Irregular periods or Oligomenorrhea, as it is referred to by medical personnel, is the unaccounted fluctuation in the menstrual cycle that affects 20% of the women today! While the causes for late or early periods may vary from lifestyles changes to medication to biological issues, every reason is a cause for equal concern majorly because of the lack of proper information. So let’s understand what makes periods irregular. Essentially there are three things:

  • Too much flow or too little

  • Periods occurring after an interval of thirty five days or more (this periods may vary slightly with women)

  • Periods occurring earlier than expected

Obesity, weight loss, bad food habits, medication or hormone imbalance are some of the major causes of irregular periods. Each of these result in some biological condition that disturbs the normal cycle. However some cases of irregularities are perfectly normal. One such case is that of irregularities during puberty which happens in a lot of girls wherein the period interval is not consistent. This happens because during puberty, estrogen and progesterone levels in the body are yet to balance. Another example is the case of breastfeeding wherein a lot of women start menstruating only after they have stopped breastfeeding their child. Such irregularities are common and almost all of us experience them. However, some other cause of Oligomenorrhea are more complicated. Let’s look into a few such causes of irregular menstruation:

  • The polycystic ovarian syndrome, also known as the Stein-Leventhal Syndrome is a case of irregular periods caused due to many cysts which develop inside the ovaries. A woman with this condition does not ovulate (release an egg) every month resulting in irregularities in the menstrual cycle. But, this is not the only effect of the syndrome. It also brings about higher risk of cancer, hypertension and other severe health disorders.

  • Hormonal imbalance which results in hindered periods can arise from a variety of reasons like extreme obesity or weight loss, eating disorders or emotional stress. Sometimes, strenuous exercise can also result in missed or irregular periods.

  • The thyroid gland produces hormones that affect our metabolism. Its disorder can cause the menstrual cycle some amount of disruption as well.

  • Another condition is emdometriosis wherein the cells that should normally grow inside the uterus starts growing outside it. These are the cells that are shed off during menstruation. Problem arises when blood gets stuck in the tissue causing damage to it. This results in severe pain and irregular periods.

On the whole it can be said that irregular periods may occur due to a multitude of reasons and not all of them are a reason to worry about. However, it is best to seek medical advice as soon as some irregularity is noticed. The doctor will identify the issue and offer the best advice on what should be done and what not. A proper way to track the menstrual cycle is to maintain a period calendar where all the period dates and durations are documented. By doing so you will identify an irregularity and address it immediately.

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