When To Call A Doctor
- You miss three or more periods a year.
- You get your period more often than every 21 days.
- You get your period less often than every 35 days.
- You are bleeding more heavily than usual during your period.
- You bleed for more than 7 days.
- You have more pain than usual during a period.
How Can The Risk Of Abnormal Menstruation Be Reduced
Here are some recommendations for self-care:
- Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising moderately and eating nutritious foods. If you have to lose weight, do so gradually instead of turning to diets that drastically limit your calorie and food intake.
- Make sure you get enough rest.
- Practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
- If you are an athlete, cut back on prolonged or intense exercise routines. Excessive sports activities can cause irregular periods.
- Use birth control pills or other contraceptive methods as directed.
- Change your tampons or sanitary napkins approximately every four to six hours to avoid toxic shock syndrome and prevent infections.
- See a doctor for regular check-ups.
Common Causes Due To Hormone Imbalances
Any sudden postmenopausal bleeding that isnt due to this cause should be checked immediately.
Is the spotting occurring after sexual intercourse?
Is intercourse physically uncomfortable?
Do you have vaginal dryness?
2) Abnormal pregnancyFallopian-tube pregnancy or miscarriage can cause breakthrough bleeding in premenopausal women.
Could you be pregnant?
Do you have any history of miscarriage?
3) Low-dose oral contraceptives, IUD, or postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy Low-dose OCPs in premenopausal women and certain HRT in postmenopausal women may cause breakthrough bleeding. An IUD can sometimes cause spotting due to tissue irritation.
Did you recently start taking birth control pills?
Do you have an IUD?
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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.
How Can Toxic Shock Syndrome Be Prevented
- Consider using sanitary pads instead of tampons during menstrual periods or use pads at night. Switching from tampons to pads every other day or during the times that the menstrual flow is heaviest may also help to reduce risk.
- Women who use tampons during their menstrual periods should change them often. Tampons should be changed at least every four to eight hours. If the flow is heavy, tampons may have to be changed more frequently.
- Use a tampon with the lowest absorbency required for your flow.
- Do not use tampons when you are not menstruating.
- Women who have recovered from a case of toxic shock syndrome should avoid using tampons during menstrual periods. Toxic shock syndrome is more likely to recur in women who have had it.
- Make sure surgical incisions are kept clean to avoid infection. See your doctor if you notice unusual swelling, redness or heat near the wound.
- Follow directions when using vaginal contraceptives such as sponges or diaphragms.
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Ways To Prevent Irregular Periods
- Try to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. If you want to lose weight, do it gradually and with the help of professionals. Exercise moderately and eat nutrient-dense foods.
- If youre an athlete, try to cut back on very long or intense workouts.
- Try relaxation techniques to help with stress and with getting enough sleep.
- Take prescribed birth control correctly. If you are forgetting to take a daily birth control pill, ask your doctor if you should switch to the patch, vaginal ring, implant, or an IUD like Mirena.
- Use condoms to prevent STDs.
- See a doctor for regular check-ups and dont hesitate to bring up any questions or concerns you may have.
What To Do If You Have An Irregular Period
If you have an irregular period, first things first is to find out whats causing it.
If you just got your period or have only had it for two or three years, dont worry about it because eventually it will become regular. If not though, look at whats going on in your life. Are you taking certain medications? Do you workout six days a week? Are you really stressed out about something going on at school or home? Once you know the cause, then you can find ways to fix it.
If youre taking medications and its giving you an irregular period, ask your doctor if you can try something else. If youve experienced weight changes recently, maybe look into changing what you eat or looking into treatment plans for eating disorders. If youre experiencing lots of stress, try reaching out for help from a counsellor or helpline, or even try some coping activities like meditation, working out or trying out a new hobby. If youre exercising really intensely many times a week, try to cut back on how often or how intensely you exercise. With a few changes, youll be able to get your cycle back on track.
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How Often Should You Get Your Period
One essential part of keeping track of your cycle is knowing how long it lasts. But when we talk about how long your menstrual cycle is, were not just talking about how many days youre bleeding . Were talking about the time it takes your body to complete a full menstrual cycle from the first day of your period to the first day of the next period.
While most of us are taught that the menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days on average, theres a window of whats considered normal. A longer monthly cycle or a shorter monthly cycle doesnt alone indicate any issues. However, your cycle length starts changing or your period suddenly stops coming altogether, thats something to bring up with your doctor. Your normal is whats key here.
Interestingly, even among reputable sources, there isnt a consensus on how long cycles should be. The Office on Womens Health reports that 28 days is typical, but cycle length can vary from month to month and periods are still regular if they usually come every 24 to 38 days. The Mayo Clinic, on the other hand, says that menstrual bleeding typically occurs every 2135 days and lasts 27 days, but within a broad range, normal is whats normal for you.
A study of over 98,000 women and over 225,000 menstrual cycles confirmed that theres a big range in what should be considered a normal cycle: 95% of women had cycle lengths between 20 and 40.4 days!
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.
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When To Call The Doctor
- You get irregular periods after having normal cycles.
- Your period happens more often than every 24 days or less often than every 38 days.
Treatment depends on the cause of the irregular periods. Your doctor may give you hormonal birth control, such as a hormonal IUD,8 the pill, shot, or vaginal ring,9 to help control your menstrual cycle. Hormonal birth control is sometimes prescribed by doctors for womens health concerns other than preventing pregnancy.
Random Reasons Why Your Period Is Totally Out Of Whack
Heres what to do when everythings NOT coming up roses.
Most women’s cycles last anywhere from 21 to 35 daysbut about one in 10 have irregular periods or super heavy bleeding, according to the National Institutes of Health. That can mean lots of things, from a period that goes MIA, to periods that are completely unpredictable, to bleeding that drags on for eight days or more, to random spotting.
“Most women are pretty attuned to their period, though changes can occur through decades and after kids,” says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn in in New York. “But if you still think something’s wrong with your period after a month or two, get it checked out.”
Jessica Shepherd, M.D. , an ob-gyn in Chicago, notes that sometimes, changes can be a sign of something more serious. “We may look for an STD or do a biopsy to make sure it’s not something that needs to be treated,” she says.
Here are a few reasons why your period might go wonkyand what you can do about it.
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Uterine Polyps Or Fibroids
Polyps, which afflict 24% of women in their lifetimes, can range from a few millimeters in size to several centimeters and can cause spotting, says Johnson.
Note: Polyps are normally benign, and if they’re small they may resolve on their own. However, larger growths can be cancerous or lead to cancer, in which case your doctor will likely remove the polyps. Cancer in polyps is not common in premenopausal people.
Meanwhile, fibroids, which about 20% to 80% of women will develop during their reproductive years, can cause heavy or unusually long menstrual cycles. They can grow to more than 8 inches. But, unlike polyps, fibroids are less likely to lead to cancer.
Why Do Some Menstrual Periods Become Irregular
There are many variables that can affect the length and timing of your menstrual cycle. Some are correctable, but others can signal significant medical issues.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome This metabolic and hormonal disorder occurs when the ovaries or adrenal glands overproduce the male hormones and the body has insulin resistance. Studies have shown that 87 percent of women with irregular menstrual cycles have PCOS.
- Thyroid or pituitary disorders Hypothyroidism , hyperthyroidism , and hyperprolactinemia can all affect menstrual regularity, says Dr. Lynn. One study found that 44 percent of study participants with irregular periods also had thyroid problems.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease An inflammation of the female reproductive system, PID is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections.
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Is Your Period Normal What You Need To Know About Your Cycle And When To Talk With Your Doc
So, tell me: When was the first day of your last menstrual cycle? If youre a person with ovaries, chances are your doctor has asked you this very question even at appointments not related to your reproductive health.
Why do doctors ask this question? There are some really compelling reasons in addition to providing insight into your reproductive health, your periods regularity can also be an indicator of other health conditions. Knowing whats normal and whats not with your cycle is an important aspect of proactively taking control of your health.
Can You Get Pregnant With Irregular Periods
Yes, its possible to become pregnant with irregular periods. It may be more difficult to track ovulation and identify a missed period, but there are tools and trackers that can help.
If youre concerned your irregular periods may be caused by an underlying issue thats affecting your fertility, talk with your doctor.
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Home Remedies For Irregular Periods In Teens
If your teen has irregular menstruation due to lifestyle factors, you may encourage them to develop new healthy habits.
The following lifestyle changes could help reduce the chances of menstrual abnormalities :
- Performing moderate-intensity exercises
- Consuming less sugar and carbohydrates
- Including nutritious foods in the diet
Encourage your teen to follow a healthy lifestyle. You may explain to them the importance of good habits.
Itâs rather typical for girls to have irregular periods in teens. It could simply be that their bodies are adjusting to the change during the initial years of menstruation, or there could be an underlying cause, such as stress, fluctuating hormone levels, weight, and certain drugs. Consult a gynecologist if your teen girl is experiencing severe cramps or stomach pain, bleeds between periods, has a period that lasts more than seven days, or has any other related concerns. Some lifestyle adjustments, such as a nutritious diet, increased physical exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight, may benefit.
Do You Need A Pap Smear If You’re Not Sexually Active
Not all cervical cancers are caused by being sexually active. Even if you are not having sex, you still need a Pap smear if you’re over the age of 21.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Pap smears are a critical tool for detecting irregular cells in your cervix that may lead to cervical cancer. Check with your healthcare provider if you are between 21 and 65 to make sure you are up to date on your Pap smears. Early detection of precancerous or cancerous cells on your cervix can increase your chances of successful treatment.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heavy Or Irregular Periods
The length of the menstrual cycle and amount of blood flow is unique to each woman. However, most women have a cycle that ranges from 24 to 34 days.
Blood flow averages about four or five days, with a blood loss of about 40 cc . Its important to remember that these are just averages. Your normal may fall outside of these ranges. A blood loss of 80 cc or more is considered an abnormally heavy flow.
Signs that your menstrual flow may be abnormally heavy include:
- soaking through more than one tampon or sanitary pad in an hour for several hours at a time
- waking up during the night because you need to change protection
- passing large blood clots in your menstrual flow
- experiencing a menstrual flow that lasts more than a week
Also, an abnormally heavy flow can cause you to experience the following symptoms, which may be an indication of anemia:
- shortness of breath
While every womans cycle is different, irregularities such as bleeding mid-cycle or bleeding after intercourse are abnormal symptoms.
You should see your gynecologist regularly for a checkup. However, make an appointment right away if you have bleeding or spotting in the following circumstances:
- between periods
Keep track of your menstrual cycles, including how long your blood flow lasts, and how many tampons or sanitary pads you use during each cycle. This information will be helpful at your gynecological appointment.
Avoid products that contain aspirin because they may increase bleeding.
What Causes Irregular Periods
For women between the ages of 45 and 55, fluctuating hormones are the most likely cause of irregular periods. Unfortunately, this is a natural consequence of the body preparing for infertility by producing fewer hormones. Generally, the closer a woman is to menopause, the more likely she is to be affected by hormone fluctuations.
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How Should I Prepare For A Pap Smear
Some things that you do in the days before a Pap smear can affect test results. For the most accurate results, you should:
- Not have vaginal sex for two days before your exam.
- Not use tampons, vaginal creams or medicines, birth control foams or jellies, lubricants or douches for at least two days before the test.
- Schedule the appointment at least five days after your period ends.
Could Irregular Periods Be Dangerous
When menstrual flow exceeds regular levels, it can be considered a health risk. Every woman knows her body and the normal amount of bleeding she experiences as her period progresses. When it gets too heavy, it can cause low levels of hemoglobin and lead to anemia.
A womans body is biologically prepared to compensate for the loss of blood that occurs during the menstrual period, but if the flow is too heavy and not within normal parameters, then the body will send out clear signals. These can be the following, and all of them show that something isnt right.
- Muscle fatigue
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