12 Causes of Irregular Periods

As a woman, you’ve become accustomed to your “Aunt Flow.” For the most part, you can tell when she’s coming to town and what to expect… or at least you thought. When your period suddenly starts to change, you may be left scratching your head and wondering what could be causing this menstrual change. It might seem strange, but every woman has an irregular period at least once in her life. While a change in your flow is generally nothing to worry about, it’s still important to know why it could be happening.

What Are Irregular Periods

Typically, women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods during the year. These periods last anywhere between 3 to 7 days, and each woman has a different flow. With all these variations, it’s hard to call a certain type of period “normal.” All women are different, and so are their periods.

You know what is and what isn’t regular for your body. An irregular period can be a late or early period, very light or very heavy bleeding, or even spotting in between cycles. Anything that does not follow your normal cycle is an irregular period.

More than 30 percent of women experience irregular periods. While a normal menstrual cycle last 28 days, if menstrual bleeding occurs more frequently than every 21 days, lasts longer than eight days, or menstrual bleeding is late or skips, then your period is considered irregular.

There are many benign things that can cause a woman to suffer from an irregular cycle, so irregular periods are usually not a cause for concern. Some of those things include stress, certain medications and weight loss. Pre-teens and teens who have just started their menstrual cycle are likely to have irregular periods too.

A Missed Period

An irregular period typically means that your cycle is not consistent and that your period does eventually or sporadically occur. If you have missed your period, it could be an irregularity or something else altogether. A missed period is most commonly due to pregnancy though it could also be due to changes in your life or a more serious medical reason.

When to See a Doctor for an Irregular Period

If you are having an irregular period, it is a good idea to see a physician as your irregular periods may be caused by something serious. There are a number of serious conditions that can cause irregular periods.

12 Causes of Irregular Periods

Irregular periods are not uncommon to experience, and in most cases they are nothing to worry about. However, you may still want to know the cause of your irregular period, as it may be a symptom of another condition:

1. Stress.

Cortisol, the hormone caused by stress, directly affects the amount of estrogen and progesterone the woman’s body produces. Too much cortisol will change the time and flow of your menstrual cycle.

2. Birth Control Pills.

After starting birth control pills, it may take your body several months to get used to the hormones. This may affect your menstrual cycle. Some women’s menstrual cycles will never return to “normal” after they start birth control.

3. Pregnancy.

After becoming pregnant, many women experience late or lighter than normal flows before their menstruation ends. Some women could also mistake implantation bleeding with a light period.

4. Exercise.

In order to menstruate, a woman’s body needs energy. If too much of that energy is being spent in the gym, they may not menstruate.

5. Pre-Menopause.

Up to 10 years before menopause, a woman may start experiencing irregular periods. This is because hormone levels in the body have already started to change.

6. Extreme Weight Loss

7. Weight Gain

8. Hormonal Imbalance

9. Illness

10. Medication

More Serious Causes

11. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a condition that is caused by excessive amount of androgens, or male hormones, in the bloodstream. It results in irregular ovulation. If a woman is ovulating irregularly, then she will have irregular periods. PCOS is a serious condition because it can lead to fertility problems. It can also increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

12. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the uterine wall begins to develop outside of the uterus. This condition can result in painful, irregular periods. It may also cause infertility.

Contact the OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch

Because irregular periods can be caused by something serious, it is important to see a physician if your menstrual cycle is irregular. The cause of the condition is much easier to correct if it is detected early. The OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch can determine the cause of the condition and find the right solution for you. Contact us today to learn more, or schedule your next appointment online.