Menstrual irregularities can be caused by a lot of factors, including pregnancy, infections, hormonal imbalances, malignancies, diseases, trauma, and some medications.
To know what’s normal about your menstrual cycle, you can start by keeping a record of your menstrual cycle on a calendar or your personal diary.
You can start by tracking your start date every month for several months in a row so as to identify the regularity of your periods.
If you become concerned about your periods, you can also note the following every month:
- End date.Here, you check how long your period typically last. You should note if it’s longer or shorter than usual?
- Abnormal bleeding. Check you are bleeding in between periods.
- You can also record the heaviness of your flow. Check if it seems lighter or heavier than usual, how often you need to change your sanitary protection and if you passed any blood clots.
- Keep a record of the pain associated with your period. Also, note if the pain feels worse than usual.
- Other changes. Make a mental note of any changes in your mood or behavior. Note if anything new happened around the time of change in your periods?
Causes Of Menstrual Irregularities
What causes menstrual cycle irregularities? It can be caused by several factors, including:
- Pregnancy, Breast-feeding
- Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
- Extreme weight loss and Excess exercising
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Uncontrolled diabetes mellitus
- Premature ovarian failure
- Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, Hyperprolactinemia
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Uterine fibroids, Polyps
- Bleeding disorders such as leukemia, platelet disorders, or von Willebrand disease
- Advanced liver disease
- Endometriosis, Chronic uterine infection, Cushing syndrome.
- Thyroid dysfunction, Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI).
- Late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia.
- Stress-related hypothalamic dysfunction.
- Ovarian tumor, Adrenal tumor, Prolactinomas.
- Having an intrauterine device (IUD), Changing birth control pills.
- Severe scarring of the lining of the uterus (Asherman syndrome).
- Certain drugs, such as antiepileptics or antipsychotics
Types Of Menstrual Irregularities
Some of the common types of irregularities with the menstrual cycle include:
- Amenorrhea, Dysmenorrhea
- Heavy periods, Light periods and Vaginal bleeding.
- Menstrual changes, Menstrual disorders.
- Abnormal uterine bleeding.
- Late start of menstruation, Spotting.
- Menorrhagia, Metrorrhagia, Oligomenorrhoea.
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Excessive menstrual bleeding, Vaginal bleed in pregnancy and after menopause
- Bleeding after sex, Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Painful menstruation, Menstrual cramps, Missed period
- Abnormal infrequent menstrual bleeding, Breakthrough bleeding
- Menopause, Absent menses, Reduced menstrual flow
- Changes in the normal menstrual cycle
- Female athlete triad, Delayed puberty
- Disorders of the uterus in the reproductive age
- Dysmenorrhea in young people
- Hematuria during menstruation
- Idiopathic dysmenorrhea
- Intermittent menstrual disturbances
- Menstrual bleeding occurring between menstrual periods
- Primary amenorrhea
- Primary amenorrhea in children
- Secondary amenorrhea
- Secondary amenorrhea in children and in young adults
- Post-menopausal bleeding
- Premenstrual tension
- Profuse or extended menstrual bleeding
- Sudden onset of abnormal vaginal bleeding in adults and children.
- Sudden onset of amenorrhoea, menstrual abnormalities.
- Vaginal bleeding within or after 24 hours of delivery, after menarche in children and after menopause.
- Vaginal bleeding before normal menarche and in the first trimester.
Menstrual Irregularities Symptoms Checker
You should visit a doctor when you have had regular, monthly menstrual periods and the pattern changes.
Your doctor may perform a physical exam and order some tests so as to rule out pregnancy or a health problem.
Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding, Vaginal odor and Abnormal vaginal discharge.
- If you miss three or more periods a year and you are not pregnant.
- If you get your period more often than every 21 days.
- When you get your period less often than every 35 days.
- If you are bleeding more heavily than usual during your period.
- If you bleed for more than seven days.
- When you have more pain than usual during a period.
- If your periods become erratic after having been regular
- If you bleed between periods
- When you suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons
Menstrual Cycle: What’s Normal And What’s Not
Your menstrual cycle says a lot about your health. It is very important to know how to start tracking your menstrual cycle and what to do when you have some irregularities.
Tracking your menstrual cycles helps you in knowing what’s normal for you, your ovulation time. And also identify important changes like a missed period or an unpredictable menstrual bleeding.
The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. It isn’t the same for every woman.
The menstrual flow might occur from every 21 to 35 days and last from two to seven days.
For the first few years after you start your menstruation, long cycles are very common. However, these menstrual cycles tend to shorten, becoming more regular as you age.
Your menstrual cycle might be regular, like about the same length each month, or a bit irregular. And your period might also be light or heavy, pain-free or painful, short or long and still be considered normal. “Normal” is what’s normal for you.
When you approach menopause, your cycle tends to become irregular again. However, since the risk for uterine cancer increases as you age. It is also important you discuss any irregular bleeding around menopause with your health care provider.
How to Prevent Menstrual Irregularities
In some women, the use of birth control pills can also help in regulating the menstrual cycles.
Treating any underlying problems, such as anorexia nervosa, might also help. However, some menstrual irregularities cannot be prevented.
The menstrual cycle, which is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, isn’t the same for every woman.
For the first few years after menstruation begins, long cycles are common. However, menstrual cycles tend to shorten and become more regular as you age.
Also keep in mind that use of some types of contraception, such as the extended-cycle birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), may also alter your menstrual cycle.
Menstrual Irregularities Treatment
Menstrual periods also vary widely in women. Some periods are early, while some are unpredictable.
On average, a woman gets her menstrual period every 24 to 38 days. A period can last for about two to eight days.
An Irregular period may need treatment.
What Are Irregular Periods?
You may be having irregular periods if:
- The time between each period starts to change.
- You are starting to lose more or less blood during a period than usual.
- The number of days that your period lasts changes significantly.
- If you are have not had a period in 90 days
- If you have an excessive menstrual blood loss which interferes with your physical, emotional, social, and material quality of life.
Treatment of Irregular Periods
Treatment of irregular periods depends on the causative factor and also your desire to have children in the future.
Irregular periods can be caused by several things. Like a change in your body’s level of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Which can also disrupt the normal pattern of your period. This is the reason why young girls going through puberty and women approaching menopause commonly have irregular periods.
No treatment is needed for an irregular period that is caused by puberty and menopause. Unless they become bothersome. It is also normal for your period to stop during pregnancy.
Treatments for irregular periods due caused by other factors also include:
- Correcting or treating the underlying disease process
- Changing the type of birth control method you use
- Some lifestyle changes, including weight loss
- Hormone therapy
Read more on irregular periods here.