What may be the Cause of Irregular Periods
- Posted on: Nov 30 2017
Women inherently become familiar with their menstrual cycle. For the most part, even without a calendar or innovate period-tracking app, a woman knows when she needs to prepare for cramping and her other normal symptomology that goes along with her period. If that time comes and goes and “Aunt Flow” does not make her regular appearance, or if she comes several days before expected, there may be a twinge of concern.
We want to start by saying that, for the most part, changes in a menstrual cycle may not be cause for alarm. That being said, we also find it important to become more aware of the menstrual cycle and other physical changes if menstruation becomes irregular.
What is an Irregular Period?
Because menstruation is so personal to every woman, it can be difficult to know what’s normal and what’s not. The focus here is to know what’s normal for you. In general, a period should occur every 28 days. One woman may experience mild cramping, but the heavier flow and another may have more substantial cramping but stable flow. Periods may last just a few days, or as long as a week. These are all normal characteristics. Again, what you want to know is your norm. This way, you are better able to notice changes and schedule a consultation with your gynecologist if needed.
Why the Menstrual Cycle may Change
There are several factors that affect when and how a woman menstruates. These include:
- Hormonal contraceptives. Whether birth control pills or a hormone-releasing vaginal ring, the control of a woman’s hormones throughout the month will affect menstruation. After a woman stops using hormonal contraceptives, her cycle may remain irregular indefinitely.
- When a period is missed, pregnancy may be the number-one concern. Pregnancy testing is most accurate the week following a missed period.
- High levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the blood disrupts other female sex hormones that are necessary for ovulation and menstruation. This affects the timing of menstruation and also flow.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. The ovaries may be affected by the presence of cysts, interrupting the ovulation cycle, and thus menstruation.
- One of the primary symptoms to occur in the years before menopause is irregular periods. This is due to the sharp fluctuations of estrogen, progestin, and testosterone that occur from day to day throughout this time in life.
Your gynecologist can help you manage reproductive health throughout the various stages of life. Our team serves women from Fort Worth, Willow Park, Cleburn, Granbury, and surrounding areas. For more information on our services, call 817-776-4722.
Posted in: Abnormal Uterine Bleeding/Irregular Periods