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Understanding Irregular Periods: Signs, Causes, and Diagnostic Steps

The menstrual cycle is the interval from one period to the next.

While the length of the period cycle varies for each individual, the key factors are regularity and cyclicality. Cycles are generally categorized by their duration: short (up to 21 days), standard (21-35 days), and long (more than 35 days). A normal cycle is typically between 21 and 35 days.

The period cycle serves as an indicator of women’s health. If a woman experiences irregular periods, it’s essential not to simply attribute them to stress, fatigue, irregular diet, or other common triggers.

Understanding Irregular Periods: Signs and Symptoms

In most cases, menstrual irregularity means a delayed cycle (long cycle) or a cycle that is too short, in which menstruation occurs earlier than it should. However, there are other signs that can indicate menstrual irregularities.

  • Severe delay of menstruation, up to once every 3-4 months. At age, such a condition is often associated with the development of menopause.
  • Periods last no more than one or two days.
  • Periods are absent for more than six consecutive months.
  • The discharge is more profuse than usual. Or menstruation lasts more than 7 days.
  • High frequency of menstruation (about every 3 weeks or more often).
  • Periods that last more than ten days in a row, with heavy discharge.
  • Discharge that occurs regardless of the period.
  • Severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, mood swings, and other such problems during menstruation.
  • Extremely painful periods in which a woman may be completely incapacitated.

Minor delays of up to 2 weeks, which occur 1-2 times a year, rarely indicate serious disorders in the body. These problems may be associated with stress (it negatively affects the endocrine system, which in turn determines menstrual irregularities), acclimatization, sleep disorders, and a number of other reasons. But long delays (more than 6 months), too abundant, and painful periods can signal diseases of the sexual system.

Factors Affecting Cycle Stability

The female reproductive system is highly sensitive to any changes in the body. Almost any condition, disease, or psychological event can affect the stability of the menstrual cycle.

  • Gynecological diseases: Uterine myoma, uterine cancer, inflammation of the appendages and uterus, ovarian disease, and others.
  • Psychological conditions: Mental health disorders and stress.
  • Genetic disorders.
  • Heart problems: Diseases of the blood, internal organs, and the central nervous system.
  • Infectious diseases: Chickenpox, rubella, sexually transmitted infections, and others.
  • Physical damage: Abortion, uterine surgeries, and other trauma to the female organs.
  • Abrupt changes in body weight.
  • Harmful habits: Smoking, alcoholism, and drug addiction.

Ignoring the symptoms of irregular periods can lead to undesirable complications. Consequences of menstrual irregularity can include ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and various neoplasms.

Diagnosis for Irregular Periods

If your cycle is irregular, you will likely need to undergo several diagnostic steps.

  • Blood tests for hormones.
  • General blood and urine tests.
  • Vaginal smear tests for flora (to detect infections).
  • PAP-test.
  • Ultrasound – to assess the condition of internal organs.

Irregular Periods are an indicator of health problems, so you should not leave them without attention.

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