This piece of work is about the 28-Day menstrual myth and when to worry.
There is a wide range of what is considered to be “normal” when talking about the menstrual cycle. It is not uncommon for women to have menstrual cycles that vary in length. For some, one month might be 28 days, which is considered average, and in the next month it could be 31 days, and the next 27. Gynaecologists consider that normal.
That said, irregular periods can be a signal that something in the body is not quite right. For example, irregular periods can be an early sign of potential fertility problems in some women. Knowing how to tell if your periods are irregular will help you understand your body better as the term “irregular” may refer to a change in what is normal for you.
Any persistent or concerning changes to your period cycle, may warrant a visit to the gynaecologist.
What Is an Irregular Menstrual Period?
Irregular menstrual periods typically refer to the number of days between cycles counting from day 1 of your period to day 1 of the next period. Day 1 is traditionally the first day of actual flow. It’s normal to have anywhere between 21 and 35 days between periods.
Your period is considered irregular if one the following happens:
- It comes more frequently than 21 days
- The length of your cycles varies greatly even if they are typically within the typical range of 21 to 35 days.
- You go 35 days or more between periods.
It can also be normal for your cycles to vary by a few days from month to month. For example, your cycle could be 33 days one month and 35 days the next and not be cause for concern.
Keep scrolling to learn more about irregular periods.
There are many possible causes for irregular menstruation, which can affect ovulation or make getting pregnant more difficult. In some cases, the cause of irregular menstruation is unknown.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS):
PCOS is a condition in which the female body secretes too many androgens -sometimes thought of as “male” sex hormones. Too many androgens can prevent mature eggs from developing and being released by the fallopian tubes.
According to Healthline, PCOS, affects up to 21 percent of women and is the most common cause of infertility from lack of ovulation. PCOS can be a genetic disorder, but it can also be influenced by lifestyle factors, such as being overweight and sedentary.
Perimenopause is the time in a woman’s reproductive life when estrogen and progesterone naturally decline. This causes irregular ovulation and periods before they stop altogether, signalling menopause. Typically, perimenopause lasts about four years, but some women can go through it for much longer.
Symptoms of perimenopause may include:
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- irregular periods
While it’s still possible to become pregnant during perimenopause, it can be more difficult because the released eggs will be older and potentially less viable. You also may not release eggs with every cycle.
Your thyroid, which is a small butterfly-shaped organ at the base of your neck, helps regulate hormones that, among other things, impact ovulation and menstruation. Symptoms of thyroid disease include;
- mental fuzziness
- weight changes
- altered heart and metabolic rates
Being severely over- or underweight can set off a chain reaction in your body that interrupts hormonal function. That can lead to absent or irregular ovulation, which can also lead to absent or irregular menstruation.
Gynaecologists warn that women with a body mass index of less than 20 or greater than 25 were at least 1.1 times more likely to experience menstrual irregularities than women who had BMIs between 20 and 25.
Stress can impact a wide variety of bodily functions, including ovulation. In one study looking at medical students, those who reported higher levels of perceived stress were more likely to have menstrual irregularities compared with those who didn’t feel as highly stressed.
When do you seek help?
- If you haven’t had a period for three or more months.
- If you have menstrual bleeding that lasts for more than a week.
- If you’re soaking through a pad or tampon every hour or two, for several hours, during your period.
- If your periods are very painful.
- If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for one year and are younger than 35 or for six months or longer and are 35 or older.
Avoid resorting to self-help or unrecommended platforms for medical attention. Don’t look too far, your local healthcare facility should be your first point of call. Talk to your doctor who will make the recommendation.
Are you willing to share your experience with the Ibiene community? Do share with us in the comment section.