How Is Abnormal Menstruation Treated
The treatment of abnormal menstruation depends on the underlying cause:
There are other procedural options which can help heavy menstrual bleeding. A five-year contraceptive intrauterine device , called Mirena®, has been approved to help lessen bleeding, and can be as effective as surgical procedures such as endometrial ablation. This is inserted in the doctors office with minimal discomfort, and also offers contraception. Endometrial ablation is another option. It uses heat or electrocautery to destroy the lining of the uterus. It is usually only used when other therapies have been tried and failed. This is because scars from the procedure can make monitoring the uterus more difficult if bleeding persists in the future.
Possible Causes Of Irregularity
There are lots of things that can cause your period to be irregular. Pregnancy, obviously, but also stress, birth control, some medications, hormone issues like a thyroid disorder, benign growths like fibroids, and more serious medical conditions.
If youve gained or lost weight recently, that could have an impact on your menstrual cycle. Additionally, disruptions to your daily routine like travel or illness can cause menstrual irregularity.
Endometriosis is a condition that can cause painful and irregular periods. If you have endometriosis, the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterus, and so it cant break down and bleed away during your period.
If your period is irregular, and youre not pregnant or recently started a new type of birth control, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. She can help you determine the reason for the irregularity.
Because youre a unique individual, its important to discuss whats normal for you with Dr. Pourzand, as well as whats not. Dr. Pourzand considers your circumstances, medical history, and concerns during your evaluation and in making treatment suggestions. She provides the kind of highly personalized care you can trust.
You can schedule your appointment using our online tools, or youre welcome to call the location thats most convenient for you.
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Understanding The Length Of Your Cycle
To get an idea of your cycle length and when your periods are due, it is a great idea to keep a record of your periods. This can be done on a period tracker app on your phone or on a calendar.
The length of a cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next.
It is a good idea to track your period length over several months to get an idea of how much your cycle changes. This can help you find out what is normal for you. If you are ever concerned and decide to see a doctor, this record also makes it easier to explain what is happening with your cycles, particularly if there is no observable pattern.
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When Should I See A Doctor About My Menstrual Cycle
Contact your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center if:
Youre worried that you might be pregnant because youve had unprotected sex and missed your period.
Your period is so heavy that you have to change maxi pads or super tampons every hour.
Your period lasts much longer than usual, or longer than 7 days.
You’re light-headed, dizzy, or your pulse is racing.
Youre 16 years old and still havent gotten your period.
You have severe pain before or during your period.
You have unusual bleeding between periods.
You suddenly feel sick or get a fever when using a tampon.
Your periods or PMS keeps you from your normal day-to-day activities.
Your periods stop or suddenly become irregular.
Your period comes more often than every 21 days or less often than every 45 days.
You get very anxious or depressed around the time you get your period.
Period Problem: Menstrual Migraine
About four in 10 women will get a migraine in their lifetime. About half of those women report that their migraine happens around their periods.17
Researchers are not sure what causes migraine. Many factors can trigger migraine, including stress, anxiety, and bright or flashing lights. Also, hormones that control the menstrual cycle may affect headache-related chemicals in the brain.18
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When To See A Gp
You don’t need to get medical advice if you have always had slightly irregular periods or you’re still going through puberty.
But see a GP if:
- your periods suddenly become irregular and you’re 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
- there’s a big difference between your shortest and longest menstrual cycle
- you have irregular periods and you’re struggling to get pregnant
There might not be anything wrong, but it’s 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.
A Note About Sex And Gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms, male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .
More persistent irregularity may be a sign of an underlying condition.
The following sections look at some of the potential causes for irregular periods in more detail.
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Get Your Daily Dose Of Vitamins For A Healthy Period
A linked low levels of vitamin D to irregular periods and suggested that taking vitamin D may help regulate menstruation.
A 2014 study also found it effective in treating menstrual irregularity in people with PCOS.
Vitamin D is often added to some foods, including milk and other dairy products and cereal. You can also get vitamin D from sun exposure or through supplementation.
B may also lower the risk of premenstrual symptoms. A
2016 study showed that women who took 40 mg of vitamin B-6 and 500 mg of calcium daily experienced a reduction in PMS symptoms.
When using a supplement, follow the instructions on the packaging, and only buy supplements from reputable sources. You should also talk with your doctor to get the go-ahead before adding any new vitamins or supplements into your diet.
Quick Read Irregular Periods Usually Arent Concerning
- Menstruation is different for everyone.
- Typical cycles vary between 21 and 40 days, and most periods last between two and seven days.
- Experiencing a late or skipped period is normal.
- Stress, weight changes and medical conditions can all cause irregular periods.
- Talk with your doctor if you suddenly experience spotting or bleeding between periods.
You thought you had it all figured out, but then everything changes. Were talking about your period, of course, which has a knack for lulling you into a false sense of predictability and then suddenly flipping the script.
Thought your period came at the end of the month? Now its at the beginning. Not to mention the entire month your period skipped.
It turns out irregular periods are pretty common even for people on birth control. Heres what you need to know about whats normal and whats not.
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Some Symptoms Are More Concerning Than Others
While a skipped period isnt automatically cause for concern, a few other things can be.
If you suddenly start getting a heavy flow during periods or start bleeding between periods , thats something youll want to bring up to your doctor, Zhang says.
Likewise, if your cycle lasts less than 21 days or more than 40, its also worth a visit to your primary care provider. If you skip more than three periods in a row and arent pregnant, thats also something youll want to get checked out.
Getting severe cramps during your period, when you previously didnt, could also be cause for concern.
The bottom line: If you think somethings up, even if its supposedly normal, just get it checked out. For example, Zhang sees many patients who come in because of a skipped period, which is something theyre concerned about but that isnt necessarily a red flag to a doctor.
If youre having new symptoms that are concerning to you, its always fine to go talk with your doctor about it, Zhang says.
When To See A Doctor
Because hormone levels are so sensitive and can change frequently, youre likely to experience irregular periods at some point in your lifetime. With that said, there are some times when you should seek medical assistance. Call your doctor if:
- You miss three or more periods a year
- Your period has always been regular and suddenly becomes irregular
- You have a period more than once every 21 days
- You dont get your period for 35 days
- Your periods are unusually heavy or painful
- Your period lasts longer than 7 days
If youve had regular periods and the pattern suddenly changes, its a good idea to visit your doctor. They can give you a physical exam and rule out any potential problems.
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What Are Irregular Periods
You have irregular periods if the length of your menstrual cycle keeps changing.
Your periods may come early or late.
The average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, although it’s normal for it to be a bit shorter or longer than this.
After puberty, many women develop a regular cycle with a similar length of time between periods. But it’s not uncommon for it to vary by a few days each time.
How Are Irregular Periods Managed
Because there are so many possible causes of irregular periods, any treatment will depend on the likely cause. Your doctor can arrange tests to find out what is affecting your periods.
Sometimes your doctor will recommend a lifestyle change, such as weight loss for women who are overweight, or exercising less if excessive exercise is the cause.
Your doctor might discuss a prescription for the oral contraceptive pill or the contraceptive vaginal ring to make your periods regular. These medicines contain two hormones, which take over your bodys natural hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, and control your menstrual cycles.
Even if you dont mind having an irregular cycle, it may be unhealthy to go for long stretches of time without a period. Speak with your doctor to check if this is a problem for you.
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What Causes This Change In The Body
It mainly comes down to hormones, your bodys messengers, which travel through the bloodstream to affect various functions and processes. When a woman enters middle age, her ovaries start to produce less oestragen. They also produce less ovarian follicles making the ovaries become less responsive to Luteinizing Hormone and Follicle-Stimulating Hormone , two hormones necessary for reproduction and the regulation of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. This decline in oestragen and fluctuating hormones can be the cause of almost any imaginable bleeding pattern. This also includes intermenstrual bleeding, which is separate to irregular menstruation.
What Causes Irregular Periods
There are a variety of reasons why you may be experiencing menstrual irregularity. Excessively heavy or prolonged periods is called menorrhagia.
Common symptoms include a period that lasts longer than 7 days or bleeding thats so heavy you have to change your period product every hour.
Causes of menorrhagia may include:
- Medications. Some anti-inflammatory or hormone medications can affect menstrual bleeding. Heavy bleeding is also a side effect of IUD birth control.
- Hormone changes. An excess of the hormones progestin or estrogen, which regulate the lining of the uterus, may cause heavy bleeding. Hormone imbalances occur most frequently in people who have recently started menstruating or those approaching menopause.
- Medical conditions. Pelvic inflammatory disease , endometriosis, inherited blood disorders, and benign growths and cancers have all been found to possibly cause menstrual irregularity.
Primary dysmenorrhea is a condition that causes extreme pain before and during menstrual periods.
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Causes Of Irregular Periods
There are many possible causes of irregular periods. Sometimes they may just be normal for you.
Common causes include:
- puberty your periods might be irregular for the first year or two
- the start of the menopause
- early pregnancy take a pregnancy test to rule this out
- some types of hormonal contraception such as the contraceptive pill or intrauterine system
- extreme weight loss or weight gain, excessive exercise or stress
- medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or a problem with your thyroid
Should Women With Irregular Periods Panic
Irregular periods are concerning. More so if getting pregnant is on the cards. Missing periods can also be a sign of an underlying medical issue. Theres no need to panic. Take action early. Seek advice from your OB/GYN, as doctors can help increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
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Whats A Normal Menstrual Cycle
Your menstrual cycle lasts from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period. The average menstrual cycle is about 25-30 days, but it can be as short as 21 days or longer than 35 its different from person to person. The number of days in your cycle may also vary from month to month. When you get your period, its normal to bleed anywhere from 2 to 7 days.
The average person loses anywhere between 1-6 tablespoons of menstrual fluid during each period. It can be thin or clumpy, and varies in color from dark red to brown or pink. If your period is so heavy that you have to change maxi pads or super tampons every hour, call your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center.
Everyones body is different, so their periods are different too whats normal varies from person to person, and can change over your lifetime. Some birth control methods or health conditions may also affect your period.
What Is Intermenstrual Bleeding
It is bleeding that occurs before or after the period rather than being part of the cycle and is another common change to your body in your 40s. However, it is always prudent to rule out dysfunctional uterine bleeding. For instance, by booking a cervical smear to rule out cervical cancer. Or an ultrasound scan of the pelvis to check the womb for uterine cancer. These diagnoses are the very worst case scenario, but it is useful to know which symptoms are a cause for concern.
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What Is An Irregular Period
You can find out whether your periods are regular or irregular by charting how long your menstrual cycles are. You can determine your menstrual cycle length by counting from day 1 of your period to day 1 of the next period. Day 1 is traditionally the first day of actual flow. It’s normal to have cycles between 21 and 35 days.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , your period is irregular if it tends to come more frequently than every 21 days or less often than every 35 days. If your cycle length falls in the normal range but varies by seven to nine days from cycle to cycle, that’s a sign of an irregular period, too.
For example, if one cycle is 25 days and the next is 33 days, your cycles would be considered irregular . If your cycle is always between 25 and 35 days and fluctuates by just a few daysmaybe 33 days one month and 35 days the nextthat’s not usually cause for concern.
Should I Be Concerned If My Cycle Has Changed
Any change in your normal menstrual cycle may be a cause for concern. A change in your cycle could be:
- you have a period more often or less often than is normal for you
- your period does not come at all, this is called amenorrhoea
- your bleeding is heavier or lighter than usual
- your period is longer or shorter than is normal for you
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For Many Women That Time Of The Month Isnt Actually A Monthly Occurrence At All
In fact, about one third of women do not have regular periods. This can mean that the time between periods is very long, or changes from cycle to cycle.
Having irregular periods isnt always a bad thing, but it can definitely be a nuisance. Like when it arrives when youre unprepared, or when you are planning to go on holiday.
More seriously though, irregular periods add a degree of difficulty to getting pregnant or can be the first signal that something else may be wrong with your health.
So how do you know if your periods are normal? What is a normal length of time between periods? And how irregular can they be before you should start to worry?
When To Seek Help
- You havent had a period for three or more months.
- You have menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than a week.
- Youre soaking through a pad or tampon every hour or two, for several hours, during your period.
- Your periods are very painful.
- Youve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for one year and are younger than 35 or for six months or longer and are 35 or older.
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