Nearly one in every four women tends to suffer from menstrual irregularities these days. Blame it on crash diets, drastic lifestyle changes or unhealthy habits, menstrual irregularities have become quite normal these days as compared to the days when they were considered unhealthy and as a sign for more serious issues.
What Exactly is an Irregular Menstrual Cycle?
A normal menstrual cycle would usually last from 5-7 days and there would be a time gap of 20-35 days between consecutive periods. Any significant change in this pattern could mean a menstrual irregularity.
Causes for Irregular Menstrual Periods
A woman may fail to get her periods properly owing to certain factors that she either ignores completely or fails to control. These include smoking, alcohol consumption, allergies resulting from medications, weight gain/loss, crash diets, eating disorders, physical strain, PCOS, childbirth (recent), miscarriages, uterine disorders and hormonal imbalances.
Types of Menstrual Irregularities: Prolonged Periods
Skipping a period occasionally is not something you need to be worried about. However, if the condition continues for more than a couple of months, it could signify a deeper, more serious medical issue that needs to be dealt with immediately by a qualified medical practitioner.
There are two types of menstrual irregularities that you need to be familiar with. The first one id the short term irregularity that occurs occasionally due to conditions like fatigue, exhaustions, stress, physical strain placed on the body and so on.
Long term irregularities on the other end can include menstrual cycles that last for several days, are extremely painful and come with a series of abnormal symptoms like missed cycles, prolonged cycles, heavy menstrual bleeding and very painful menstrual cramps.
A Prolonged Period
This long term menstrual irregularity is characterized by continuous menstrual bleeding that extends well beyond the normal time frame for a menstrual cycle (i.e. more than 7 days). A prolonged period may occur in just one month (not considered dangerous) or can occur repeatedly in consecutive menstrual cycles (considered dangerous).
Reasons for a Prolonged Period
A prolonged menstrual period can be caused by several factors like stress, depression, use of oral contraceptives, intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormonal imbalances. Certain medical issues like polyps, lupus, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cervical cancer, uterine fibroid tumors, endometrial polyps/cancer, and Willebrand Disease etc. can also contribute to prolonged menstrual cycles.
How to Treat Prolonged Menstrual Cycles
The treatment for prolonged menstrual cycle would depend on factors like the reason for the prolonged period, the severity of the condition and individual body constraints. Here are some of the more effective ways to prevent prolonged menstrual cycles.
Certain changes in your existing lifestyle can help you prevent prolonged periods. Accordingly, you need to opt for healthy, nutritious diets (avoid junk foods and opt for home cooked meals instead) and physical (and yet simple) exercises like running, walking, climbing stairs, aerobics and yoga etc. can help you curb prolonged periods and the symptoms associated with it.
Certain medications and supplements would help you curb prolonged periods provided the fact that you check the same with your doctor before starting the treatment. The medications prescribed would differ from person to person, and would be prescribed only in cases where in the diets, exercises and lifestyle changes do not yield desirable results.