Irregular Periods – Is It Time To See The Doctor?
You are not pregnant and menopause is out of question. You are in your mid to late 20’s and yet suddenly your otherwise regular periods have stopped following your biological clock. We understand that it is causing you a lot of pain and irritation. Perhaps it is time to find out what is the actual problem here.
Let us explain all about irregular periods to you. In a regular menstrual cycle, ovaries release an egg during a process called ovulation. If a sperm is not there to fertilize it, a change in hormones occurs. This change degenerates the egg and the lining of uterus. This consequently results in blood and tissue discharge. This bleeding period lasts from 3 to 7 days. A month later, the cycle is repeated.
However, in some women, the bleeding is abnormal and that is what causes irregular periods. Following are the symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding:
• Spotting or bleeding between the periods
• Heavier than usual bleeding during periods
• Bleeding following intercourse
• Menstrual bleeding lasting longer than the usual time
Causes of Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are a common problem that a majority of women face at some point in their life. When a girl starts menstruating, the cycle takes some time before becoming regular. Moreover, a woman can start facing irregularities at least 8 years prior to menopause.
Here are some of the most common reasons behind irregular periods:
Women suffering from eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia have irregular periods. This is because of a lack of decent production and circulation of hormones in their bodies. Therefore, their menstrual cycle is not regulated properly, often leading to missed periods.
Irregular Blood Sugar Levels
Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to irregular periods as well. This happens due to the interaction of blood sugar levels with hormones that disrupts the system.
Higher Levels of Prolactin
Women who have high quantities of prolactin (a protein hormone) in their blood can face the problem of irregular periods as well.
Irregular periods can be a result of using certain medicines, such as antipsychotics and anti-epileptics.
PCOS or Polycystic ovary syndrome
PCOS happen because of an imbalance of sex hormones in woman. It can further lead to disrupted menstrual cycle.
Premature Ovarian Failure
This is not very common among women but in rare cases, women’s ovaries stop functioning even before they hit 40. Obviously it means irregular or no menstruation.
When Is The Right Time To Consult A Doctor?
In case you have irregular periods and are wondering if you should visit a doctor, here are a few signs that you should do it immediately:
• No periods for or above 90 days
• Having periods more often i.e. after every 21 days
• A sudden irregularity in your periods
• Bleeding in-between the period duration
• Extremely painful periods
• Unusually heavy bleeding
• Periods lasting for more than 7 days
A doctor can determine the root cause of your irregular periods and suggest a treatment accordingly.