Why Is My Period Cycle Irregular

It Could Be A Sign Of Cancer

Why are my periods irregular?

Disruption to your monthly cycle could be a sign of cervical, uterine, or endometrial cancer.

These cancers usually cause extra long or heavy periods, bleeding between periods, irregular discharge, and bleeding after sex. Post-menopausal bleeding is also a warning sign of reproductive cancer.

But remember, these symptoms can be caused by a bunch of less serious issues.

Keep up with your yearly pap smear and HPV test, and always keep your doctor in the loop about weird periods, unusual discharge, or pain during sex.

You know yourself best. if something seems strange for your body, say something.

  • more than three missed periods in a row
  • periods longer than a week
  • heavy bleeding that soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour
  • periods less than 21 days apart or more than 35 days apart
  • spotting between periods
  • bleeding after sex or between periods
  • unusual discharge accompanied by a fever

To get to the bottom of your wacky flow, youll need to talk to your doctor about:

  • recent emotional trauma or distress
  • mental health issues youre experiencing
  • how many pads or tampons you go through in a day
  • your sexual history

To reach a diagnosis, you might need to have:

  • bloodwork

Who Is At Risk For Amenorrhea

Risk factors for amenorrhea include:

  • Family history of amenorrhea or early menopause.
  • Genetic or chromosomal condition that affects your menstrual cycle.
  • Obesity or being underweight.

Other causes of secondary amenorrhea can include:

  • Stress.
  • Weight changes extreme weight loss or obesity.
  • Exercising associated with low weight.
  • Ongoing illness or chronic illness.

You may also have conditions that can cause secondary amenorrhea:

  • Primary ovarian insufficiency, when you experience menopause before age 40.
  • Hypothalamus disorders, such as functional hypothalamic amenorrhea which is also called hypothalamic amenorrhea . FHA is a condition where amenorrhea is associated with stress or weight loss, but isnt clearly caused by an organic issue with a womans body.
  • Pituitary disorders, such as a benign pituitary tumor or excessive production of prolactin.

What If I Miss A Period

A missed period is one of the first signs of pregnancy, but it doesnt always mean youre pregnant. Sometimes you skip a period for no reason at all, especially during the first few years of your period. Lots of other things can throw off your regular cycle and mess with the timing of your period. These include:

  • Using hormonal birth control, like the pill, patch, ring, implant, and hormonal IUD

  • Stress

  • Sudden weight gain or loss

  • Having very little body fat, which can happen if youre an athlete or have an eating disorder

  • Menopause

Take a pregnancy test if you had unprotected sex and then missed your period. Just missing your period isnt a foolproof way to know that youre pregnant a pregnancy test is the only way to find out for sure. You can get a pregnancy test at drugstores or your local Planned Parenthood health center.

Hormonal birth control can affect your cycle, and even make your period stop altogether. If youve been using your birth control correctly or are on a highly effective method , its very, very unlikely that a missed period means youre pregnant. But you can always take a pregnancy test to be sure.

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Did We Answer Your Question About Period Problems

For more information about period problems, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or check out the following resources from other organizations:

Can You Get Pregnant With An Irregular Period

Bleeding or Spotting Between Periods: Causes and What to Do

Absolutely yes, says Lynn. Sometimes you can ovulate with irregular cycles, sometimes you dont ovulate with irregular cycles. If you’re not ovulating, you’re not going to get pregnant, but if you are ovulating with irregular cycles, you can. You can have bleeding without ovulating but it’s a real period only if you ovulate. You should use contraception if not desiring pregnancy and to protect against STDs.

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When Will My Period Return

Your first period after miscarriage will be unpredictable. Menstruation will definitely look different than before a heavier flow, some spotting, or nothing at allas your body recovers.

Just know that your cycle should return to normal within two months, although it can also happen sooner, says Dr. Zev Williams, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Program for Early and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. During this timeframe, the uterine lining should go back to its pre-pregnancy state, and your levels of pregnancy hormone hCG will also drop.

Also note that if your cycle was irregular before, you can count on an unpredictable cycle after recovering from a miscarriage too. But if your periods came like clockwork before the pregnancy, but they remain unpredictable a few months after a miscarriage, contact your OBGYN. She may give you progesterone to clean out your uterine lining, or put you on birth-control pills to regulate your cycle.

Pathologic Findings In The Reproductive Tract

Vaginal bleeding may be a response to abnormal changes in the uterine cavity or rarely even the cervix or vagina. The most common pathologic causes include polyps and fibroids. Endometrial polyps are benign localized overgrowths of the lining of the inside of the uterus, Fibroids are benign tumors which are made up of muscle cells and can grow to very large sizes. Some fibroids like polyps grow into the lining of the uterus and can severely disrupt a womens menstrual cycle and induce bleeding irregularly and at times excessively. Polyps unlike fibroids can also grow on the cervix and cause bleeding from here as well.

The least likely cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding is cancer of either the uterus or cervix, which can present with unexpected bleeding. Although rare, this problem makes it especially important to evaluate women who are around the time of menopause and postmenopause where the incidence increases. It is important to realize, however, that the most common cause of bleeding in these women is physiologic estrogen deficiency the natural process of declining estrogen levels in a womens body.

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Period Problem: Heavy Bleeding

Heavy periods affect one in five American women each year.13 If you have heavy bleeding, your periods may be so painful and heavy that you find it hard to do normal activities such as going to work or school.

Causes of heavy bleeding include:

Some research has found that women with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome have a higher risk for heavy bleeding.15 Women with ME/CFS may experience a range of symptoms that can include fatigue , muscle and joint pain, and memory problems.

Why Did I Miss A Period

Why are my periods irregular / Reasons for irregular periods

Missing a period is not uncommon, and most of the time, it is not a cause for concern. Some of the reasons you might miss a period include:

Normal lifecycle changes

There are a number of changes that happen in the female lifecycle that can result in a skipped period. All of these are normal reasons to miss a period and are not cause for concern.

For example:


The most common reason for a missed period is pregnancy. If this is a possibility, take a home pregnancy test to see if this is the cause of your missed period. If you skip a period and then have one the next month at the expected time, its possible that a non-viable pregnancy occurred, and the period is actually an early miscarriage.


Breastfeeding can suppress your period, depending on how frequently you are nursing. You may get a period while breastfeeding, and then not have another one for several months or more, particularly if your baby is nursing exclusively. You can ovulate before you get your period, so its important to use birth control during this time, if you dont want to get pregnant.


A skipped period may be a sign that you are entering menopause and your periods are beginning to become less regular, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms of menopause . If you are 45 or older, there is a good chance this is the cause of a missed period.


Weight loss

Birth control

Hormonal changes


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There Are Many Reasons That Periods Can Be Irregular Or Absent Some Require Treatment And Some Do Not

It is not uncommon to occasionally miss a period, or for periods to become irregular from time to time. Under some circumstances, periods can even stop altogether. Sometimes these irregularities are due to normal changes, and are not cause for concern. Other times, they are a sign that something is going on, and a call to your doctor is warranted.

Explore Irregular or Absent Periods:

Are There Complications Of Amenorrhea

Amenorrhea is not life-threatening. However, some causes may lead to increased risks over the long term, so amenorrhea should always be evaluated. Researchers have found a greater risk of hip and wrist fractures in people with amenorrhea. You may also be at high risk for bone thinning and fertility difficulties.

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What Are The Survival Rates For Cervical Cancer

In women with invasive cervical cancer that is caught at the earliest stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is over 90%. The overall 5-year relative survival rate for cervical cancer is about 68%. The rate takes into account all stages of the cancer combined.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/30/2018.


Is A 50 Day Cycle Normal

Why Hasn T My Period Come

Though the average cycle is 28 days long, anything between 21 and 45 days is considered normal. Thats a 24-day difference. For the first year or two after menstruation begins, women tend to have longer cycles that dont start at the same time every month. Older women often have shorter, more consistent cycles.

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Cause #: Thyroid Disorders

Although this may be an indiscernible problem, your thyroid can cause many issues related to hormonal imbalances. Studies have shown that thyroid disorders may actually be one of the leading causes of missed periods, affecting nearly 15% of amenorrhea patients. The thyroid gland largely controls your metabolism and impacts many sex hormones, therefore, thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can cause widespread symptoms like changes in estrogen and therefore missed periods.

Uterine Polyps Or Fibroids

Uterine polyps, also called endometrial polyps, are soft growths in the endometrium. They can range from sesame-seed sized to larger than a golf ball. These growths are not usually cancerous. Uterine polyps become more common with age and are rare in anyone under 20. You may develop one or many.

Uterine fibroids are another type of non-cancerous growth on the uterus, but they develop from the muscle tissue rather than the endometrium. They may be inside or outside of the uterus and, as with polyps, you can have one or several.

Both polyps and fibroids can cause menstrual irregularities, including more frequent periods, longer and heavier periods, and bleeding between periods. They can also interfere with your fertility and cause miscarriage. Other symptoms of uterine polyps include:

  • Post-menopausal bleeding or spotting

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Irregular Periods May Occur After Miscarriage Pregnancy Loss

Also referred to as a spontaneous abortion, a miscarriage happens when an embryo or fetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. After 20 weeks, pregnancy loss is considered a stillbirth. After these events, it can take a couple of months before you will start having regular periods again, says Lynn.

What Is An Irregular Period

Reasons for late period – Why is my period late – irregular periods

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.

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Certain Sexually Transmitted Diseases

If your period starts getting shorter than usual or youâre experiencing bleeding between periods, the culprit could also be a sexually transmitted disease . Specifically, chlamydia and gonorrhea are two bacterial STDs that can infect the uterus. If they cause inflammation there, it can result in more frequent periods. Luckily, itâs easy to test for and treat these STDs, so if you think you might be at risk, go get tested so you can get the care you need.

When To Call A Doctor

Call your doctor if you have had regular, monthly periods and the pattern changes. Your doctor may give you a physical exam and other tests to rule out pregnancy or a health problem.

  • 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.

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Should You Be Concerned If Your Period Is Irregular

A couple of irregular periods per year are usually nothing to worry about. Any more than that, and you should see a doctor to be sure an ovulation problem or health condition isnt the cause. If you are someone who’s not on contraceptives and not of age for perimenopause or menopause and your periods are irregular, you should alert your physician. For example, if you do have PCOS, an irregular cycle can increase your risk of uterine cancer, says Lynn.

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