When To See A Gp
You dont need to get medical advice if you have always had slightly irregular periods or youre still going through puberty.
But see a GP if:
- your periods suddenly become irregular and youre under 45
- you have periods more often than every 21 days or less often than every 35 days
- your periods last longer than 7 days
- theres a big difference between your shortest and longest menstrual cycle
- you have irregular periods and youre struggling to get pregnant
There might not be anything wrong, but its a good idea to get checked out to see what the cause might be.
You might be referred to a specialist called a gynaecologist if you need any tests or treatment.
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Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Improving your overall health before pregnancy is important for everyone, but its even more crucial for women with irregular periods. These are some simple yet effective lifestyle changes you can make:
- quit smoking cigarettes
- eat a healthy, balanced diet
- get light to moderate exercise
- avoid excessive dieting or exercising
- take a daily multivitamin
- take folic acid and Coq10 supplements
These changes are affordable, good for your overall well-being, and may help you conceive.
Youre Dealing With A Medical Condition
Several medical issues could be affecting your cycle:
- Thyroid disorder. This is a pretty common culprit. A 2016 study in 100 women found that 44 percent of those who had period irregularities also had thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism may cause longer, heavier periods, while hyperthyroidism may cause shorter, lighter ones.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome . In the United States, 6 to 12 percent of people who menstruate have PCOS. It affects your ovaries and your hormones, so it can cause irregular periods and other symptoms. You may notice elevated testosterone levels, ovarian cysts, weight gain, acne, or hair loss.
- Uterine fibroids. These are noncancerous muscular tumors inside your uterus. These growths can affect your period, but they can also cause fertility issues, lower back pain, bloating, pain during sex, and a swollen abdomen.
- Endometriosis. This painful condition causes tissue similar to your uterine lining to grow outside your uterus. It affects about 10 percent of people who menstruate. It can cause long, heavy periods with spotting in between.
- Some cancers. Cervical, uterine, and endometrial cancers can all cause super long and heavy periods, bleeding between periods, and other symptoms.
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Do You Need Contraceptives During Perimenopause
Unless you are absolutely sure you are in full menopause, getting pregnant is still a possibility and therefore contraceptives are essential. Whether you are using birth control or other methods of contraception, if you want to be sure you still need to use it. Some studies have found that over 75% of pregnancies in women over 40 are unplanned, so its important to assume you are fertile, unless proven otherwise.
How To Quickly Get Pregnant With Irregular Periods
A health care provider can help find a diagnosis and suggest treatment for those with irregular menstrual cycles. There are also habits that may make it easier to get pregnant fast with irregular periods naturally. Although these habits cant replace medical treatment, they may help improve the chances of conception.
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Irregular Periods And Ovulation
Its possible to ovulate without later bleeding like a period. This often occurs because of previous uterine scarring or certain hormonal medications.
Its also possible to have menstrual-like bleeding without ovulation. This generally happens when the uterine lining becomes so thick it becomes unstable and naturally sloughs off.
The uterine lining can become thick without ovulation if the hormone estrogen, which is produced prior to ovulation, continues to be secreted unopposed by the other female hormone, progesterone, which is produced after ovulation.
There are many possible causes for irregular menstruation, and many of the causes can affect ovulation or make getting pregnant more difficult. In some cases, the cause of irregular menstruation is unknown.
Some causes that may affect ovulation and your ability to carry a pregnancy include:
A Curious Case Of Anovulation
Irregular periods may also be a sign of anovulation. During the menstrual cycle, a mature egg releases. When ovulation does not occur, the cycle is anovulatory. Though not a disease, research shows consistent anovulation indicates an underlying fertility or hormonal issue. In most cases, doctors prescribe fertility drugs or other treatment to improve ovulation and regulate the period.
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How To Get Pregnant Fast With Irregular Periods
Although getting pregnant with irregular cycles may take longer, its doable. Heres what you need to know to figure out why your periods are irregular, manage your cycles naturally, time sex and get pregnant in no time.
What Is An Irregular Period Anyway
First thing first, lets get to know what an irregular period is.
According to the Office of Womens Health, an irregular period is any cycle that is less than 24 days or more than 38 days.
This is something I struggled with trying to conceive my first baby. My cycles were often longer than 38 days , but had been that way since I was a teenager. So, I assumed my irregular periods were normal until I had difficulty conceiving.
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What Are Considered Irregular Periods
Well, the average menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days. Cycles that are shorter or longer by more than 7 days are considered abnormal. In other words, cycles that are shorter or longer than every 21-35 days.
If your cycle length falls outside this range, you may not be ovulating each month, which will decrease your chances of getting pregnant. The medical term used to refer to this set of problems is anovulatory disorders. There are different causes for anovulation, and it is recommended that you talk with your gynecologist if this is a regular problem for you.
Some of the reasons that women can fail to ovulate are:
- an overactive or underactive thyroid
- extreme stress or exercise
- and in rare cases, benign or cancerous growths within the brain.
However, the most common reason for irregular periods and anovulation is a disorder called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome . PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects 5-10% of all females. Women are often unaware that they have this diagnosis until they start trying to conceive, since many of them are placed on birth control as teenagers to help regulate their periods.
The diagnosis of PCOS is made using 3 criteria: the inability of the ovaries to release an egg on a regular basis signs of increased male hormone levels such as acne or hair growth in certain areas and/or polycystic-appearing ovaries on ultrasound. If you have two out of three of these, you fit the diagnosis of PCOS.
Can A Girl Get Pregnant If Her Periods Are Irregular
I have irregular periods. Can I still get pregnant if I don’t get my period all the time? Kim*
Yes! Any time a girl has unprotected sex, she could get pregnant.
Getting pregnant is related to ovulation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. It is the time when a girl is most likely to get pregnant. A girl with irregular periods usually still ovulates, just not on a regular, predictable schedule.
All girls, especially girls with irregular periods, can ovulate at different points from cycle to cycle. That makes it impossible for a girl to know when she is most fertile. Irregular periods also can make it hard for a girl to know if she is pregnant, since she doesn’t know when to expect her period.
Having unprotected sex at any time is risky. Along with the risk of getting pregnant, you could also get an STD, such as chlamydia, genital warts, or HIV. The only way to completely prevent pregnancy and STDs is abstinence .
If you do have sex, use a condom every time to protect against unplanned pregnancy and STDs. For added protection, many couples use condoms along with another method of birth control, like birth control pills or an IUD. Talk to your doctor about the best type of birth control for you.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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Fertility Awareness As A Method Of Birth Control
All birth control methods can fail, even those with the highest effectiveness rate like intrauterine devices or tubal ligation. People should understand how well each option works prior to deciding upon a method of contraception.
When using fertility awareness as a method of birth control, fewer than five out of 100 women will become pregnant during the first year of perfect use. That being said, this method of birth control is very difficult to do without error.
When tracking your cycle, the first day should be when you begin bleeding. For most women, ovulationthe release of the egg from the ovariesoccurs around day 14. Some women may bleed for up to 10 days. Therefore, they may become fertile only four days after their period ends, Harper said. Some women even have earlier ovulations and some have later ovulations.
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What Can Cause Irregular Periods
Irregularity in menstrual cycle is normal during illness or stressful time and in most cases the periods becomes regular once the illness or the stress is resolved. Some women may experience chronic irregularity and it is caused due to hormonal imbalance. One of the common reasons for hormonal imbalance in women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome , a medical condition. PCOS symptoms include stimulation of many follicles that increases the level of estrogen in the body without the release of an egg . Increased levels of estrogen cause thickening of uterine lining, which then sheds resulting in a period without the ovulation.. Also Read – Skin Infections Can Lead to Rheumatic Fever: Study
Another reason for hormonal imbalance are lack of proper nutrition, physical stress and excessive exercise. Doing strenuous exercises for three or more hours every day can make it difficult for the brain to trigger the production of hormones required for the development of follicle and this could lead to deficiency of estrogen. Eating disorder can lead to irregular or absence of menstrual cycle.
Being overweight and underweight also increases the risk of irregular menstrual cycle. Overactive and underactive thyroid gland can also cause irregular periods, which may indicate that the ovulation process is inconsistent. Less ovulation means fewer opportunities to conceive..
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Underactive Or Overactive Thyroid
The thyroid controls practically every process in the body. Hypo- or hyperthyroidism can cause infertility, weight changes, depression, anxiety, and many other symptoms. Once someone has started treatment and their thyroid levels return to normal, they are typically more likely to get pregnant faster.
What Can I Do To Determine If Im Ovulating
While one of the biggest indicators of ovulation is a regular menstrual cycle, there are electronic apps and ovulation predictor kits you can purchase. But be mindful, Dr. Sandsmark said, as some of these tools can vary in quality and data on their usefulness are limited.
Another issue is that unless you have regular cycles, both the apps and predictor kits can be more challenging to use. So those who may need them the most , might have the most difficulty using them.
The most accurate and helpful tool is bloodwork. Bloodwork ordered by your physician done on specific days of your menstrual cycle can help determine the best options for trying to conceive, Dr. Sandsmark said.
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Lifestyle Changes And Supplements To Regulate Ovulation
Fertility drugs aren’t your only option. You may be able to make lifestyle changes, depending on the cause of your irregular cycles.
If you are overweight, losing some weight may be enough to jumpstart ovulation and help you conceive. Research has shown that obese women who lose just 10% of their body weight can start ovulating on their own again.
Remember, though, that some weight problems are caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance. Dont assume your obesity is just a question of eating right. See your doctor, and then make a weight loss plan.
If extreme dieting is the problem, changing your diet to a more balanced plan, and even gaining some weight if you’re underweight, can help regulate your cycles. If your issue is over-exercise, cutting back may regulate your cycles. If youre an athlete, speak to your doctor about your options. You may need to take a break from your sport to jump-start your cycles again.
You may want to consider trying a fertility supplement . Two fertility supplements that may help regulate irregular cycles are myo-inositol and chaste tree berry . Whether or not these supplements can truly be effective in regulating periods and improving fertility is has not yet been determined.
What Should I Avoid If Im Trying To Get Pregnant
In addition to taking those steps, here are a few things the Mayo Clinic recommends avoiding if youre trying to get pregnant fast :
- Dont smoke
- Dont drink alcohol
- Curb caffeine
- Dont overdo strenuous exercise . Exercise is essential but if youre trying to get preggers, cool it with the super intense workouts. You should still work out but not like youre training for the Olympics.
- Put off having sex. Obvi, right? But just in case it needs to be said, you should have loads of sex. Make it a part of your schedule if you need to.
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What Is An Irregular Period
Women are often told that the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. In reality, this number is based on mean and median averages. What counts as a normal period varies widely from woman to woman. A normal period may occur every 21 days to 35 days and typically lasts two to eight days.
An irregular period is defined as one or more of the following:
- A menstrual cycle lasting fewer than 21 days or more than 35 days
- A period that lasts fewer than two days or longer than eight days
- Cycles that vary in length by more than seven to nine days
- Having fewer than nine menstrual periods in a year also known as oligomenorrhea
- Going 90+ days without a menstrual period with no medical explanation also known as amenorrhea
Irregular periods can also be characterized by abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding, also known as menorrhagia. Symptoms of menorrhagia include:
- Soaking through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours
- Filling a menstrual cup every 2-3 hours
- Needing to double-up on menstrual pads or waking up in the middle of the night to change your pad
- Passing blood clots larger than the size of a quarter
- Symptoms of anemia, such as tiredness, dizziness, or shortness of breath
Cycle length by itself doesnt determine irregular periods and you may have one or more signs that your periods are irregular. These symptoms can also change month to month for many women.