Irregular periods or menstruation, is a type of menstrual disorder which causes irregularity in the length of the cycle as well as problems in the quantum and timing of vaginal bleeding. In normal circumstances, the menstrual bleeding takes place for 4-5 days between two cycles that extends for 28b days.
If there is a variation of 21-36 days or more, then condition is known as metorrhagia or irregular periods. Many young girls and married women may experience irregular periods and accompanied discomfort for a variety of reasons.
The main reasons for the irregularity in the menstrual cycle are as follows:
Reasons for Irregular Periods
Stress and anxiety can trigger off irregularity in the periods and the overall menstrual cycle. In the contemporary times, urban and work related stress and the lack of channels for emotional support, are causing many health related problems. In women, high levels of stress can lead to prolonging or shortening of the menstrual cycles, differences in the quantum of bleeding and menstrual discharge and other reproductive issues along with a host of other health problems.
Meditation, relaxation techniques, proper management of time and work-home issues and other organizational and relationship management tricks, can help in alleviating the levels of stress. The lack of vacations and short breaks, disharmony in the family environment, health issues of dependent sand over indulgence in work can lead to stress, that is one of the primary causes of irregular periods
The trend of eating food on the move, intake of high calorific and high cholesterol fast foods, confectionery items and rich gourmet food, is causing a deficiency of the valuable nutrients, vitamins, proteins and other minerals in the diet.
Care should be taken to stick to a balanced diet and avoid high intake of caffeinated beverages, chocolates, rich dairy products, traditional sweets and other spicy food. A light and easily digestible, fiber rich diet helps in relieving women from the pains and discomforts of irregular periods. Dietary problems such as bulimia, anorexia, and other diet related issues can also cause irregular periods.
If the irregularity is sporadic or for a short term, then a change in lifestyle, diet, stress, sleeping patterns, etc can be responsible for the irregularity in menstrual cycles. However, if the periods do not take place after 10-15 days of the expected date, it is advisable to go in for a home pregnancy check or a urine test to establish the status of the same.
Sometimes, women tend to take oral pills and contraceptive tablets that can cause irregularity in the menstrual cycles.
Onset of Menstrual Cycles in Young Girls
These days, it is quite common to find young girls of the age 8-12 years stepping into early puberty, with an onset of their menstrual cycles. In most cases the periods are quite irregular in the beginning, as the body system takes time to adapt to the hormonal and other changes that take place in the reproductive system.
There may be prolonged gaps between two periods or they may occur in very short durations. Whatever the reason, it is advisable to consult a medical expert and keep a track of the irregularity in the menstrual cycles until the process becomes regulated and stabilized.
Prescription and Self Prescribed Drugs
The conflict of menstrual cycles with social and work obligation can make women take self prescribed medicines that are available over the counter for postponing or pre-poning their periods. These drugs can cause problems in the reproductive hormonal balance and make the menstrual cycle irregular.
Sometimes the drugs and medications taken for other simpler problems such as fever, headache, stress, etc, can also create irregularity in the periods and menstrual cycles.It is important to discuss the issues connected with irregular periods, with the doctor, while being prescribed new drugs for various health problems.
Dieting and too much Exercise
The younger generation is extremely conscious about their physical fitness and appearanace and often goes to extremes to shed that extra kilo. Too much of exercising, aerobics, swimming and other hectic fitness programs, can lead to irregular periods. If the individual is addicted to too much exercise and fitness regimes, that take a toll on the physical health and tolerance levels, then irregularity in periods becomes a common occurrence.
Eating too less or dieting without taking care of the proper nutrients and required calorie intake can also lead to problems in the menstrual cycle.
The hormones released during the acts of love making and other sexual activity can affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle. Change in the status of virginity, anxiety about being pregnant, impact of sex, issues connected with social stigmas, trustworthiness of the partner, etc can cause worry after the act and this may lead to irregular periods after an intimate relationship.
The concerns and the responsibilities connected with unplanned pregnancy can lead to emotional stress and this in turn leads to irregular periods.
The presence of hormonal and other physiological imbalances in the body can lead to irregular periods. For example, women suffering from the symptoms of thyroid often complain about non regular cycles. This is caused due to the deficiency of natural hormones that affect the metabolic functions of the body system.
Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome
The Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome is one of the most important causes of irregular periods in married women. The imbalances in the levels of progesterone and estrogen can cause cysts in the ovaries, conception problems and irregularity in the normal menstrual cycles. The flow of the menstrual discharge is also affected due to this hormonal imbalance and can become very less or heavy in different patients.
Intake of Birth Control Pills
The usage of hormones for preventing childbirth or as a birth control option can cause irregular periods in many women. These pills create an alteration in the natural hormonal balance in the body and the reproductive system takes some time to adjust to the changed levels of progesterone and estrogen. The period becomes regulated and normal once the body adjusts itself fully.
Other Possible reasons for Irregular Periods
Miscarriage, childbirth, menopause, breast feeding, obesity or reduction in weight and other lifestyle disorders can lead to irregularity in the menstrual cycles and the periods.