Irregular menstrual cycles are normal during the first few years of your periods. But anything more than that is a warning sign. Irregular periods have several causes—from hormonal imbalances to underlying health conditions. That is why it is so important to keep a track of what’s going on with your body before it can culminate into some more severe.
When do you call your periods irregular?
It is important for you to know what a menstrual cycle really means before exploring if your periods are regular or irregular. To know your menstrual cycle, you need to count from the first day of your last period to the first day of your next period. When this menstrual cycle is longer than 38 days, it’s considered to be irregular periods.
Possible causes of irregular periods
Below are some of the most common causes of irregular periods:
A missed period is often one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. Some other symptoms include nausea, morning sickness, fatigue, breast tenderness, as well as sensitivity to certain smells.
Get a pregnancy test
If you’ve had sex and missed a period, it’s advised that you take a pregnancy test to know for sure if pregnancy is the reason for your inconsistent periods.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
This is a hormonal disorder and irregular periods are one of the most prominent symptoms for PCOS. You may also face problems like missed periods and heavy bleeding when you do get your period when you have PCOS. Other symptoms include unexplained weight gain, unwanted hair growth on the face and body, infertility, as well as male-pattern baldness.
Get a PCOS test
The PCOS panel measures your hormone levels to diagnose PCOS and also assesses your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes. It is recommended to do this test on the second or third day of your menstrual cycle.
According to studies, irregular periods can also be a sign of an underlying thyroid problem. If you have hypothyroidism, wherein your thyroid gland is underactive, you may experience longer and heavier periods with intense cramps. On the other hand, if you have hyperthyroidism, wherein your thyroid gland is overactive, you may experience shorter and lighter periods. Some of the other symptoms associated with thyroid disorders include unexplained weight gain or weight loss, severe hair fall, anxiety, and heart palpitations.
Get an advanced thyroid care test
A thyroid test will help in determining the level of your thyroid hormones and diagnose a thyroid disorder if any. Early intervention is a must to treat thyroid problems since its complications include high cholesterol, heart disease, nerve damage, and more.
Being overweight or obese has been linked with irregular menstrual cycles. This is because obesity affects your insulin and hormone levels, which can further muddle with your menstrual cycles.
Get an obesity risk assessment
Being overweight or obese puts you at risk of numerous health conditions like PCOS, hypothyroidism, and more. An obesity risk assessment test would help you identify your potential health risks so that you can head towards the right treatment and management plan at the earliest.
Believe it or not, stress and anxiety can actually interfere with your menstrual cycles. Too much stress can take a toll on the part of the brain that’s responsible for controlling the hormones that control your menstrual cycles.
Get a stress assessment
A fast-paced lifestyle makes us quite vulnerable to stress, which further puts us at risk of multiple health issues. Some of these include vitamin D deficiency, cholesterol, as well as thyroid disorders. The stress assessment gives you measurements of your stress hormones as well as complete blood counts to help you identify any health risks.
Other than these, some other reasons associated with irregular periods include:
- Uterine fibroids
- Too much of exercise
- Eating disorders
- Hormonal birth controls
- Certain medications
It is important for you to get a health test at the earliest whenever you observe your menstrual cycles to be irregular. Early detection is always a key to better treatment and a quick ride on the road to recovery. If you have any concerns related to your menstrual cycle, it is advisable that you talk to an expert.