Hormonal imbalance is responsible for a wide range of problems in women. Irregular menstruation is one of such problems. Irregular menstruation, abnormal menstruation, irregular periods, by whatever name it goes, it is a condition whereby a woman experiences random and unpredictable menstrual periods.
Medically, the condition is known as “oligomenorrhea”. It is normal if it occurs during puberty or menopause. Anything that occurs outside these periods and for a prolonged length of time is deserving of medical attention.
What is an Irregular Period?
A normal menstrual period occurs every 24 to 35 days and should last between 2 to 8 days. Anything short of this may be an irregular period, depending on how long it continues.
The symptoms are:
- More or less blood loss during menstrual periods.
- Irregular number of days between periods.
- A varied period length as against a fixed length of time.
- Extreme weight loss or extreme weight gain.
There are a plethora of reasons why your period may become irregular. It could be as minor as stress or as major as uterine fibroids. The known causes are:
Hormonal Imbalance: Changes in estrogen and progesterone levels can affect a person’s period pattern. This explains irregular periods in girls during puberty and women approaching menopause.
Pregnancy or Breastfeeding: It is common knowledge that most pregnant women do not see their periods for the duration of their pregnancy. In some, it extends to breastfeeding days.
Intrauterine Device: The use of certain intrauterine devices can affect the blood flow and frequency of the periods.
Over-exercising: Too much exercise can strain the body and affect menstruation. A major exercise that could cause this is marathon running and other endurance exercises.
Birth-Control Pills: Changing a birth control pill or using them alongside some other medication can affect menstrual periods.
Stress: The more the stress, the longer it takes to see one’s period. This includes physical and emotional stress.
Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism: Overactive or underactive thyroids can affect menstrual periods by affecting the production of hormones.
Uterine Fibroids and Uterine Polyps: These can block the path and affect the building of endometrium thus the quantity and frequency of blood that passes the vagina monthly.
Irregular periods could be a pointer to other medical conditions like, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Endometriosis, Cervical cancer, Thyroid disorder, Uterine Cancer, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), etc.
Treatment and Management
This depends on the cause. Counselling, exercise, home remedies, healthy diets, rest, nutritional therapy and quitting medication can solve this, but there are times when medication becomes important.
In this case, the doctor may prescribe metformin to lower the insulin levels and help ensure ovulation and regular menstruation. A birth-control pill that contains estrogen and progesterone and decrease androgen production, progesterone for 10 to 14 days to increase its levels in the body, etc. all these depend on the result of the diagnosis, the cause, allergies and health history of the patient.
Surgery will also become necessary if it is a required procedure to treat the underlying disorder.
Whatever the cause may be, Progressive Women's Health can provide treatment and guidance.