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6 possible causes for irregular periods

You have an irregular period if the length of your menstrual cycle keeps changing significantly.

To know whether your period is regular or irregular, tracking your period. You can do this using a calendar, a notebook, or a reliable period tracking app. If you find out that it is irregular, it is important to think about what could be causing this problem. 

Well, the most obvious culprit is pregnancy since a missed period can be a sign of pregnancy. Breastfeeding also delays the return of your period after giving birth.

Other factors that can cause irregular period:
Hormonal imbalances

Puberty is one of the life changes that influence hormonal balance. During this stage, estrogen, and progesterone, the two hormones that regulate menstruation are in a state of imbalance. This imbalance is one of the main causes of irregular menstruation at this stage. It can take up to two years for the periods to become regular. This means that the length between each period becomes the same.

This hormonal imbalance is also experienced during menopause, and this also causes irregular periods.

Extreme weight changes

If you lose or gain weight rapidly, your periods may become irregular. If you do not eat enough calories, the production of hormones needed for ovulation can be affected. Obesity can also affect insulin levels which can, in turn, affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle.

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can also contribute to this problem.

Change in contraception

Contraceptives are another suspect. When some women start using the contraceptive pill, they may experience bleeding that lasts for a shorter period of time than normal periods. This should go back to normal after a few months.

The Intrauterine Device (IUD) may lead to irregular bleeding and spotting but just like the pill, it will go away after a few months.

Women do not get periods during their pregnancy and most women do not get periods when breastfeeding.

Emotional stress

Stress has been shown to interfere with the menstrual cycle. This happens because it affects that part of the brain that controls hormones that regulate the cycle. Learning how to manage stress is a great way of solving this problem.

Intense exercises

If your workout regime is too intense, you may experience irregular periods. The solution to this is to make workouts less intense and also less regular.

Underlying health conditions

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of irregular periods. The other condition is Thyroid or pituitary disorders which affect the levels of key hormones such as thyroid hormone and prolactin.

STIs can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which, if left untreated, can lead to menstruation problems such as heavier bleeding or spotting between periods.

Endometriosis is a condition that causes the uterine lining to grow outside the uterus.  This condition can also lead to heavy bleeding, spotting between periods, and prolonged periods.

Uterine fibroids have also been known to cause heavy, irregular, and painful periods.

Cervical and endometrial cancers can lead to irregularity of the menstrual cycle. This may lead to heavy or irregular periods.

When to visit the doctor

Go to the hospital or nearest health facility if:

  • You have not seen your period for … months and you are not pregnant.
  • When your periods become irregular suddenly
  • Your periods are less than 21 days apart or more than 35 days apart
  • You experience spotting between periods
  • You have other symptoms such as unusual discharge

Do you have any questions or comments on irregular periods? Talk to us in the comments section.

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