Perhaps you’re in your mid-to-late twenties, and your cycle abruptly stops behaving like clockwork after more than a decade of regular cycles. What if you aren’t pregnant and aren’t reaching menopause?
Period irregularities aren’t always a sign of a problem. We explain how to spot irregular periods, what causes them, and which doctor to see if you have them.
Why is My Period so Late?
An egg is released from one of your ovaries during a regular menstrual cycle during ovulation. If the sperm fails to fertilize the egg, your body signals to shed the tissues that line your uterus and circulation.
This type of bleeding typically lasts around five days until the monthly cycle begins again.
Some women, however, experience abnormal uterine bleeding, which is another term for irregular menstruation. This can happen for various causes, ranging from stress and lifestyle difficulties to more serious underlying medical conditions.
Which Doctor Should You See If You Have Irregular Menstruation?
A gynecologist can help you determine the cause of your irregular periods and develop the best treatment strategy for you.
When the length of your menstrual cycle falls outside of your normal range, you have irregular menstruation. Irregular menstrual periods can be accompanied by uterine bleeding, which might include:
- Bleeding or spotting in the intervals between menstrual periods
- Bleeding following a sexual encounter
- Heavy bleeding during your period
- Abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding after menopause is a frequent menopausal symptom.
After adolescence, many women have a regular menstrual cycle, however, it is common for the process to vary by a few days each time. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), nine to fourteen percent of women have irregular periods between their first period and menopause.
The Factors That Contribute to a Late, Missed, or Irregular Menstruation
Menstruation may be irregular, missed, or late for various reasons, ranging from stress to more significant medical concerns. Some of the most common causes of irregular periods are as follows:
If your diabetes is untreated, you may have irregular periods due to the interaction between your blood sugar levels and hormones, which can disrupt your menstrual cycle.
Periods may be irregular or skipped if you have an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia. This is because your body cannot create and circulate sufficient hormones to regulate your menstrual cycle.
Women who have an excess of prolactin, a protein hormone, in their blood may experience irregular periods.
Certain drugs, such as antiepileptics and antipsychotics, can cause menstrual cycles to be irregular.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is characterized by a sex hormone imbalance that disrupts menstruation.
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
According to the National Institutes of Health, the ovaries of women with POF stop working before the age of 40. However, some women with this condition continue to have menstrual periods regularly.
Stress hormones can influence menstruation, and persistent stress may cause your period to be delayed or skipped entirely. Furthermore, it may take some time for your period to become regular when you first begin menstruating, and your menstrual cycle may become irregular up to eight years before menopause.
Unless they upset you or have another ailment interfering with your menstrual cycle, you usually don’t need therapy for irregular periods.
- Hypothyroidism and PCOS are two of the most common causes of irregular periods in women. In general, the goal of treatment is to restore the body’s hormonal balance. If you have PCOS, your doctor may urge you to use birth control pills or other hormones to induce menstruation.
- You may need thyroid hormones (underactive thyroid) if you have hypothyroidism.
Other items that may be useful to include:
Changing Birth Control Methods
If you still have irregular periods after three months of hormonal birth control, your doctor may recommend that you try an alternative type of birth control. When using an IUD, some women experience irregular periods.
Due to excessive exertion, some women’s menstrual cycles change. You might need to change your workout routine or exercise less regularly. If stress is a problem for you, knowing how to manage it and even speaking with a counsellor may benefit you.
Extreme weight changes might disrupt your menstrual cycle.
Weight gain may make it more challenging for your body to ovulate; thus, decreasing weight may help. Extreme, sudden weight loss, on the other hand, can result in irregular or infrequent periods.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HT)
An irregular menstrual cycle is typically caused by a lack or imbalance in the body’s particular hormones. Doctors frequently give birth control pills (oral contraceptives) containing estrogen and progesterone to regulate irregular periods. Progestin, a hormone prescription, can also help stimulate menstrual cycles in women who don’t have them.
If you have irregular periods and plan to conceive, your doctor may recommend alternative hormone therapy.
In some instances, irregular menstruation might be caused by scarring or structural abnormalities in the uterus (womb) or fallopian tubes. If you know you want to have children, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct any structural or congenital disabilities. It is also useful in removing scar tissue from the reproductive tract.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1- Which doctor should I see about my irregular periods?
A gynecologist evaluates patients’ symptoms and recommends treatment for various periods. Period irregularities are caused by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid issues, birth control techniques, stress, and other reproductive system conditions.
2- Do you go to an OB/GYN if you have irregular periods?
In most cases, you should see your OB/GYN as soon as you discover an unusual period. While it does not always need to be concerned, the sooner a potential sickness is identified and treated, your reproductive system will be healthier.
3- Is it typical to miss a period for three months?
While this is natural and healthy, a period ending without a clear explanation is not. When a female goes three months without a period, it can signify something more serious.