Irregular menses bleeding refer to menstrual cycles that deviate from a typical pattern. A typical menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days, with bleeding lasting 2 to 7 days. Irregular menstruation may include cycles that are shorter or longer than usual or periods that occur at unpredictable intervals.
What irregular Means:
In the case of menstrual cycles, irregular periods are characterized by;
variations in cycle length
duration of bleeding and
frequency of periods
This can make it difficult to predict when their next period will occur. This can also interfere with their ability to conceive because a person can’t track their cycle properly. This leads to anxiety and depression too.
However, it’s important to note that irregular periods are a common experience for many people. With proper diagnosis and management, it’s often possible to regulate menstrual cycles and improve overall reproductive health.
Irreguler menses in adolescence:
An irregular period is common in adolescence. During puberty, the body goes through many changes which include hormonal changes too that can affect the menstrual cycle. It’s normal for a teenager to experience an irregular menstrual cycle for the first many times after she starts menstruating.
For some girls, the menstrual cycle may take up to two years to get regular, while for others, irregular periods may persist into early adulthood. Irregular menses during adolescence can be caused by numerous factors, which include changes in hormones, fast growth and development, and stress.
While irregular bleeding during adolescence is generally not a big concern, it’s important for teenage girls to track their periods and chart any unusual symptoms or changes with a Doctor. This can help pinpoint any underlying conditions or health issues that may be contributing to irregular periods.
Causes of Irregular periods:
What makes menstruation irregular include hormonal imbalances, stress, weight changes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, and certain medications.
- Underlying medical conditions: Conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, and uterine fibroids can cause irregular periods.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as hormonal birth control or antidepressants, can affect menstrual cycles.
- Age and perimenopause: As women approach menopause, their menstrual cycles may become irregular before stopping altogether.
It’s important to note that some degree of variation in menstrual cycles is normal. However, it needs to be checked if irregular periods persist or are accompanied by other symptoms.
Can a regular period become irregular:
It is possible for a regular period to become irregular. A regular menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days, with most women experiencing their period every 28 days. Irregular periods with no explanation can be frustrating too. However, factors such as hormonal imbalances, stress, weight fluctuations, and medications can all contribute to the disturbance in the regularity of your menstrual cycle.
For example, a sudden increase in stress levels can cause hormonal imbalances that disturb the normal menstrual cycle, leading to irregular periods. Similarly, changes in body weight, such as rapid weight loss or gain, can also affect hormonal balance which can cause irregular bleeding.
Certain medications, such as hormonal contraceptives, can make your menstrual cycle irregular. For example, some forms of hormonal birth control pills or injectables can cause lighter periods or even stop menstruation altogether.
It’s important to note that occasional bleeding is common and usually not a cause for concern. But, if you experience persistent irregular periods or notice significant changes in your menstrual cycle then you should consult a Doctor / Gynaecologist.
Will I get pregnant with irregular periods?
Having irregular periods can make it more challenging to predict ovulation. Ovulation is the time when an egg is released from the ovary and can be fertilized by sperm. This can make it more difficult to conceive. Especially if you have irregular menses or are unsure when ovulation is occurring, as you may not know when you are most fertile.
It’s important to note that having irregular periods does not mean that you cannot get pregnant.
There are many strategies that can help increase your chances of conception, even if you have irregular periods. These may include:
- Tracking ovulation: The methods such as basal body temperature charting or ovulation predictor kits can help you identify when you are ovulating, even if your periods are irregular.
- Maintaining a healthy weight: Excess weight or weight loss can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to irregular periods, which can affect fertility. Maintaining a healthy weight can help regulate menstrual cycles and improve fertility.
- Reducing stress: High levels of stress can disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation. Taking steps to reduce stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques or getting regular exercise, can improve fertility.
- Seeking medical intervention: If you are having trouble conceiving, your Doctor will conduct tests to identify underlying conditions that may be affecting fertility, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders. Treatment options may include medications or fertility treatments.
It’s important to note that fertility varies from person to person, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how easy or difficult it may be to conceive with irregular periods. However, taking steps to improve your health and well-being can help improve your chances of conceiving.
Affect Of Irregular Periods On Pregnancy:
Will irregular periods affect pregnancy? It can be a sign of underlying hormonal imbalances or other conditions that can affect fertility and pregnancy. For example, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that can cause irregular periods as well as other symptoms such as acne, weight gain, and excess hair growth. PCOS can affect fertility and increase the risk of complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
If you do become pregnant with irregular periods, it’s important to work with a Doctor / Gynaecologist to monitor your pregnancy and ensure that you and your baby are healthy.
Irregular periods with menopause:
Irregular bleeding is a common symptom of menopause too. Menopause is a natural process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. As women enter their menopause phase, their bodies undergo hormonal changes that can cause irregular menstrual cycles.
During perimenopause, which is the period leading up to menopause, menstrual cycles may become shorter or longer than usual, and periods may be lighter or heavier than usual.
Once menopause has reached, periods will stop completely. However, it’s important to note that irregular bleeding or spotting may still occur during menopause.
Irregular menses with Menorrhagia:
Irregular menses or irregular periods can sometimes be accompanied by menorrhagia. Menorrhagia is a medical term used to describe heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding. Menorrhagia can be a symptom of various underlying conditions. It can lead to anemia, fatigue, and other health problems.
There are several potential causes of irregular periods with menorrhagia which are;
- hormonal imbalances
- uterine fibroids
- thyroid disorders
In some cases, certain medications or medical treatments, such as chemotherapy, can also cause menorrhagia.
Irregular periods with Birth Control:
This can be a common side effect of some types of birth control. Hormonal birth control methods, such as the pill, patch, ring, or hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), work by altering hormone levels in the body. This can affect the menstrual cycle and cause irregular bleeding.
It’s important to note that some irregular bleeding or spotting is normal with hormonal birth control, especially during the first few months of use.
If you are experiencing irregular periods with birth control, there are many management strategies that may help. Switching to a different type of birth control or adjusting the dose of hormones may help regulate your menstrual cycle. Additionally, some women may find it helpful to use non-hormonal methods of birth control, such as a copper IUD or barrier methods like condoms.
Irregular period with IUD (irregular period with copper IUD):
A common side effect of intrauterine devices (IUDs) is irregular periods, which are an effective form of birth control. IUDs work by releasing hormones or copper into the uterus, which can alter the menstrual cycle and cause irregular bleeding.
It’s important to note that some irregular bleeding is normal with an IUD, especially during the first few months after insertion. If you experience prolonged or heavy bleeding, or if your bleeding patterns change significantly after having the IUD inserted, it’s important to consult a Doctor to rule out any underlying conditions.
Some women may experience irregular bleeding with hormonal IUDs as well.
Irregular periods with Mirena:
Mirena is a type of intrauterine device (IUD) that contains a synthetic form of the hormone progestin. Irregular bleeding is a common side effect of Mirena, especially during the first few months after insertion.
Hormonal IUDs like Mirena are often associated with lighter periods or even the absence of periods altogether. It’s important to note that Mirena does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it’s still important to use barrier methods of protection such as condoms.
Can irregular periods become regular:
The answer is YES. With appropriate management and treatment, it is possible for irregular periods to become regular. Once the underlying cause like PCOs, the thyroid is identified, the management and treatment are planned accordingly.
Irregular periods treatment:
Hormonal imbalances may be treated with medications or hormonal therapies, while structural issues may require surgical interventions. In some cases, lifestyle modifications such as maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress, and avoiding excessive exercise can help regulate menstrual cycles.
Additionally, certain natural remedies like herbal supplements and acupuncture may be helpful in managing irregular bleeding.
A gynecologist will be able to determine the cause of your irregular periods and help you develop the best treatment plan for you.