why does my menstrual cycle change every month
Most women with a regular cycle have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. However, women s bodies are forever changing. From time to time, every woman suspects that her menstrual cycle is abnormal for one reason or another. It s important to remember that each woman s cycle is different, so your normal cycle may not be the same as your best friend s normal cycle. There are, however, some common reasons for a period to be irregular. What Causes Irregular Periods? Because each woman s cycle is different, and because there are so many factors that cause an irregular cycle, it can sometimes be hard to pinpoint an exact reasons for irregular periods. Periods are often irregular during the first couple of years of menstruation. This is because the body is still developing the delicate hormonal balance that leads to a regular cycle. Here are some of the most common reasons for irregular periods. During the first few years after menstruation starts, periods are often irregular while the hormones that control menstruation reach a balance. They may also be irregular at the end of menstrual years when women reach perimenopause and menopause menopause starts when it s been 12 months since a menstrual period. Those irregularities are normal and common. But there are other times in women s lives and other conditions that can lead to irregular menstrual cycles. The most common cause of a missed period is pregnancy. Until you know for sure if you re pregnant or not, you should treat yourself as though you are. This is one instance when you should call your OB/GYN or midwife. You can use an at-home pregnancy test, but your healthcare provider can use other tests to determine whether you re pregnant and how far along you are, in addition to informing you on what else you should be doing for a healthy pregnancy.
Two common causes of irregular menstrual periods are and. PCOS is a hormone imbalance that can affect ovulation, cause issues with a woman s period and make it more difficult to get pregnant. If your doctor determines this is the cause of your irregular periods, treatment may include birth control pills or other hormones to restore hormonal balance. Hypothyroidism, a. k. a. underactive thyroid disease, is caused by your thyroid gland not producing enough of its hormone. Similar to PCOS, treating hypothyroidism involves supplementation of thyroid hormones. If you are not pregnant, other common causes of an irregular period include:
Excessive weight loss or gain: although low body weight is a common cause of missed or irregular periods, obesity also can cause menstrual problems Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia Increased exercise : missed periods are common in endurance athletes. Emotional stress Medicines such as birth control methods, which may cause lighter, less frequent, more frequent, or skipped periods or no periods at all Hormone problems Illegal drug use Problems with the pelvic organs, such as imperforate hymen, polycystic ovary syndrome, or Asherman s syndrome Breastfeeding : many women do not resume regular periods until they have completed breastfeeding. Call your doctor or midwife if you miss three or more periods a year, get your period more often than every 21 days, get it less than every 35 days, if you re bleeding more heavily than usual during your period, if you bleed for more than seven days, or if you have more pain than usual during a period. It s always best to be proactive when it comes to your health, something women can often forget when running their busy lives.
Getting something checked out can help to prevent serious health conditions later on down the road. Although treatment depends on what is causing your missed periods, it s important to treat any underlying conditions or diseases that may be causing your irregular periods, since they could lead to more serious complications. There are a number of common treatment options that can help regulate your cycle. Some of the most common options for women with irregular periods include: If you typically have regular, monthly menstrual periods and the pattern changes, your doctor can perform an exam and run blood tests to check your hormone levels and thyroid function these can rule out pregnancy or a health issue. So, if your cycle is irregular, how can you tell when you're about to get your period? Below are some clues your body may give you, according to the National Institutes of Health: Women may also find that their menstruation cycle is changing before. Women can experience age-related menstrual changes as early as their 30's. Some of the changes that women can experience include: A change in periods - shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, with more or less time in between Less hair on head, more on face. WHAT CAUSES PERIODS TO CHANGE OR STOP? Menstrual period changes are usually a symptom of some underlying physical or hormonal imbalance. Changes in the amount or timing of hormones released by the thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands, or hypothalmus may cause the ovary to delay or skip ovulation. Without ovulation a period will not occur. However the same changes in hormones may trigger bleeding at abnormal times (in the middle of a cycle or several weeks late) or in abnormal amounts (very light or very heavy). P One of the most common causes of anovulation (failure to ovulate) is body weight.
Low body weight may cause a prolonged absence of periods. Excessive body weight tends to cause abnormal bleeding. Sudden changes in exercise levels or in body weight may cause temporary changes in bleeding patterns. Emotional stress and physical illness are also common causes of menstrual irregularities although the menstrual changes may not occur at the time of the perceived stress. Prescribed medications and herbal preparations may also effect menstrual patterns by changing the interaction and transmission of the bodys natural hormones. Occasionally the thyroid, pituitary or adrenal gland may malfunction and produce too little or too much hormone. Abnormal bleeding can also be caused by physical changes in the uterus or ovaries, such as abnormal development of tissue in the uterine lining or muscle, or ovarian cysts. Pregnancy or infection may also cause spotting or bleeding to occur. HOW ARE IRREGULAR PERIODS EVALUATED? The initial evaluation will include a review of your personal medical and family history and a detailed review of your menstrual and sexual history. Report any other physical symptoms (sudden changes in weight or body hair, nipple discharge, fatigue, mood changes, etc. ) that you may be experiencing to your health care provider. The physical exam will usually include measurement of your blood pressure and body weight. The health care provider may also palpate (feel) the thyroid gland in your neck, examine your heart and lungs, perform a breast exam, palpate the abdomen and do a vaginal and internal pelvic exam. Depending on the medical history and findings of the physical exam several blood tests may be ordered. An ultrasound study of your uterus and ovaries may also be ordered.
An ultrasound study provides pictures of the internal organs by recording the patterns of sound waves as they reflect off the uterus and ovaries. It is not painful test. HOW ARE IRREGULAR PERIODS TREATED? Immediate treatment will usually involve the use of the hormones, estrogen and progesterone. A short course of progesterone is often prescribed if there has been a prolonged absence of periods. When the prescription is completed, a period will usually occur within two three weeks. If there has been very irregular spotting or excessive bleeding birth control pills containing both hormones may be prescribed. This will usually stop the bleeding within a few days. Your health care provider may recommend that birth control pills be continued for a few months. Additional treatment will be directed toward a specific diagnosis if the physical exam and test results identify a cause. This may mean addressing weight issues, changing exercise patterns and eating habits, or taking medication to control abnormal thyroid, pituitary or adrenal function. Sometimes, no specific cause can be identified. As long as a thorough evaluation has ruled out serious illness, not finding a specific cause can be reassuring. Treatment can then be directed at controlling the symptoms. WILL MY IRREGULAR MENSTRUAL CYCLES EFFECT MY FERTILITY? Without ovulation, a woman cannot become pregnant. Sometimes factors effecting the menses disappear later in life. For example, if body weight is related to the irregular periods, and weight returns to a normal range, the menses may spontaneously become more regular and fertility will be normal. If menses are persistently irregular, fertility medications may be used to regulate the menstrual cycle and achieve conception. Hope this helps.
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