A female’s menstruation is a natural part of her monthly cycle. The number of days spent menstruating can differ widely from woman to woman. Most people bleed for 2-7 days. Premenstrual symptoms typically begin 5-11 days before your period starts.
Occasional fluctuations in menstrual flow, symptoms, and complete-duration usually do not cause concern. Exercise, diet, and stress can all affect the glands that help to regulate the hormonal balance of the body, which in turn impact monthly periods.
What Are Irregular Periods?
A regular menstrual cycle starts after 28 days to 35 days and lasts for 4-6 days approximately. You may count a period for irregular if it does not begin even after 35 days or happen with a gap of a different number of days every time.
Symptoms Of Irregular Periods
The menstrual cycle length gets started for more than 35 days
Missing more than three consecutive cycles
Clots or heavy bleeding or spotting
Back pain and abdominal cramps
Causes of irregular periods
The menstrual cycle is counted from day 1 of the last period to the beginning of the next period. Your period is considered irregular if it is more than 38 days or if the duration is different.
Irregular periods can have many causes, from hormonal imbalance to different underlying conditions, and should be analysed by your doctor.
Pregnancy can lead to missed periods or get spotting. Other symptoms of early pregnancy may have:
- sensitivity to smells
- breast tingling or tenderness
- morning sickness
If you miss any period or see changes in your period and you had sex, you can do a pregnancy test at home or check with a doctor to confirm pregnancy.
If you may be pregnant and feel stabbing and sharp pain in the pelvis or your abdomen that remains more than some time, check with your gynaecologist to find out about miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Hormonal Birth Control
This medicine and intrauterine devices also cause irregular bleeding. Birth control pills may lead to spotting between periods and leads to light periods.
Hormone Prolactin is responsible for breast milk production. This hormone suppresses reproductive hormones leading to no period light periods at all during breastfeeding. You may get back a regular period after completing breastfeeding.
It is the transition time before you enter menopause. It commonly starts in your 40s but can happen earlier. You may get signs and symptoms lasting from 4-8 years starting with changes to your menstrual cycle. Fluctuating levels of estrogen throughout this period can lead to the menstrual cycle getting shorter or longer time.
Other symptoms and signs of perimenopause include:
- night sweats
- hot flashes
- difficulty sleeping
- mood changes
- vaginal dryness
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Irregular periods are the general sign of PCOS. If you experience missed periods or PCOS and get heavy bleeding when you get your period.
PCOS can also cause:
- male-pattern baldness
- excess body and facial hair
- weight gain or obesity
An underactive thyroid may lead to heavier or longer periods. According
2015 study 44% of members with menstrual irregularities also cause thyroid disorders. Underactive thyroid and hypothyroidism can cause heavier and longer periods with increased cramping. You may also feel sensitivity to cold, fatigue, and weight gain.
High thyroid hormones levels, which are seen in hyperthyroidism can lead to lighter and shorter periods. You may also get:
- anxiety and nervousness
- sudden weight loss
- heart palpitations
Swelling at the neck base is another common symptom of thyroid disorder.
Fibroids are large tumors that increase in the uterus wall. All fibroids are not cancerous and grow in different sizes from as small as grapefruit to apple seed side. Fibroids can cause painful periods and heavy enough to lead to anemia. You may also feel:
pain during sex
low back pain
pelvic pain or pressure
pain in your legs
Most fibroids do not need treatment, and signs can be managed with OTC an iron supplement, and pain medications if you increase anemia.
It affects 1 in 10 females of reproductive age. It is a condition in which the muscle that commonly lines your uterus increase outside the uterus.
Endometriosis leads to pain, even reducing menstrual cramps. This condition also leads to prolonged periods, heavy bleeding, and bleeding between periods.
Other symptoms may include:
- gastrointestinal pain
- painful bowel movements
- pain after and during intercourse
Exploratory surgery is the only way for endometriosis diagnosis. There is no cure for the endometriosis condition. You can manage these symptoms with hormone therapy and medication.
Obesity is also occurred by menstrual irregularity. Research indicates that being overweight influences insulin and hormone levels, which can change the menstrual cycle.
Rapid weight gain can also lead to menstrual irregularities. Irregular periods and weight gain are common PCOS signs and hypothyroidism and should be analyzed by your physician.
Fibroids are large tumors that increase in the uterus wall. Most fibroids are noncancerous and can range in size from as small as grapefruit to apple seed side. Fibroids can cause painful periods and heavy enough to lead to anemia. You may also feel:
pain during sex
low back pain
pelvic pain or pressure
pain in your legs
Most fibroids do not need treatment, and signs can be managed with OTC pain medications and an iron supplement if you increase anemia.
Eating Disorders and Extreme Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss and excessive weight loss can lead to a stop period. Not getting enough calories can interact with the production hormone for ovulation. You are considered underweight if you get a body mass index lesser than 18.5. Along with limited periods, you may also get headaches, fatigue, and hair loss.
See your doctor if:
- you have an eating disorder
- you’re underweight
- have lost more weight without effort
Excessive or intense workouts also affect hormones and menstruation.
Female athletes and females who participate in physical activities and intensive training, such as ballet dancers, often increase amenorrhea (stopped or missed periods)
Research indicates that stress can also affect the menstrual cycle by temporarily affecting the brain part that controls hormones that is responsible for cycle regulation. Your periods should come back to normal after stress is lower.
Certain medications can also affect your menstrual cycle including,
- blood thinners
- thyroid medications
- chemotherapy drugs
- epilepsy drugs
- hormone replacement therapy
- aspirin and ibuprofen
Talk to your doctor about adjusting your medication.
Endometrial and Cervical cancer
Endometrial and cervical cancers can cause changes to the menstrual cycle with heavy periods or between periods. Bleeding after or during intercourse and uncommon discharge are different signs and cancer symptoms.
Examine your diet
Eating less food or not having the right mix of nutrients may pressurize your hypothalamus, adrenal glands, and pituitary. These glands regulate the hormonal balance of the body, which can influence periods.
Skip The Low-Carb Diet
Low intake of carbs can cause missed or irregular cycles that are called amenorrhea. Low carb diets may affect thyroid function and reduce leptin levels in the body. Leptin is created by fat cells and helps to improve generative hormones. Experts suggest receiving 225 to 325 grams of carbs every day if you’re using a 2,000-calorie diet. It means you should get around 45-65% of your complete daily calories eating from carbohydrates.
Avoid High-Fiber Diets
Fiber may reduce the concentrations of:
- follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- luteinizing hormone (LH)
Researchers assume it is why females who consume a high fiber diet get a lower risk of growing breast cancer.
These hormones also play essential roles in the body’s reproductive process.
As a result, consuming more fiber may impact ovulation, making periods late or leading to skipping them altogether.
But not every research supports this idea. Some research has discovered no effect of fiber over ovulation and menstrual periods.
Experts suggest getting 25-30 gm of fiber every day.
Get Enough Fats
Enough fat intake may help ovulation and hormone levels.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids appear to make the difference.
General sources include:
- vegetable oils
- flax seeds
The Cleveland Clinic suggests that 20-35% of your everyday calorie should be from fat. Approximately 5-10% of these calories should come particularly from PUFAs.
Get Enough Folate
Folate helps to boost regular ovulation and progesterone levels in the 2nd half of the menstrual cycle. It may support fertility.
Current suggestions are 400 mcg daily. Your doctor may recommend 800 mcg, or more depending on your health history.
Enjoy Papayas and Pineapples
There is some talk that papaya and pineapple may help to regulate periods.
Papaya consists of carotene, a nutrient that balances estrogen levels.
This tropical fruit may also help to get uterus contract.
Pineapple consists of the bromelain enzyme that may promote blood flow and create white and red blood cells.
Pineapple and papaya are healthy food to include in the diet.
Consider Dietary Supplements
Some supplements may promote menstrual regularity by balancing hormones level or indicating nutritional deficiencies. Make sure to take your physician’s advice before starting any supplement.
Although supplements are available without a prescription, they are not approved by Food and Drug Administration FDA. It means they don’t have safe effects. Some supplements can also cause side effects and interaction with other drugs.
Additionally, some supplements are not safe for pregnant women or if planning for Pregnancy.
Inositol is a vitamin B-like substance that naturally forms in your body. It is also present in different foods, including citrus fruits, meat, and beans.
Inositol is involved in how your body utilised the insulin hormone. It also impacts other hormones, including FSH and ovary function. Therefore, it may also enhance irregular periods.
Consuming inositol supplements can also enhance ovulation and pregnancy rate in females getting medical treatment for infertility.
Cinnamon can help to regulate insulin levels in your body, which may impact other hormones and the menstrual cycle. In females with PCOS, who often get high insulin levels and irregular periods, cinnamon can help to regulate the menstrual cycle.
Cinnamon supplements may also lower pain in females who get painful menstrual periods. When cinnamon is utilized as a supplement dose of 500 mg taken 3-times is commonly used.
Turmeric roots consist of curcumin, which has been shown to get different beneficial health effects, including lowering inflammation and enhancing mood. Because of these effects, consuming supplements having curcumin can lower PMS symptoms.
Turmeric may also provide effects same like estrogen hormones. It means that it might also help to regulate the menstrual cycle. Typical doses of curcumin are from 100 mg to 500 mg taken two times daily.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil consists of gamma linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that lowers inflammation. Evening primrose oil is utilized for different female health concerns, including breast pain, hot flashes, PMS symptoms.
Some Older studies indicate that evening primrose oil can lower PMS symptoms, but other studies have not found benefits. Doses of 3-6 gm of daily evening primrose oil are used commonly.
Castor oil is traditionally divided as an emmenagogue, which means it helps to stimulate menstrual flow. Research in animals shows that castor oil may impact the menstrual cycle. It may also lower inflammation, which could normalize cramping and menstrual pain.
Make a castor oil pack:
Soak a clean cloth in castor oil and squeeze extra oil.
Keep the castor oil-soaked cloth on the abdomen.
Cover the flannel with plastic wrap.
Keep a heating pad or warm water bottle on the plastic-covered cloth. Relax and keep in the place for 45-60 minutes. Do this every day for 3-days or longer if required.
Avoid using castor oil if you are pregnant because it harms pregnancy.
Try Herbal Supplements
Whether you use dietary supplements or herbal supplements is not regulated by the FDA. You should always take healthcare provider advice.
Some supplements can interact with other health conditions and OTC prescriptions.
Chasteberry is one of the generally utilized herbs for female health, especially for lowering symptoms of PMS. You might also hear another name of this herb like a chaste tree and Vitex agnus castus. Chasteberry may help to reduce prolactin and increase progesterone levels in the body. Cycles may be more normal when these 2-hormones are in balance. Studies also indicate that it lowers PMS symptoms, including breast pain, depression, and fluid retention. If you try chaste berry, make sure to read the product labels and follow dosing recommendations.
Black cohosh is a plant with flowers that belongs to North America. It is sometimes utilized to help for easing menopause symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness to regulate menstruation.
Some researchers believe that this herb works by raising the hormone level of estrogen, FSH, and LH. Doses of 20-40 mg every day are used.
Mugwort is one of the first plants grown by humans. Traditional texts describe it as a menstrual tonic, claiming it stimulates periods that are either missed or late. It is still in use. If there is a chance of pregnancy, talk to your doctor before using it. Mugwort is often taken as a tea or supplement capsule, but no research in people exists, and its ideal dose is not clear.
Sustain A Healthy Weight
Your body weight may impact the menstrual cycle, but exactly how weight affects your menstruation is not clear.
A 2017 study discovered that you may be more likely to get infertility and irregular periods if you are overweight. Scientists think that being overweight can help the HPA axis, which regulates the hormone in the body.
Weight changes may also lead to irregular menstruation. During weight gain or weight loss, you may be more likely to get menstrual changes. The best thing to maintain a regular period is to keep a healthy weight.
Consume Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day
The results of research published in 2013 indicated that drinking 15 ml of apple cider vinegar every day may restore ovulatory menstruation in a female with PCOS.
More research is required to validate all results, as this specific study involved only 7-participants. Apple cider vinegar may also help to lose weight and reduce insulin levels and blood sugar.
Apple cider tastes bitter, which may be hard for some people to eat. If you like to try consuming it but do not like the flavor, you can try mixing it with water and including a tablespoon of honey.
Aloe vera juice is a good remedy to manage your menses and lower extra weight. It also increases metabolism and maintains a healthy gut. Aloe vera helps to balance hormones. But never utilize aloe vera during periods. It may raise uterine contractions.
Beetroot intake may help to deal with irregular period issues and symptoms. Beetroot consists of a high amount of iron and folic acids that help to raise the hemoglobin level in the blood.
Consuming A Healthy Diet
Unhealthy eating habit is another irregular period. Eating processed food, fast food, and alcohol may cause a hormonal imbalance in the body that may cause irregular periods. Ensure that adding dry fruits, green vegetables, red meat, fish, and foods that provide your all nutrients.
Jaggery is sweet and has more medicinal properties. Regular jaggery consumption may help to regulate periods. It also helps to lower uterine cramps.
Get Regular Exercise
Doing regular workouts has different benefits include lowering symptoms of painful menstruation and PMS. Aim to get around 30 minutes of aerobic workout every day to lower symptoms, such as running, walking, swimming, or cycling.
Remember that an intense workout might also impact your cycle by removing or delaying your period.
Maintain Good Sleep Habits
Menstrual problems, especially PMs, can lead to sleeping problems for different females that can increase symptoms. You can help to reduce sleeping problems by good sleep habits. Here are the steps to improve your sleep.
Sleep every day same time and get up every day at the same time.
Do not take naps
Avoid watching Tv or mobile while sleeping
Do not consume caffeine afternoon
Do regularly, but try to do it before 2 pm.
Scientists have found that the adrenal glands secrete both progesterone and cortisol in response to stress. While the release of progesterone may temporarily lower anxiety and tension, it may also regulate the menstrual cycle.
Lowering Chronic stress by deep breathing, meditation, and other methods may help to make you feel better and get your menstruation cycle back.
In one study, people who do yoga for 35 minutes every day for 5-days a week seen improvements in cycle regularity, gastrointestinal symptoms, and pain linked with their periods.
Acupuncture involves placing thin needles at different energy points in the body. According to ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture can balance the flow of energy. It may help to regulate periods and relieve the pain of PMS or menstrual pain.
Some research indicates that acupuncture can lower levels of FSH and normalize menstruation in a female who is not getting periods. Some studies also indicate that acupuncture can lower painful menstruation, but results are combined.
Ginger is a popular home remedy for regulating periods, but there is no scientific research to show that it helps. But as a home remedy, it provides benefits for menstruation.
Results from one study of 92 females with heavy menstrual bleeding indicated that everyday ginger supplements help to lower blood loss during the period.
Consuming 750-2000 mg of ginger powder during the starting -4 days of your period has been indicated to be an effective treatment for painful periods.
Take Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control is often recommended to treat irregular periods. These are different types of products, but they all work to keep hormone levels more balanced. They may also normalize the cycle and offer relief from symptoms such as severe cramping or pain. Some products may remove your period altogether.
A doctor can help to choose a hormonal contraceptive that may help. You may feel some side effects, including weight gain, nausea, or headaches.
Make sure to take your healthcare provider’s advice if you smoke. It may raise your risk of blood clots.
Can Irregular Periods Influence Your Fertility?
Although an occasional abnormal period is common, a consistently irregular period may make it difficult to get pregnant. Doing sex before or during ovulation is a suitable fertile window. An irregular monthly cycle makes it hard to understand when you are or when you will ovulate.
In some cases, an irregular period may be caused by a different condition that impacts fertility like PCOS or ovary function loss.
If your periods are not normal and you are trying to conceive, consider having a preconception appointment with a doctor.
When To See A Physician?
While occasional changes to your menstrual cycle may be because of other lifestyle factors or stress, consistent irregularity could be a sign of a hidden health problem. Check with your doctor if:
- You have not had time for 3-months
- You have a period more than once
- You have a period lower than once each 35 days
- Your periods stay for more than one week at a time
- You soak more pads in one hour
- You pass larger blood clots
Your doctor will work with you to understand the hidden cause and grow a plan that suits your needs.
Get Your Daily Vitamins
Research published in 2015 related to low levels of vitamin D to irregular period and recommend that consuming vitamin D may help to manage menstruation.
Another study also discovers it is effective in treating menstrual irregularity in a female with PCOS.
Vitamin D also provides different benefits for reducing the risk of diseases, helping weight loss, and lowering depression.
Vitamin D can be obtained from some foods, including dairy products and cereal. You can also have sun exposure and vitamin D from supplements.
You may get your menstrual cycle back with some home remedies and lifestyle changes. Scientific evidence is less, however, some natural remedies have been scientifically proven to manage the menstrual period. If you are still concerned, make an appointment with the doctor.