Women know that periods come and visit them every month, but what they don’t know is that there are two types of menstrual cycles- the regular and the irregular one. What does it mean to have irregular periods? Is it something that women should be worried about? Learn more about your menstrual cycle and your vagina by reading this article.
Your ob-gyn will say that the length of an average period lasts about 28 days, give or take a week. If you bleed for more than once in each 21-day cycle, or if the bleeding persists for more than eight days, then that is considered as an irregular menstrual period. Other factors that make the irregular cut are when you have late missed or early periods.
There’s an easy way to determine if you have an irregular period. Start counting back from the last day you had it, then stop counting on the first day of your next menstrual cycle. Do this for about three months and jot it down. Do the dates coincide, or are they significantly different? If yes, then you have an irregular period.
This type of menstrual cycle can happen even if you consistently have regular periods. The good thing is that most irregular periods aren’t immediately dangerous. The important thing is to know why it happens.
Sometimes the cause is hormonal imbalances. Sometimes it can be extreme dieting, or exercising too much. Thyroid disorders may also affect how regular your period will be. Here are some more factors that could trigger irregular periods:
1. Menopause. As the hormones begin to shift, irregular periods may start occurring years before menopause. The correlation is simple- menopause is the halting of egg production. Ovulation becomes sporadic; hence periods can be irregular as well.
2. The Pill/ Medicines. It’s quite reasonable for menstruation to show up late for one or two days when you’ve taken medicine for flu and other illnesses. Most of the over-the-counter pills interfere with your progesterone and estrogen production, essential components in a menstrual cycle. Taking the pill can also force you to have either less or more periods, and sometimes none at all.
3. Stress. Stress is a significant factor which causes an imbalance in women. Cortisol is a hormone which directly affects the production of essential estrogen and progesterone, and it becomes hampered when a woman felt anxious and stressed out all day.
Missed and irregular periods may happen occasionally, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay attention to it. Experiencing constant irregular cycles could mean there’s something wrong with your body. Have yourself checked for PCOS (Polycystic ovary syndrome) or for thyroid problems and other illnesses that could affect how you menstruate.
Having irregular periods also mean that it’s much harder to get pregnant, and more so if you’re not ovulating. Have a doctor see and determine this aspect. The ob-gyn can then see if you need prescriptions to increase fertility and increase your chances of having a baby. Even if you’re not aiming to have children, it’s still worth it to see a doctor and make sure there’s nothing serious happening inside your body.