Has your menstrual cycle (the number of days between the start of one period and the day before your next period starts) been off by a couple of days lately? Or have you missed a period altogether, and know the cause isn’t pregnancy?
An irregular menstrual period can happen for lots of reasons. While there is little you can do about some of the causes, there are others you might have some control over.
Life Can Cause an Irregular Menstrual Period
Your body is an amazing thing. If you’re going through a difficult or stressful time, the last thing you might need to deal with on top of everything else is the start of your period. In response, your body might try to give you a break by stopping the production of the hormones that trigger ovulation and menstrual bleeding. The result of which can be a missed period.
If your menstrual cycle is unusually long, or you skip a period, evaluate your life. The cause can be anything from your schedule being much more hectic than usual, to a recent traumatic event.
Age Can Cause an Irregular Menstrual Period
It’s not unusual for teens and preteens to miss periods, because the mechanisms that control menstruation and ovulation haven’t matured yet. Their menstrual periods will occur more regularly as they get older.
Women in their mid-forties may also experience irregular menstrual periods as they approach menopause.
Physical Causes of an Irregular Menstrual Period
Physical and medical factors can also cause an irregular menstrual period. These include:
* Losing weight, especially if done in an unhealthy way.
* Being underweight. Women suffering from eating disorders often don’t have periods.
* Excessive exercise.
* A vegetarian diet.
* Uterine Polyps
In very rare cases, an irregular period can be a sign of cancer.
When to See a Doctor
Usually, an irregular menstrual period is nothing to worry about. But you should see your doctor if:
* You haven’t had a menstrual period by the time you are 16 years old.
* You’ve missed more than 3 periods in a row.
* You experience menstrual bleeding between periods.
* Your period lasts for more than ten days.
* You experience severe cramps, and pain medications aren’t able to relieve them.
An irregular menstrual period isn’t necessarily something you need to worry about. However, by keeping the above in mind, you’ll know when an irregular menstrual period is cause for concern, and when you should seek proper medical care.