Spotlight On: Irregular Periods – The Facts
Over the last number of months, we’ve learned a thing or two about the wide range of contraceptives that are available on the market today.
Now, we are going to continue our focus on health by studying a wide range of topics relating to sex and sexual health.
Last week, we brought sexy back into your love life, while this week we will be explaining all the facts about irregular periods.
Irregular Periods – The Facts
A number of women suffer from irregular periods. Their periods can be late or early, can last for a number of different days and can also vary in how heavy they are.
There are a number of reasons that could be causing this.
Your menstrual cycle can be disturbed if you change contraception. It can also be affected by an imbalance of the reproductive hormones progesterone and oestrogen.
A number of different factors can cause a hormone imbalance including polycystic ovary syndrome, extreme weight loss or excessive exercise.
Stress is also another key factor in causing an imbalance in hormones and irregular bleeding.
Although rare, a thyroid disorder is another possible cause of irregular periods. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to maintain the body’s metabolism.
There are some gynaecological problems that can also cause irregular bleeding to include unsuspected pregnancy or problems with the womb or ovaries. Your GP may refer you to a gynaecologist for further investigation.
If you are experiencing abnormalities in your menstrual cycle, your GP might recommend that you do a pregnancy test and/or ultrasound scan in order to rule out the possibility of pregnancy. This is particularly the case if you are experiencing pain.
Counselling and stress management
If you are stressed or going through a time of high pressure, you may experience irregular periods. Using relaxation or stress management techniques along with visiting a counsellor or therapist may help.
What is an average menstrual cycle?
On average the female menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but this can very anywhere between 24 to 35 days.
Most women develop their own regular cycle within this timeframe, with bleeding usually lasting between two to seven days.
When to see your GP
You should go to your GP if you are bleeding or spotting between periods or after having sex.
If your periods are particularly heavy, whereby you need to change your pad or tampon every hour or two, or have to wear both, a trip to your GP is advisable.
Other times that you should make an appointment with your doctor include if you suffer from heavy bleeding that goes through your clothes, if your period is longer than seven days or occurs more frequently than once a month.