Why is my menstrual cycle irregular? Possible causes
There’s every reason to learn about your body from a young age. That’s because, when you’re informed, you can quickly tell when something is wrong.
Many women experience irregular menstruation often but put it down to mere random occurrence. This habit is particularly prevalent in women residing in hectic cities such as New York. While that can be true for infrequent occurrences, frequent irregularities are sometimes a cause for concern. The irregularity can be shorter/longer cycles, heavy/light bleeding, missed periods, etc.
This article highlights 11 possible reasons why your menstruation is irregular.
1. Birth control
Hormonal birth control works according to its name; it suppresses the hormones responsible for ovulation. When you don’t ovulate, your menstrual cycle doesn’t progress as expected because a phase has been hindered.
While you may experience bleeding, it typically would not be a true period. The bleeding may, however, be irregular. For some, there’s no bleeding at all after some time.
Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know that breastfeeding can cause irregular periods. Of course, we learn every day. Breastfeeding can cause irregular menstruation as it suppresses ovulation. It’s your body’s natural process to prevent you from getting pregnant just after childbirth.
Some OTC drugs can affect the menstrual cycle, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, antidepressants, epilepsy medicine, and other thyroid gland medications.
As the name suggests, perimenopause is the phase just before actual menopause. It occurs about 4-8 years before menopause and is characterized by irregular menstruation as your reproductive hormones start to shut down.
During perimenopause, the menstrual cycle may lengthen or shorten month after month. After some time, the periods will become less frequent and then stop entirely once menopause starts.
One of the commonest signs of fibroids is painful, heavy periods. Unfortunately, many women residing in cities like New York live with uterine fibroids without knowing it, and it can compromise pregnancy and fertility. Understanding how the condition often goes undetected, it’s advisable to see a fibroid specialist NYC near you to assess your situation. Fibroids can be removed through surgery.
6. Polycystic ovary syndrome
One of the most common symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome is irregular menstruation. The condition occurs when cysts grow in the ovaries. It increases the level of androgen – a male hormone – present in the body. This can also cause difficulty getting pregnant and excess body hair.
Endometriosis and endometrial cancer can also cause unusual bleeding from the uterus. You might think it is a period, but it really isn’t.
8. Excessive exercise
People who train intensively, such as athletes and dancers, may have irregular periods as excessive exercise interferes with reproductive hormones.
If your period has delayed more than is considered normal, it could be that you’re pregnant. A light spotting instead of a normal period can also indicate pregnancy. If you’ve had sex in the last month, kindly do a pregnancy self-test.
High-stress levels can make the menstrual cycle irregular. Out of 210 participants in one study during the early months of the pandemic, 54% reported changes in their periods. Those with higher stress levels had longer, heavier periods.
Hyperthyroidism – which means an overactive thyroid – causes shorter and lighter periods. If you experience weight loss or inability to gain weight even when eating much, anxiety, and heart palpitations, you possibly have an overactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) can lead to longer, heavier periods.
Indeed, many things can cause your menstrual cycle to change, and not many require you to see a doctor. However, when it keeps recurring, it’s worth seeking medical attention as soon as possible.