A woman’s menstrual cycle is a vital part of her life from the moment she achieves puberty. From her very first period(menarche) to the final cessation (menopause), it has a life-changing effect on her body and mind. Which is why a woman’s periods are regular.
What is a regular period?
While ideally, a woman’s menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days, most women might experience their cycles from 21 days to even 35 days. A normal menstrual cycle varies from 21 days to 35 days. Count from day 1 as the first day of bleeding. While the gold standard is considered as a 28-day cycle with ovulation around day 14, as long as your cycle spans the same relative number of days within 21 to 35 days, it is considered as regular.
What is an irregular period?
An irregular period is the one that becomes too longer or shorter than your usually expected schedule. Many reasons might result in this irregularity.
Are you too concerned about your irregular period? Here are a few common problems that may cause irregular periods;
1 . Stress: Research shows that stress can interfere with your menstrual cycle by temporarily interfering with the part of the brain that controls hormones that regulate your cycle. Your period should return to normal after your stress decreases.
- Nutritional deficiency: It is common knowledge that a healthy diet is directly proportional to a healthy body and mind, including regular periods. So if you have no underlying hormonal or lifestyle issues, and your periods are still irregular, then the probability, you need to look towards your diet. Make sure you are eating a healthy wellbalanced diet rich in nutrients, antioxidants as well as probiotics (yoghurt, cheese) foods
on daily basis.
Obesity: Just like nutritional deficiency, being overweight can also cause severe irregularities in your periods. It has been found that the majority of girls who had increased obesity instances of irregular periods compared to no obesity at all. Therefore it’s important not to only control obesity but also maintain an ideal body mass index.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a condition that is characterized by the appearance of multiple cysts in the ovary, causes hormonal imbalance and also results in an irregular but heavy menstrual bleeding. Almost 1 in 10 women suffer from PCOS. Consulting a doctor to check for PCOS and taking remedial treatments will help restore your cycle to normal.
Strenuous exercise. If you are overweight and already working towards losing that extra weight, then all the beat to you. However, remember never to go overboard with your exercises. Yes, even strenuous exercises or excessive exercising can result in irregular periods. Practice moderate exercises to ensure it does not drastically affect your health.
Breastfeeding: Prolactin is a hormone that’s responsible for breast milk production. Prolactin suppresses you reproductive hormones resulting in very light periods or no periods at all while you are breastfeeding. Your period should restore shortly after you stop breastfeeding.
Uterine Fibroids: Fibroids are muscular tumours that develop in the walls of the uterus. They can cause your periods to be very painful and heavy enough to cause anaemia. You may also experience, pelvic pains, low back pain, pain in your legs, pain during sex. Most fibroids dont require treatment and symptoms can be managed with over the counter (OTC) medications.
However, it’s always better to consult your gynaecologist if this irregularity persists for more than two months. Good luck and stay healthy.