Irregular Periods: a normal thing or a problem?
What are periods/ menses?
Menses or periods are a part of the menstrual cycle. Menstrual flow is characterised by blood discharge through vagina, cramps, mood swings and other issues. Periods occur because your egg was not fertilized by a sperm. Uterus lining which develops as a womb once the embryo or the fetus is conceived by the woman. But in case of no fertilization of your egg, this uterus lining is shed through the vagina. So, irregularities in periods are considered normal or an issue.
Periods usually start during puberty, between the ages of 10 and 16 years, and they continue until menopause when a woman is 45- to 55-years old. The complete menstrual cycle has a length of 21 to 35 days and every woman has her definite duration of the menstrual cycle. In a healthy woman, this length of cycle stays regular at least until she is near her menopause. Healthy women generally bleed for 2-7 days in every menstrual cycle. The level of different hormones like LH, FSH goes hand in hand all throughout these menstrual cycles.
When does the problem arise?
But the problem arises when women face menses at irregular durations or when they have abnormalities in their bleeding. Vaginal bleeding at irregular intervals, i.e., this month it came just after 18 days of the previous periods and next time you menstruated after 40 days and so on. This condition is medically termed as oligomenorrhea. Abnormal bleeding may include darker blood or clots or denser blood or foul-smelling bleeding. So, such issues need to be considered by women with more seriousness. One cycle can be neglected but not all. Because we as women, don’t prioritize ourselves and neglection of such issues could turn out to be the biggest nightmares for us.
Some of the common causes for such irregularities in menses are as follows:
This is one of the major cause of irregular menses. The life of a woman undergoes a number of hormonal changes starting from puberty, adulthood, childbirth, breastfeeding and menopause. Hyperandrogenism due to androgen hormone and Cushing’s syndrome due to cortisol hormone are one of the hormone influencing conditions.
Hormonal birth control pills and emergency contraceptives are the reasons for such irregularities as well. In fact, Intrauterine devices may be the cause of heavy bleeding.
Excessive weight loss or gain, eating disorders like anorexia, emotional stress, obesity, unmanaged diabetes, excessive exercise can also be one of the reasons for irregular menses.
Complications that arise and are correlated with the condition of irregular menses are:
Irregular periods is one of the most common symptoms of Polycystic ovarian syndrome. Other symptoms may include acne, obesity, facial hair growth, no ovulation etc. Though, the condition treatable up to some extent but it could also be the reason for infertility issues among women.
2. Thyroid disorders:
The thyroid hormone is the one responsible for maintaining our body’s metabolism. Studies have also proved the correlation of thyroid disorders with irregular menses. Its normal levels are manageable through medications.
3. Cysts and Fibroids
Cysts, i.e., fluid-filled sacs and fibroids, i.e., muscular tumours develop on the uterus wall. They may or may not be cancerous. Such pathological conditions can have irregular periods, painful menses and others as the major symptoms and need to be rectified at the right time to avoid any future complications
4. Cervical or endometrial cancers
Cancers of the cervix or endometrium could turn out to be the worst complications which may lead to infertility and life threatening at the same time. Irregular periods being the most common symptom for such conditions, one should get herself diagnosed by a good gynecologist and take the proper medication.
5. Infections of the reproductive tract
The reproductive tract of a woman includes vagina, cervix, and uterus. Infection of any of these may cause irregularities in menses along with other symptoms. So, such infections should be diagnosed and controlled at a proper time to avoid any their worsening.
What to do?
So, consider your menses as serious as your relationships and take note of how many menstrual cycles do you have in a year. If it’s 11-13 in a year, then its perfectly fine but if this is not the case, consult a gynaecologist. Take the gynaecologist’s advice seriously, undergo proper examinations on time to avoid any future complications like infertilities.
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