There are multiple reasons your monthly cycle can be anything but monthly. While we aren’t medical professionals, our female staff can definitely chime in on many reasons why your cycles may be irregular, untimely or sporadic. Here, we identify some of the most common reasons, as well as, what to do to get to the clarity you need for a timely time of the month.
Pregnancy. First and most obvious sign of a missed period or even spotting is pregnancy. Of course, if this is coupled with morning sickness, nausea, heightened sensitivity to scents, tender breast tissue, and other symptoms of pregnancy, it is certainly worth getting confirmation either way. Consider taking a pregnancy test at home but also schedule to see your doctor a few weeks after your missed period, as too early of a missed period may not show positive results on an at-home test.
Contraceptives. Be it hormonal birth control pills or a hormone-containing intrauterine devices (IUDs), these can cause irregular bleeding – especially during the first few weeks or months your body is getting accustomed to them. If this is happening, consider also talking with your doctor to confirm its proper placement or procedures and also consider a second form of contraceptive as a back-up if you’re worried either your pill or IUD isn’t effective.
Endometriosis. Endometriosis can be extremely painful and cause menstrual cramps that prompt heavy bleeding, prolonged periods, and even intermittent spotting between periods.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Irregular periods are the most common sign of PCOS. If you have PCOS, you may miss periods but you also may be subject to heavier days of bleeding. Because PCOS is connected to possible infertility, it is suggested that you get this checked out by a medical professional. Be sure to track untimely periods or spotting so that the doctor has an idea of how often, how light or how heavy your bleeding has been.
Thyroid issues. Believe it or not, an underactive thyroid may cause longer, heavier periods. In a recent study, nearly 45% of women with menstrual irregularities also reported thyroid disorders. Hypothyroidism has been linked to longer, heavier periods so be sure to monitor your period and your thyroid for issues with the other.
Uterine fibroids. While many fibroids are noncancerous and can vary in size. They tend to not only cause heavy periods but also pain and discomfort, so much so, they have been linked to anemia. These are certainly worth monitoring and maintaining with OTC pain meds prescribed by a professional.
Obesity. Excessive weight has been reported as a contributing factor to menstrual irregularity. Because obesity affects the hormones, it most certainly can also affect the menstrual cycle. Oftentimes, these can be linked to some of the items we mentioned above like PCOS or thyroid issues, so reporting any irregularities is important. Also, consider nutrition and exercise to ensure you are of an ideal weight for your height and age.
Stress. Since hormones are regulated by the brain, stress can certainly affect your cycle. Consider stress-reducing practices and techniques and if you if your stressors are continuously upsetting your cycle, consider talking to your doctor about other ways to regulate your period.
There are several possible causes of irregular, untimely or sporadic periods and bleeding. Be sure to take good notes and to report anything suspicious and especially painful to your medical OBGYN professional often and frequently.
Especially if you have periods that last longer than 7 days, soak through more than one pad or tampon every hour, have periods that are very spotty or spot between full periods, or similar.