Causes of Menstrual Irregularities

April 4th, 2024 | 6:20 am

A woman’s body undergoes the menstrual cycle every 21 to 35 days. However, this cycle may not be regular for many women, resulting in menstrual abnormalities. These abnormalities can take many different forms, from missing periods to extremely heavy or protracted bleeding. For effective management and treatment, it is essential to comprehend the underlying reasons for these abnormalities. We discuss the necessary aspects of recognizing irregular periods, their causes, and when to consult with a doctor.

What are Irregular Periods?

When the length of your menstrual cycle suddenly deviates from the usual, you have an irregular period. This might involve changes in the volume of blood flow, the time of menstruation, or the length of the menstrual cycle. Unusual uterine bleeding can cause irregular periods in the following cases:

  • Missing three or more consecutive periods.
  • Spots or bleeding in between periods
  • Bleeding following a sexual encounter
  • Periods that last longer than seven days.
  • Severe bleeding while you’re menstruating
  • Abnormally prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Bleeding after going through menopause

Your menstrual cycle may be unpredictable sometimes, and that’s okay. It’s common to see minor fluctuations in the duration of your cycle or to experience a menstrual flow that is somewhat heavier or lighter than it was in the past. It’s not necessary to be able to precisely forecast your cycle’s day for menstrual abnormalities to be deemed “normal.” Irregularities are common.

What Leads to Period Irregularities?

Period irregularities can have a variety of reasons, from stress to more serious underlying medical issues. These may include: 

Factors related to Medical Conditions 

The absence of menstruation is linked to certain medical disorders, such as: 

  • Endometriosis: When endometrial tissue protrudes from your uterus, you have endometriosis. Often, the tissue adheres to your fallopian tubes or ovaries. Before and during your period, endometriosis may cause extreme discomfort, cramping, or unusual bleeding.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This condition is characterized by the overproduction of androgens by the ovaries. This hormone causes irregular periods by delaying or preventing ovulation. Menstruation may entirely stop in people with PCOS.
  • Thyroid or Pituitary Gland Disorders: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), and other illnesses related to the pituitary gland or thyroid can affect hormones, leading to irregular menstruation.
  • Uterine Cancer or Ovarian Cancer: A person’s menstrual cycle may be impacted by specific malignancies. Abnormalities might include heavier-than-usual bleeding or skipped periods.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: A bacterial infection known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) impacts the female reproductive system. Untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are usually the reason. Bacteria go into your vagina and travel up your genital canal and uterus. Pelvic discomfort, irregular periods, and an intense, foul-smelling vaginal discharge are all signs of PID.
  • Blood Clotting Disorders: If you have a bleeding or blood clotting condition, you may suffer severe monthly bleeding.

Factors Related to Lifestyle

Alterations in our daily schedule may affect our menstrual cycle. These may include: 

  • Either significantly increasing or decreasing one’s weight.
  • Workouts that produce extremely little body fat, such as those done by long-distance runners, dancers, or gymnasts.
  • Viruses or different diseases.
  • Psychological stress can alter the hypothalamus and interfere with the synthesis of hormones. 
  • Physical stress, such as extreme exercise or rapid weight reduction, can also affect hormone levels.

Other Causes

Irregular menstruation can also be brought on by medicines, problems during pregnancy, or breastfeeding (chestfeeding) difficulties. Additional reasons consist of:

  • A mix of hormones is often included in birth control tablets. The medications work by preventing the release of eggs from your ovaries. Menstruation may change whether using or not taking birth control tablets. For as long as six months following the cessation of birth control tablets, irregular or absent menstruation may persist.
  • Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus.
  • Your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes may be surgically repaired, scarred, or blocked.

Options for Treating Abnormal Periods

The first line of treatment for irregular periods is frequent medication. If the medicine is ineffective, the doctor could advise surgery. Among the potential medication are:

  • Antibiotics: If an infection is the reason for your irregular bleeding, you may be prescribed antibiotics.
  • Pain Relievers: Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, may help you feel better if you have mild to severe discomfort or cramps.
  • Hormonal Birth Control: Period irregularities can be avoided using oral contraceptives that contain progestin and estrogen to balance hormone levels. Menstrual cycle regulation may also necessitate the prescription of other hormonal birth control methods, such as the intrauterine device (IUD), injection, or contraceptive patch.
  • Hormone Therapy: If perimenopause is the cause of your irregular menstruation, hormone treatment can be beneficial. Hot flashes and vaginal dryness are two other menopausal symptoms that it can assist with. Hormone treatment has some risks which you should discuss with your doctor.

Surgery for Irregular Periods

Surgical treatment choices vary according to your age, health, and desire to become pregnant in the future. Among the surgical procedures for irregular menstruation are:

  • Endometrial ablation: This technique destroys the tissue lining your uterus with heat, cold, or other forms of energy to reduce the amount of blood that comes out when you have your period. 
  • Hysterectomy: To remove extra endometrial tissue that is forming in your pelvis or abdomen, surgery may be required in extreme situations. If there has been significant damage to your uterus, a hysterectomy may be necessary as a final option.
  • Uterine artery embolization is a technique used to treat uterine fibroids by cutting off the blood supply to the uterus.
  • Myomectomy: The surgical removal of uterine fibroids, which are the source of irregular bleeding.

A healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress-reduction methods like yoga or meditation, and enough sleep can help control hormone levels and enhance menstruation regularity.

What are Some Ways to Reduce the Probability of an Irregular Period?


The following advice pertains to self-care:

  • Hormonal imbalances associated with weight gain that lead to irregular periods can be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet and frequent exercise.
  • Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation are among stress-reduction strategies that can help balance the HPA axis and lessen stress’s negative effects on hormone levels.
  • While regular exercise is essential for general health, excessive or intense physical activity can upset menstruation regularity and hormone balance. Strive for a well-rounded workout regimen that incorporates moderate-intensity exercises and rest days.
  • While excessive use of alcohol and caffeine can upset hormone balance, limiting these substances can help control hormone levels and promote menstruation regularity.
  • In addition to lowering the risk of hormonal changes related to pregnancy and childbirth, healthy sexual practices and consistent contraceptive use can help avoid unwanted pregnancies.
  • Seeking appropriate diagnosis and treatment from a healthcare expert is crucial if one is dealing with severe or chronic menstrual abnormalities. Ignoring irregular periods may result in unwanted consequences or the concealment of underlying medical conditions.


Because some fluctuation in menstruation is typical, irregular periods might not be cause for concern. Nonetheless, certain symptoms can indicate a more serious issue. If your menstrual cycle drastically alters or if your period becomes really painful, contact your gynecologist. A thorough assessment and diagnosis are required to identify the root cause of the problem. If necessary, the doctor will advise on medication, surgery, or modifications to one’s lifestyle.