Irregular Menstruation: What Are The Causes?

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

What is irregular menstruation?

A woman generally has 11 to 13 menstrual cycles every year. Some may have fewer while others may have more. To know if your periods are irregular or not, you should look at your normal periods rather than comparing yours with others’.

During the first few years after you start to menstruate, your periods will be irregular. This is because the menstrual hormones need some time (up to years) to reach a balance. Also, those who are coming towards their menopause also experience irregular periods. Other causes of irregular menstruation include:

Imbalanced lifestyles

The hormonal balance in your body is fragile and can easily be disrupted by extreme changes in your weight (either weight loss or weight gain). Intense physical activities and stress are also known to cause irregular periods.

Methods of contraception

You may notice spotting between your periods if you take birth control pills or use an intrauterine system (IUS). Although an intrauterine device (IUD) is not likely to cause irregular menstruation, those using it report to experience heavy or painful periods. Light and short bleeding is common if you have just started taking contraceptive pills. This will often go away after a few months.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is the condition in which tiny cysts filled with fluids develop in the ovaries. The most common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome are abnormalities in menstruation such as irregular periods, light periods or even no periods. Since in polycystic ovary syndrome, the ovulation may not take place as usual, menstruation is often affected.

Gynaecological problems

A surprise pregnancy, miscarriage or other problems with the womb or ovaries may cause vaginal bleeding as well. If you have irregular periods, your doctor may refer you to a gynaecologist – a doctor who specializes in dealing with the female reproductive health – for further evaluation and treatment.

Thyroid disorders

Although it’s rare, people with thyroid disorders may experience irregular menstruation. The thyroid, which is in your neck, is responsible for the production of metabolic hormones. You may need to take a blood test to check for the levels of thyroid hormones in your body

Other causes of irregular menstruation

  • Breastfeeding

  • Substance abuse

  • Imperforate hymen and Asherman’s syndrome

  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy

  • Irritable bowel syndrome, tuberculosis, liver disease, and diabetes

Keep in mind that although you are not menstruating, you can still get pregnant. So, do not forget to use birth control to avoid unintended pregnancy. One or two missed periods are not as serious as you think. Re-balancing your life emotionally and physically may greatly help.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Review Date: May 6, 2017 | Last Modified: December 9, 2019

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