Some women may find that their periods are not always regular. The length of the periods or how heavy they are also varies between women. On average, a regular menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but cycles can vary from 21 to 35 days. Menstrual bleeding usually lasts two to seven days.
It can be normal for cycles to be irregular at the extremes of ages, like in your early teens when you have just started menstruation to the other extreme where you are in the peri-menopausal stage due to hormonal imbalance.
What are the possible causes of irregular menses?
Pregnancy – if there is a possibility of pregnancy, your doctor will want to rule out pregnancy as you may get spotting or mild bleeding in early pregnancy, particularly if you are in pain as it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
Gynaecological issues – irregular bleeding can also be caused by problems affecting the uterus or ovaries.
Sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIs) – STDs/STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhoea can also cause irregular bleeding.
Change in methods of contraception – If you have had a recent change in the type of contraception you have been using, it may cause irregular bleeding as a result of hormonal imbalances. Certain type of contraception like the mini-pill, depo-provera injection, implant are more common to cause spotting between periods especially when they are first used. Symptoms usually settle down after 3 months.
Hormonal imbalances – Other medical conditions that may cause irregular periods are Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid disease. These are important to diagnose as they may have other complications associated with the condition itself besides causing irregular menses.
Lifestyle factors – Lifestyle factors like extreme weight loss or weight gain, excessive exercise or stress can also contribute towards irregular menses.
If there has been a change to your menstrual cycle or pattern of bleeding, it would be advisable to see your doctor. Please feel free to visit us at our clinic for further detailed evaluation.
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