Is your period constantly changing? It could be an indication of something happening in your body.
Does your period come whenever it wants? Does it seem different every month? Your irregular periods could be an indication of something else going on in your body. The normal period occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts from two to seven days. If your period arrives in less than 21 days or more than 35 days and / or lasts for more or less than two to seven days, you are considered to have irregular periods.
In some cases, having irregular periods is normal. Irregular periods are expected and common among young girls and perimenopausal women. Young girls in the beginning phases of pregnancy are likely to have irregular periods until their bodies adjust. Women who are transitioning into menopause will also likely have irregular periods while their bodies adjust. These women having irregular periods is normal.
If you don’t fit into one of those groups of women and are experiencing irregular periods there could be an underlying cause or medical condition. Causes of irregular periods include:
Any eating disorder can cause irregular or missed periods, but anorexia nervosa is especially known to interfere with the menstrual cycle. People who suffer from anorexia nervosa want to maintain below-normal body weight and do that by starvation and too much exercise. This negatively affects the body, including reproductive and menstrual health.
There are some medications that could cause irregular periods. Talk to the prescribing healthcare provider. The benefit of the medication could outweigh the risks depending on what the medication is treating.
The thyroid is a gland that is part of the endocrine system that helps make and regulate hormones. If the thyroid is not working as it should it will affect your hormone levels which could affect your period.
Prolactin is a hormone that is involved in the menstrual cycle. If your prolactin level is imbalanced, it will affect your menstrual cycle.
Diabetes involves the endocrine system which helps make and regulate hormones. If your hormones are not at normal ranges, it could affect your period.
Extra weight can increase the amount of estrogen in the body which can cause changes to your period.
Chronic long-term stress can lead to irregular periods.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is when a woman has multiple ovarian cysts. These cysts can cause pain, hormonal imbalances, and irregular periods.
Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
Primary ovarian insufficiency occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop working before the age of 40. The ovaries not functioning correctly may cause irregular periods.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the reproductive organs. It is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection. This can cause the reproductive organs to not function as they normally do and cause changes to a woman’s period.
If you have irregular periods, you should see your healthcare provider. They will do an exam, ask you questions, and possibly order testing. The treatment will depend on the underlying cause and severity of your irregular periods.
- Period problems. Period problems | Office on Women’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved November 11, 2022
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