The normal duration of a woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days, but it can change between individuals. Irregular menstruation is when the duration of the cycle is more than 35 days. Part of the menstrual cycle in which the endometrium sheds the lining of the uterus is called period or menstruation. This happens in the form of bleeding from the womb that comes out through vagina.
Periods generally begin during puberty, between the ages of 10 and 16 years and they happen until menopause, when a woman is 45 to 55 years old.
Irregular periods are also called oligomenorrhea. They can occur if there is a change in the method of contraception, hormonal imbalance, hormonal changes around the menopausal stage and endurance exercises.
Treatment for irregular menstrual period during puberty and menopause is not usually necessary, but if irregular periods occur during the reproductive years, seeking a medical opinion becomes necessary.
Usually a menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, but it can vary from 24 days to 35 days, depending on the individual. Generally women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. Bleeding usually lasts about 5 days, but this too can vary from two to seven days.
Since first menstruation it can take upto two years to establish a regular menstrual cycle. Women are likely to have a regular menstruation after puberty. The duration of time between each period is similar. Nonetheless, for some women the duration between periods and the amount of bleed vary considerably. This is known as irregular menstruation. Cycle going beyond 35 days is generally considered the main symptom of irregular menstruation. If there are significant changes in bleed or if the clots appear that are more than 2.5 cm in diameter, this is also taken as irregular menstrual bleeding.
Number of factors influence irregular menstruation, mostly it is related to hormonal production. Estrogen and progesterone are the two hormones that influence menstruation. These are the hormones that regulate the cycle.
Puberty, menopause, pregnancy, and childbirth, and breastfeeding are the lifecycle changes that influence hormone production.
Puberty triggers a lot of changes in the body. It can take a good number of years for the progesterone and estrogen to strike a balance, so irregular periods are common at this time.
Irregular periods can be a precursor of menopause and the amount of bleeding may vary. When 12 months have passed since the woman’s last menstrual period it can be considered menopause. After menopause a woman will reach the end of menstrual cycle.
Pregnancy triggers a temporary pause of menstrual cycle and women generally do not have periods while breast-feeding.
Contraceptives can also lead to irregular bleeding. An intrauterine device may cause heavy bleeding, whereas contraceptive pill can cause spotting between periods. When a contraceptive pill is first taken, a woman may experience small bleeds that are usually lighter and shorter than regular periods. After a few months these generally go away.
Other changes that are associated with irregular periods include:
• Extreme weight loss
• Extreme weight gain
• Emotional stress
• Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
• Endurance exercise, for example, marathon running
Complications of irregular menstrual cycle
At times irregular menstrual cycle can be a sign of an underlying complication and some of these can trigger further complications like infertility. Some of the complications are the following:
• Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
• Thyroid disorder
• Cervical or uterine cancer
• Pelvic inflammatory disease
Home remedies for irregular menstrual cycle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help to a larger extent to reduce the risk of irregular menstruation. These include:
• Exercising regularly to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress level
• Following a healthy diet
There are said to be some herbal remedies as well, but medical research has not so far confirmed their effectiveness and they may have a negative effect.
There is no standard treatment for irregular menstruation as it often depends on the cause. If it is due to puberty, menopause, pregnancy and breast-feeding no treatment is usually necessary. If the condition is due to stress or eating disorders then stress management and relaxation techniques are often prescribed. If it is due to thyroid disorder or polycystic ovarian syndrome, the treatment modality also changes accordingly. So pinpointing the exact underlying cause of the irregular menstruation is very important to choose the ideal treatment.
Your physician may prescribe drugs that will enhance ovulation and regular menstrual periods. A low-dose birth control pill that is a combination of estrogen and progesterone may do the trick. This will bring down androgen production and will help iron out irregular bleeding.
Taking progesterone for 10 to 14 days is another way of regulating the menstrual cycle.
Any drug should be taken under the prescription of a medical practitioner.
For enquiries related irregular menstrual cycle or other menstrual complications, drop a message to www.KJKHospital.com/contact or chat with the doctor from the website.