a birth control pill, its effect is also present only when taken on a regular basis.
- Make sure you speak to your teen about any physical involvement she may have taken part in, even if only once, and then take her to an immediate examination by the doctor.
[ Read: Missed Periods In Teenagers ]
2. Exercises A Lot:
- Excessive exercising can have a negative impact on your teen’s menstrual cycle, and if she is regularly into marathons or sports, you may notice she can go for months without having her periods.
- Your teen’s menstrual cycle will change depending on the type and intensity of training or physical exercise she is going through. Doing a lot of exercises can reduce the flow of blood during a menstrual cycle, and sometimes, it can be so less as to seem almost non-existent.
- Too much exercising can also cause your teen’s monthly periods to go down in number, where she may not have her periods for months. Or, she may notice a change in the number of days that she has her periods when some months she may have a menstrual cycle of five days whereas only one or two days of light bleeding on other days.
- In some cases, your teen may stop getting her menstrual cycle completely. Do not panic, as once your teen stops participating in these physical exercises or reduces the intensity of her workouts, her menstrual periods will come back again.
- It is possible that your teen is too stressed about school and projects or about any of her growing up issues, she may notice a change in her menstrual cycle.
- Being too stressed about things can make your teen go through irregular periods each month, which can further stress her out, or make her miss her monthly periods altogether, which can again lead to further stress.
[ Read: Stress Management Tips For Teens ]
4. Eating Disorders:
- Many teen girls go through a lot of eating disorders, and if your teen is suffering from eating disorders, it is likely that it will affect her menstrual cycle.
- Most teen girls go through various eating disorders, such as anorexia, in which your teen will try to skip all food in an attempt to lose weight, or bulimia, in which your teen may eat food but will purge it out all out by immediately puking out the food.
- If you suspect your teen is doing any of this, it can severely alter her bodily functions and cause an effect on her menstrual cycle too.
[ Read: Excessive Sweating In Teenagers ]
As a parent, instill self-confidence in your teen and also help her be aware of the many changes her body is and will be going through. Help her keep a track of her monthly periods so that you can speak to the doctor accordingly.
Moms, did you or your teen face any similar issues about irregular periods? What did you do about it and what did your doctor say?
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