sad woman staring at a pregnancy test

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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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Recent Comments (35)

  1. Have learned something new…
    Have learned something new and am happy

    1. We’re glad you learnt…

      We’re glad you learnt something new Lenah. Keep it here for more informative content!

    2. Am going to tell my partner…
      Am going to tell my partner coz she has irregular i

      1. That’s what we love to hear…

        That’s what we love to hear Peter! Spread the word! 

  2. I have known how to overcome…
    I have known how to overcome when my periods is irregular,since I normally experience such problem

    1. Great Valarian!

      Should you…

      Great Valarian!

      Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. 

      1. i have been having my period…
        i have been having my period each day it never stop and am really in shock what wrong with me

        1. Hi there, 

          This is not…

          Hi there, 

          This is not normal. Visit your nearest healthcare facility for medical attention. 

    2. Hi Valarian, 

      Great! Happy…

      Hi Valarian, 

      Great! Happy you have learnt something new today!

  3. Thanks.
    What causes:

    What causes:
    1. Premature ejaculation in men.
    2. Delayed ejaculation.

    1. Hi Ochieng, 


      Hi Ochieng, 

      Often, Premature Ejaculation (PE) may result from both physical and psychological problems. This can include stress and anxiety, past sexual trauma. Physical causes may include an oversensitive glans penis (the top part of the penis), hormonal problems, past injuries, drug side-effects, or neurological disease. In some cases, this condition is simply caused by disinterest, or lack of attraction, for a sexual partner. 

      When it comes to delayed ejaculation, it can be caused by psychological issues (e.g.depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions, relationship problems due to stress, poor communication or other concerns, anxiety about performance, poor body images, differences between the reality of sex with a partner and sexual fantasies) certain medications (e.g. Some antidepressants, certain high blood pressure medications, certain diuretics) and physical causes (e.g. certain birth defects, injuries, neurological diseases, prostate surgery).

      To determine the exact causes, visit the doctor for tests and treatment. 

    1. Great to know, Elina!

      Great to know, Elina!

  4. How can I speak to a…
    How can I speak to a gynecologist doctor online for WhatsApp chats or face book

    1. Hi Esther, 

      You can visit…

      Hi Esther, 

      You can visit Marie Stopes FB pages, or call via their Whatsapp number 0709819001. Or call Marie Stopes on 0800720005 for free. 

  5. Before periods there’s a…
    Before periods there’s a discharge and smelly is it normal

    1. Hi Susan, 

      Many women…

      Hi Susan, 

      Many women experience thick, white discharge before a period. This is considered healthy unless the discharge is lumpy or accompanied by a strong odor. Visit the doctor if the discharge has a very strong smell. 

  6. My cycle lies btn 24 days…
    My cycle lies btn 24 days sometimes 26 is there any problem?

    1. Hi faith, 

      No. That is…

      Hi faith, 

      No. That is totally normal. Regular cycles that are longer than 21 days and shorter than 40 days. 

  7. Kindly need help
    Is it…

    Kindly need help
    Is it possible for one to conceive after being diagnosed PID?

    1. Hi Patricia, 

      Yes, it is…

      Hi Patricia, 

      Yes, it is possible through many women with this condition have a hard time getting pregnant. Talk to your doctor about your chances and treatment. 

  8. What caused dark red…
    What caused dark red discharge 14days before periods starts. Period are irregular

    1. Hi Agnes, 

      Dark red…

      Hi Agnes, 

      Dark red discharge may be caused by several factors including pregnancy or a switch in birth control methods. It could also be a sign of a condition, Visit your doctor for tests. Read this article to learn more about discharge: Is my vaginal discharge normal? If you are concerned, go the nearest hospital for examination. 

  9. Question…what are the side…
    Question…what are the side effects of depo

    1. Hi there, 

      Some of the…

      Hi there, 

      Some of the known side effects include irregular periods or no periods at all, headaches,  depression, acne, weight gain, excessive growth of facial and body hair, and hair loss.

  10. My friend haven’t see her…
    My friend haven’t see her period for the last seven months and she is not paged

    1. Hi Fany, 

      Could it be that…

      Hi Fany, 

      Could it be that she stopped using certain birth control? It is common for people to have late, irregular, or absent periods immediately after stopping hormonal birth control. These methods may include such as pills, implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and injections. It may take up to 3 months for a person’s menstrual cycle and fertility to return to normal. It also may be a sign of problems with reproductive organs or the glands that help control hormone levels. 7 months is a lot of time thus advise your friend to visit the doctor for medical advice. It is not normal to go without a period for many months and can be harmful to your health. 

  11. Thanks so much,have learnt…
    Thanks so much,have learnt sth

    1. Glad to hear that, Doreen!

      Glad to hear that, Doreen!

  12. My last period was on date…
    My last period was on date 16jan…now am on my period from date 2feb….is this normal?

    1. Hi Angelina,

      What is your…

      Hi Angelina,

      What is your menstrual cycle? 21 days, 28? 35? If it’s 21, it’s totally alright as your period came 2 days earlier. If your cycle is 28 or 35, there are many factors that could have led to this. These include pregnancy, stress, certain medications and contraceptives. Read this article to learn more: 8 reasons your period is late

  13. I don’t know if am pregnant,but am experiencing lower pain and dry feaces wat could be the reason?

    1. Hi there,
      The best way to know whether you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. In terms of the lower back and dry feces, they can be both signs of pregnancy but if the home test is negative visit your nearest service provider for medical attention.

    1. Yes, it is possible to get pregnant. It’s all about timing the most fertile time of the month.

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