What is an irregular menstrual cycle?
Having an irregular cycle means that the interval between periods varies each month. That is, sometimes they come every 28 days, sometimes every 20, sometimes every 30.
Having irregular periods is very common. The causes can range from something insignificant to something that requires treatment. For example, if you’re a teen, your body’s hormones can fluctuate and take some time until they find a balance. Therefore, it’s normal to have an irregular period during adolescence or, sometimes, for your period not to arrive in a given month.
Causes of Missed and Irregular Periods
Aside from being pregnant and going through menopause, which both normally stop a woman from getting her period, here are the other major causes for irregular periods or amenorrhea.
1. High Stress Levels
2. Poor Diet
3. Extreme Weight Loss and Low Body Weight
5. Thyroid Disorders
6. Stopping the Birth Control Pill
7. Ongoing Hormonal Imbalances and Disorders
8. Food Allergies and Sensitivities
The most common cause of missed periods is pregnancy.
This may not surprise you. But did you know you can still bleed during early pregnancy? Implantation bleeding—when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining—can cause a few days of bleeding. It often occurs before you know you’re pregnant and can be mistaken for a period. A pregnancy test may be in order.
When to see your Doctor
You should go to your Doctor if you are bleeding or spotting between periods or after having sex.
If your periods are particularly heavy, whereby you need to change your pad or tampon every hour or two, or have to wear both, a trip to your Doctor is advisable.
Other times that you should make an appointment with your doctor include if you suffer from heavy bleeding that goes through your clothes, if your period is longer than seven days or occurs more frequently than once a month.
Irregularity Beyond Menstrual Cycle Length
Even though the phrase “irregular periods” refers to cycle length, you shouldn’t think this is the only aspect of your period that can go awry.
You can have normal cycle lengths but experience abnormal spotting, too heavy or too light bleeding, severe cramps, extreme mood swings or other abnormal period symptoms.
If you’re concerned about any aspect of your period being irregular, speak to your doctor. It’s better to ask and receive reassurance that all is well than ignore a potential problem or fail to share a telling symptom that could help your doctor make a diagnosis.
Lifestyle changes to make to improve your menstrual cycle include:
1. Reduce Stress
2. Improve Your Diet
3. Revaluate Your Exercise Routine
4. Steer Clear of Environmental Toxins