periods What are the causes and solutions?
In theory, a woman has regularperiods every 4 weeks, i.e. every 28 days. But in real life, women's menstrual cycles are all different and vary enormously. Menstruation can also be irregular, arriving a few days early or late. In fact, menstrual periods vary in length.
What are periods irregularities?
In fact, irregular menstruation occurs when there is an alternation between long and short cycles over the duration of the periods or when the abundance varies from one cycle to the next. This happens to almost all women, especially in their first cycles. Indeed, the first menstrual periods often rhyme with a dysregulated hormonal system, which can even last for several years. It's also very common during pre-menopause. But this phenomenon can happen at any time, as a number of factors come into play. periods are therefore irregular when :
- Less than 20 days or more than 40 days between each period
- the length of time between each menstrual flow varies greatly
- The duration of the menstrual flow itself varies greatly from one menstrual cycle to the next l.
- Theamount of blood loss varies greatly from one cycle to the next: abundant one cycle, then light the next.
That's why we recommend menstrual briefs, which you can wear every day and which will protect you from unpleasant surprises.
What causes irregular periods ?
Lifestyle has a phenomenal impact on our body and all its mechanisms, especially the hormonal machine. When the body and its resources are subjected to stress, the reproductive system is among the first to be deregulated to prioritize other vital functions.Among the culprits of unhealthy living, we can cite the following factors:
- Lack of sleep, increased fatigue
- Stress, anxiety, depression: any stressful situation can affect your menstrual flow.
- Jet lag, or jet lag, can disorientate our internal biological clock: the body struggles to return to its natural rhythm, temporarily disrupting the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, as well as that of reproduction.
- Excessive consumption of drugs: alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, but also coffee in high doses
- Weight extremes: too little body fat stops hormone secretion, and can even lead to amenorrhea, while too much weight is responsible for overproduction of estrogen, disrupting menstrual flow.
- Similarly, sudden, excessive weight gain or loss: eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa can also be the cause.
The more of these factors you combine, the more irregular periods is likely to be.
Intensive sports activities
Taking medication>Taking medication or hormone therapy can also affect the regularity of menstrual periods. Substances that increase prolactin levels in the body can alter the functioning of the female cycle. Taking or stopping a hormone-based contraceptive, such as hormonal IUDs or progestin-only pills, can reduce menstrual blood loss or even eliminate it altogether.
A uterine diseaseBut irregular periods can also reveal more serious problems such as gynaecological conditions or the following disorders:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome(PCOS), a syndrome that also causes acne and excessive hair growth, due to an increase in testosterone.
- Endometriosis, known for irregular menstruation associated with pain and heavy blood loss.
- Polyp or fibroma
- Benign tumour or even cancer of the uterus
- Thyroid orhypothalamus disorders l
When are periods irregularities normal?However, there are some cases where it is very common, even normal, to observe an abnormal menstrual flow. Let's find out together.
The first periods in adolescenceThe first bleeding at puberty is often irregular and uncontrolled: this is perfectly normal! In fact, it takes around one to two years for hormone production to regulate, for the female cycle to settle down and for the uterus to find its natural rhythm. The system needs to find its cruising speed! Beware of pregnancy, however, as an irregular cycle during puberty does not mean no ovulation: it is possible to become pregnant as soon as periods starts!
However, if after 2 or 3 years, menstruation has not become regular, it may be worth asking your GP or health professional to rule out any gynaecological disorders. A pill may also be prescribed to give the flow a certain regularity.
periods irregular after returning from childbirthAfterchildbirth, the body has undergone a major upheaval, and menstruation can be delayed depending on a number of factors, including breastfeeding. After the lochia (removal of the last placental debris) and the return from childbirth (the first post-delivery periods ), menstrual flow may take several months to return to its natural rhythm. The abundance of menstrual flow may also be affected by pregnancy. It's important to remember, however, that fertility can return 2 weeks before the return of periods, so you need to be vigilant when having unprotected intercourse or without contraception (pill or other). Its absence or delay could mean you're pregnant!
MenopausePerimenopause, the period approaching menopause in women around the age of 45, is also known to be a time of major hormone changes: the system begins to function at a slower pace during pre-menopause, coming to a definitive halt at menopause. This is when periods, ovulation and fertility come to adefinitive halt! Until this fateful moment arrives, menstruation may be irregular.
When should you seek medical advice for irregular periods ?It is wise to advise your healthcare professional for treatment in the following cases, when variable menstruation is observed:
- If you notice major variations in the length or abundance of your menstrual flow, and this phenomenon is associated with other symptoms
- A lack of menstrual bleeding, or even false periods anniversaries, can be the sign of a pregnancy in the making: a pregnancy test will confirm or refute this hypothesis.
- On the other hand, an irregular cycle can make it difficult to predict your ovulation when planning a baby: although it's not necessarily a sign of infertility, you can consult your gynaecologist to make sure you're on the right track.
It is also possible to use alternative medicine to relax and eliminate stress, which can aggravate menstruation: acupuncture, osteopathy, yoga, meditation...
Irregular periods FAQs
When is a cycle irregular?
periods suffer from irregularity when menstrual cycles are separated by less than 20 days or more than 40 days. The length and abundance of bleeding also vary greatly from one cycle to the next.
Is it normal to have irregular periods ?
lWithout necessarily giving cause for concern, an abnormally irregular menstrual flow can be caused by a number of factors: from simple hormonal contraception, to more severe gynaecological conditions, to a rushed lifestyle. It's important to seek medical advice if you're worried or if your irregular periods are accompanied by other symptoms.
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