Irregular Periods (menstruation) – Causes and Home Remedies to Regulate your Cycle
Co-authored and medically reviewed by Dr. Bolarinwa E.S
For most females of childbearing age, a common source of worry is irregular periods (menstruation). The fact that only 15% of women have a normal 28-day menstrual cycle gives credence to the claim that for most women, the menstrual cycle does not follow a predictable pattern. Hence, it is okay to be worried when one experiences irregular periods because they are tell-tale signs that all is not perfectly well in the body system. The good news, however, is that you are not alone, and solutions for irregular periods now abound at your finger tips. This is the more reason one should not ignore the signs because the earlier one begins to tackle the root cause of an irregular period, the higher the chances that it will be treated effectively.
Menstruation is the cyclical process of discharging blood and endometrial tissue from the uterus between puberty and menopause in women who are not pregnant. It entails the shedding of superficial layers of the endometrium with subsequent repair in preparation for re-growth from the basalis layer. Women usually experience about 400 menstruation between the start of menstruation (menarche) and the end of menstruation (menopause).
This could last for 3-7 days. Even though the seemingly perfect menstrual cycle is believed to be 28 days, as earlier stated, only 15% of women have that. The menstrual cycle of most healthy females ranges between 21 and 35 days. The normal menses can be summarized as a ‘breakdown, remodeling and repair’ process.
However, the actual events that lead to break down are predominantly local events that are precipitated by a fall in steroid hormones at the end of the cycle. Local factors involved are: lysosomes, metalloproteinases and endothelin (vasoconstrictive agents).
In simple terms, an irregular period (menstrual cycle) is when one’s menstrual cycle is longer than 35 days or becomes very inconsistent. This is also known as Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) or Oligomenorrhea.
Medically speaking, irregular periods encompass any alteration in the normal menstrual flow pattern. The alteration may take the form of the following:
Whichever is the case, it is pertinent not to ignore the signs and symptoms of these anomalies. Although, it is important to note that if these symptoms occur at the start of puberty or towards the beginning of menopause, seeking for treatment may not be very necessary.
There are many reasons females experience irregular periods. Some of these symptoms
There are a plethora of reasons women experience irregular periods ranging from weight to lifestyle. The leading cause of irregular periods in women is hormonal imbalance especially an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone production. Other hormone influences that impact on the menstrual cycle include endocrine disorders such as thyroid disease, adrenal disease and prolactin disorders.
However, it does not end there. Matter of fact, a lot more factors contribute to the chances of having irregular periods like physical and emotional stress, or significant weight loss.
Medically, the causes of irregular periods can be grouped into two:
Organic causes which have identifiable roots and non-organic causes which have no identifiable reason.
For organic causes, root reasons for the irregular period may include local disorders like:
It could also be from systemic disorders such as:
Some pregnancies can also lead to irregular periods as a result of:
As earlier noted, not all irregular periods are caused by hormonal imbalance. Sometimes, inculcating some lifestyle changes can bring a lasting solution to a menstrual problem. These science-backed remedies have proven to help many women get their cycle back on track.
In case you are having irregular periods, try out the tried and tested home remedies listed below:
Some menstrual irregularities are caused by rapid weight gain. Ovulation is very important in menstruation and it can be affected by weight gain. Therefore, in case you are overweight, one smart way to regulate your period is by losing some weight.
You can learn more from our article on Smoothies for Weight Loss for easy and sweeter ways of losing one’s weight.
Also note that losing a lot of weight can equally result in irregular periods. So, depending on where you fall in – either underweight or overweight – endeavor to maintain a healthy weight.
If you suspect that the irregularity in your period may be caused by your weight, Consult a Doctor on KompleteCare to advice you on the ideal weight that you need as well as the best way to achieve that weight.
Among the many benefits of ginger is its ability to help minimize the quantity of blood lost during menstruation. From time immemorial, women have added ginger to their tea or foods to help treat prolonged and painful periods. This wonder spice contributes to alleviated other related symptoms of menstruation such as anxiety and mood swings.
Read more Health Benefits of Ginger.
Grape fruits contain a lot of healthy vitamins such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, lutein, lycopene and ellagic acid which combine to help correct irregular periods. All you have to do is to take a glass of grape juice every morning and watch the irregular period come back on track.
Irregular uterine bleeding unrelated to structural abnormalities of the uterus or the endometrial lining is a diagnosis of exclusion made after structural causes of bleeding and chronic medical diseases have been ruled out.
It occurs more commonly in the first 5 years after menarche and in the perimenopausal period.
About 50% of menorrhagia are attributed to DUB.
20% are adolescents, 50% aged 40-50 years
Most cases of DUB(85%) are due to failure of ovulation caused by alteration in the neuro-endocrinological function.
Depends on the age of the patient.
Oral contraceptive pills
Proper evaluation- hysteroscopy, endometrial biopsy.
Hysterectomy (coexisting endometriosis, myoma, prolapse)
Irregular menstrual cycles or periods is a common gynaecology presentation that has a significant impact on the many women of child bearing age as it can affect patient’s daily routine, reproductive career and general health. A careful history, detailed examination and relevant investigation is essential to making a proper diagnosis and treatment which will improve the patient’s quality of life. It is important to pay attention to one’s body changes and report menstrual alterations early for effective treatment. For most women, a simple lifestyle change can do the trick of correcting irregular menstruation such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating ginger or drinking grape juice every morning.
Dr. Bolarinwa E. S is a physician of family medicine in National hospital, Abuja, Nigeria.