Menstruation is the time of month when the womb (uterus) sheds its lining and vaginal bleeding occurs. This is known as a menstrual period.

Periods vary widely from woman to woman. Some periods are punctual, some are unpredictable. On average, a woman gets her period every 24 to 38 days. A period usually lasts about two to eight days. Irregular bleeding may require treatment.

What Are Irregular Periods?

You may have irregular menses  if:

  • The time between each period starts to change.
  • You are losing more or less blood during a period than usual.
  • The number of days that your period lasts varies significantly.

There are different terms for different types of irregular periods:

  • Irregular Menstrual Bleeding (IrregMB): Bleeding of more than 20 days in individual cycle lengths over a period of one year.
  • Absent Menstrual Bleeding (amenorrhea): No bleeding in a 90-day period.
  • Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB): Excessive menstrual loss that interferes with the woman’s physical, emotional, social, and material quality of life and can occur alone or in combination with other symptoms.
  • Heavy and Prolonged Menstrual Bleeding (HPMB): Less common than HMB. It is important to make a distinction from HMB given they may have different etiologies and respond to different therapies.
  • Light Menstrual Bleeding: Based on patient complaint, rarely related to pathology.

 

Do Irregular Periods Need Treatment?

Treatment of irregular periods depends on the cause and your desire to have children in the future. Irregular periods can be caused by many different things. Changes in your body’s level of the hormones oestrogen and progestrone can disrupt the normal pattern of your period. That’s why young girls going through puberty and women approaching menopause commonly have irregular periods.

Other common causes of irregular periods include:

  • Having an intra uterinedevice (IUD)
  • Changing birth control pills or using certain medications
  • Excessive exercises
  • Polycystic ovary disease (PCOS)
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding
  • Stress
  • Oveactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism
  • Thickening of or polyps on the uterine lining
  • Uterine fibroids

A less common cause is severe scarring (adhesions) of the lining of Usually, no treatment is needed for irregular periods caused by puberty and menopause unless they are excessive or bothersome. It is also normal for your period to stop when you are pregnant.

Treatments for irregular periods due to other causes may include:

  • Correcting or treating underlying disease
  • Changing your type of birth pill
  • Lifestyle changes, including weight loss
  • Hormone therapy
  • Surgery

Here are some treatment options:

Treating underlying disease. It is important to treat any underlying diseases that cause irregular periods. If you have irregular periods, your doctor will run blood tests to check hormone levels and thyroid function.

Poly cystic (PCOS) and hypothyroidism are two common causes of irregular periods in women. In general, the goal of treatment is to restore the balance of hormones in the body. Women with PCOS may be given birth control pills or other hormones to trigger a period. If they wish to get pregnant, infertility medications may be prescribed. Hypothyroidism is treated with supplementation of thyroid hormones.

Changing birth control- If you have irregular periods after three months of hormonal birth control, your doctor may recommend another type of birth control.  Read the literature that accompanies your IUD to learn more about side effects.

Lifestyle changes. Some women have changes in their period because they exercise too much. Reducing the frequency and intensity of your workouts may help your period return to normal. Stress leads to many body changes, including irregular periods. Relaxation techniques and counseling may be helpful.

Extreme changes in your weight can affect your periods. Weight gain can interfere with the body’s ability to ovulate, which controls your menstrual cycle. Losing weight may help resolve irregular periods. Extreme sudden weight loss can also lead to infrequent or irregular periods.

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