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Typically a menstrual cycle ranges anywhere from 21 - 35 days. Irregular menstrual cycle is a common complaint with about 20% of the women. Irregularity of menses can be either of short term or long term irregularity. Find out the causes for irregular menstrual cycles. Fatigue and worry can cause short-term irregularity in the menstrual cycle. Sometimes irregular bleeding can be due to polyp, fibroid, infection or cervical lesions. Problems with the hypothalamus, pituitary or ovaries can lead to irregular menstrual cycles. PCOD (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a common cause for irregular menses in women.
Causes for irregular menstrual cycle
Losing or gaining a lot of weight
Excessive or intense exercise
Rigid diets low in calories
Medications and treatments such as chemotherapy
Abnormalities of the uterus such as fibroids, cysts, polyps and endometriosis
Irregular menstrual cycle may sometimes be indicative of a woman entering perimenopause. Be it shorter cycles or long cycles and heavy bleeding, both types of irregularity can mean that a woman is entering a perimenopausal stage. Certain medications such as anticoagulant blood thinners or those that disrupt the corpus luteum function may lead to short term irregular menstrual cycle. Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol can have this effect as also smoking. In some cases, IBH or Inflammatory Bowel Disease may be associated with irregular periods.
Treating irregular menstrual cycle
Irregular menstrual cycle can also be accompanied by conditions such as painful menses or excessive bleeding. Your gynecologist would check your medical history and probably conduct a physical examination. Blood test, ultrasound and biopsy might be suggested.
Irregular menstrual cycle is treated according to the cause. Often hormonal imbalance is corrected with appropriate drugs or hormones. Surgical removal of polyps or fibroids may be necessary. Treatment is also based on the stage in a woman's life, if she intends to have children. Hormonal contraceptives or supplements are used to regulate menstrual cycles. The combination of estrogen and progesterone helps to maintain hormones at specific and balanced levels.
Women suffering from irregular menstrual cycle are asked to give up smoking and cut down consumption of alcohol and caffeine. It is essential to follow a healthy eating pattern sans rigid control of calories and dieting of any sort. Stress can be reduced by relaxation and other stress-relieving techniques such as yoga or mild exercise.