A monthly menstrual cycle, or period, is a necessary function of a woman’s body in order to maintain a healthy reproductive system. You have probably been told that a period is every 28 days. But the length in between periods can vary from woman to woman and even from month to month. A period occurring between 21 and 35 days is considered normal.
But suppose your period comes every 20 days, or doesn’t come at all and you are not pregnant, or it is unusually heavy and lasts seven or more days. These are just a few typical definitions of an “irregular period.”
An irregular period is usually benign and should not be considered worrisome. Thirty percent of women during their childbearing years experience irregular periods.
However, if you experience an irregular period for three consecutive months, you may consider seeing a gynecologist.
What causes irregular periods?
Common causes of abnormal and irregular periods may include:
• Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Also known as PCOS, this condition causes heavy and painful periods.
• Thyroid Disorders: Hormonal imbalance in the thyroid can affect the whole body, including your periods.
• Use of Hormonal Contraceptives: Hormonal IUDs, “the Pill,” the patch, and other hormonal contraceptives can cause excessive bleeding. (However, hormonal birth control is a treatment therapy for other women. Whether it’s a cause or a cure depends on your body chemistry.)
• Lifestyle: Extreme diet, exercise, stress, and weight gain or loss can all contribute to irregular periods.
Are there treatments available for irregular periods?
Yes. Treatment can vary significantly, as the appropriate therapy will depend entirely on the cause of the irregular periods. From medication to lifestyle changes to in-office treatments and surgery… you have options. Talk to your women’s health care provider at Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center for more information. Or, read this article to learn more about available treatments.