Irregular menstrual periods

Irregular menstrual periods refer to menstrual bleeding that occurs between menstrual periods. Irregular menstrual periods also mean that you are not having periods at regular intervals. A woman’s menstrual period occurs due to internal changes involving the hormones. A slight hormonal change may result in the commencement of menstrual periods and/or the menstrual periods becoming abnormal. It is normal to have menstrual periods for a period of 3-5 days. Normally women lose less than 1 cup of blood during their menstrual period – the amount of blood lost does not affect your health. Irregular menstrual bleeding may occur due to causes such as dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

A woman having irregular menstrual periods may experience menstrual bleeding between her normal menstrual periods. Irregular intervals may be more than 35 days between menstrual periods, less than 21 days between menstrual periods or prolonged menstrual periods – periods that last for more than 7 days.

If you report your condition to your doctor or gynecologist, he or she may consider treatment deepening on the cause. Treatment usually includes oral contraceptives and occasionally dilation and curettage (D and C) in case of prolonged or severe menstrual bleeding.

Disclaimer: the material posted on this blog on irregular menstrual periods is for learning purposes only. Consult a medical professional if you believe you have a serious issue. If you want to learn about serious medical groin painemergencies such as severe bleeding sign up for first aid and CPR classes.

Causes

Most women experience menstrual bleeding for 5 days during their menstrual period. However, the normal period can range from one person to another. It is normal to have periods that last for 4 to 7 days. Normal blood discharge per day may range from 2 tablespoons to 1 cup. The amount of blood lost, whether too much or too little does not lead to drastic effects on your health.

Common causes of irregular periods may include:

  • Excessive stress or anxiety disorders
  • Bleeding from anticoagulant
  • Birth control pills
  • Cervicitis
  • Cervical polyps
  • Diabetes
  • Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
  • Hypertension
  • Hormone abnormalities
  • Infections such as endometritis and pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Intrauterine device
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Miscarriage
  • Obesity
  • Ovarian cystic disease
  • Puberty
  • Uterine fibroids

Less common causes include:

  • Bleeding disorders
  • Pituitary and adrenal gland disorders
  • Cervical cancer
  • Factor 10 deficiency
  • Factor 2 deficiency
  • Factor 5 deficiency
  • Factor 7 deficiency
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Platelet function disorder
  • Polycystic ovary disease
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

 Signs and symptoms

  • Less than 21 days before normal periods
  • More than 55 days between normal periods
  • Having menstrual bleeding between the normal menstrual periods
  • Menstrual periods are more prolonged than usual or last for more than 7 days

Treatment

Treatment for irregular menstrual periods may include:

  • Oral contraceptives in order to stabilize menstrual cycles
  • Dilation and curettage (D and C)

Home care treatment

Follow these home care treatment steps if you are experiencing irregular bleeding:

  • If you are overweight, consider losing weight by following a regular exercise program
  • If you are underweight, reduce your exercise intensity or eat a high calorie diet
  • Avoid intense and strenuous physical training
  • Manage stress. Avoid stimulants such as
    • Nicotine
    • Caffeine
    • Alcohol
    • Allergy medication
    • Decongestants
    • Amphetamines
    • Diet pills
    • Talk to your doctor in case you are taking birth control pills
    • Take medication as prescribed and directed by your doctor

Warning signs

See your doctor immediately if irregular menstrual periods occur with the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Absent periods
  • Abdominal pain
  • Worsening vaginal bleeding
  • Unintentional weight loss

Learn More

To learn more consult your doctor or medical professional. To learn about other symptoms that can be associated with irregular menstrual periods sign up for St Mark James first aid and CPR classes.

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