Irregular Periods | Causes, Home Remedies, Treatment & Pregnancy

Increasing stress, lifestyle issues have led to many cycles being irregular. Irregular periods need to be addressed as early as possible because it can lead to infertility. But before we know the treatment of Irregular Periods, let's find out what are Irregular Periods.

The average menstrual cycle is 28-days long. However this varies between every woman and cycle which is considered normal. A menstruation cycle is irregular if the cycle is more than 35 days or if the duration varies frequently.

The following scenarios are clinically accepted as the Signs & Symptoms of Irregular periods.

  • Periods varying by more than 7 days between two cycles.
  • Periods less than 21 days apart.
  • Periods more than 35 days apart.
  • Three missed periods in a row.
  • Abnormally heavy flow accompanied by pain, nausea, cramping and vomiting.
  • Periods that last longer than seven days.

Fortunately, irregular periods can be regularized for most women by correcting its underlying cause. A gynaecologist performs thorough investigation to understand the reason behind irregular periods, and this investigation may involve blood tests, physical examination and in some cases, sonography.

What Causes Irregular Periods?

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Several health reasons lead to irregular periods. Let’s discuss them one by one.

Stress and Lifestyle

Stress can interfere with the menstrual cycle by temporarily disrupting the release of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. Similarly, sudden changes in lifestyle like travel, sudden weight loss, changes in diet, changes in exercise routine and illness can cause irregular periods.

Hormonal Imbalance

The menstrual cycle is primarily controlled by female hormones estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, a fluctuation or disruption in the release of these hormones can cause irregular periods.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition in which small cysts form on the ovaries. These cysts release a large amount of male hormones known as an androgen which further prevent eggs from maturing and in turn alter the consistency of ovulation.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are made of a combination of estrogen and progesterone. They prevent pregnancy by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg. A birth control pill can alter the menstruation cycle and can strongly affect conception and pregnancy.
Other conditions that cause irregular periods are fibroid, endometriosis, infections, ovarian insufficiency, etc.

When Should You See A Doctor?

You should talk to your Gynaecologist, if

  • You miss periods for three consecutive months
  • Your period pattern changes suddenly
  • You have a period within 21 days of the previous date
  • You have a period cycle that stretches beyond 35 days
  • Your period lasts a week with heavy flow
  • You bleed in between periods
  • You experience extreme pain during your periods

Home Remedies for Irregular Periods

Several simple home remedies can regularize your periods.

Regular Exercise– Regular exercising can help regularize the periods by fixing the hormonal imbalance in the body. It can also help in reducing weight which may be an underlying cause.

Healthy Diet– A healthy diet loaded with fibres, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When you combine exercise and a healthy diet, you get a healthy body with minimal health issues.

Herbal Remedies– Herbs like Cinnamon, Aloe Vera, Turmeric, Cumin and Ginger are said to help with irregular periods. Talk to your GP before you consume these herbs.

Treatment Options for Irregular Periods

As already discussed, irregular periods can be treated by treating the underlying cause.

Birth Control

If your birth control pill is causing irregular periods, you should talk to your doctor and consider other birth control options. For some women, new birth control can also do the trick.

PCOS and Obesity

In the case of PCOS and obesity, losing weight can stabilize the menstruation cycle. Lower weight means your body produces less insulin, and this leads to lower testosterone levels and an improved chance of ovulation.

Thyroid Problems

If your thyroid is what has caused irregular periods, you will have to take medication and undergo radioactive iodine therapy or surgery to treat it.

Stress and Eating Disorders

When irregular periods are caused by stress, eating disorders or other such psychological issues, they may be treated with therapy. This therapy may include relaxation techniques, stress management and in some cases, medications.

Can You Get Pregnant if your Periods are Irregular?

Irregular or abnormal periods account for almost 30-40% of all infertility cases in the world. Most women can conceive naturally even of irregular periods by having sex during there fertile window.

However, if your irregular periods are being caused by PCOS, endometriosis, ovarian cancer or thyroid disorder, you may have a difficult time getting pregnant. In this case, you will have to focus on the treatment of the underlying cause.

Fertile Window

The fertile window is 5-6 days in your menstrual cycle wherein your chances of getting pregnant are more than other days of the month. This time comes around the time you ovulate, and that can be tracked using Fertility Monitors. Gynaecologists suggest that having intercourse every day or every alternate day in this period can increase your conception chances by up to 89%.

Conclusion

Irregular periods are a common menstrual problem that can cause infertility. If any of the symptoms are relatable, you should talk to your gynaecologist and get treated at the earliest.

Written by Josephine Joseph
On July 29, 2020