Let us first understand when menstruation is called irregular. Uncertainty of menstruation cycle or in-fact, in a medical point of view, a cycle which deviates from a length of 21 to 35 days of your first day of period is an irregular period. Irregularity also encompasses spotting, a missed period, bleeding too heavy or too less.
A normal menstrual period lasts from 3 to 7 days and a slight variation of some 4 to 5 days is considered regular and normal. One more assumption is that a woman normally has 10 to 12 periods in an year. However, it is important to understand your own body and know what is irregular for you. Like a menstrual period occurring on 15th day of previous cycle may fall out of the said range, but if it follows the same number of days every-time, then it is considered normal. Let us also figure out what causes irregularity in this cycle.
Top Reasons For Irregular Menstruation
During some first 2 years of menstruation, teenagers experience irregularity in menses. Since the hormones are in a balancing stage, frequency of periods may differ.
Irregular periods may also eventuate in the midlife of a women, starting at early 40s, when a women’s estrogen levels starts diminishing, and there is a likelihood of the cessation of her fertile years. Although, one does not require to see a doctor for menopause, but if you evidence any symptom that affects your daily routine, (hot flashes, night sweats, urinary infections, concentration difficulties, mood swings etc) you may need to see your doctor.
While in stress, our body produces stress related hormones to combat the situation. The adrenal gland in response to the tension releases higher levels of cortisol. This disturbs estrogen and progesterone leading to irregular periods.
Variable hormone secretions can be a result of various conditions and diseases like under-active or overactive thyroid. Any disturbance in pituitary gland, adrenal gland, thyroid gland or ovaries can lead to abnormal period.
While travelling your body encounters a lot of changes in terms of diet, stress, jet-lag and new environment. This affects a women’s body in different ways. Though it is difficult to establish a direct relationship between travelling and inconsistent periods, but normally during travel schedules one can have a delayed period.
Diet and Exercise
Diet pattern can adversely affect periods. In case of too less diet, body responds by skipping or delaying the cycle in order to preserve energy. Similarly, exercising to heavily sheds fat from body, body fat in turn is responsible for your periods. Loosing fat changes the hormone balance between estrogen and progesterone.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition when cysts are formed in ovaries making disturbances in menstrual cycle. Lower intestine inflammation, Liver disease, diabetes, Tuberculosis, Uterine problems, anemia, prolactinoma (a condition in pituitary gland due to a tumor leading to abnormal production in breast milk) may also eventuate to period problems.
Medications and Treatments
Anti depressants, cancer-suppressants, chemotherapy, birth control pills, medicines to boost breast milk, uterus removal surgery can also cause inconsistent periods. Hence it is important to notify your doctor, if you are taking any of the above categories of medicines.
Excessive use of alcohol, smoking and too much consumption of caffeine also disrupts and regularizes periods.
Irregularity or missed period can also be a result of a few natural body mechanisms, like pregnancy, child birth and breast feeding.