Many women have irregular menstruation periods occasionally while others have them throughout their lives. An irregular period could be a missed period, a shorter than usual cycle, or an oddly heavy flow.
Menstruation is the shedding of the lining of the uterus accompanied by bleeding. It occurs in monthly cycles throughout a woman’s reproductive life, except during pregnancy.
Menstruation starts during puberty and stops permanently at menopause. On average a woman’s menstrual cycles normally ranges from about 25 to 36 days and bleeding lasts between 3 to 7 days.
Factors affecting your menstrual period
1. Hormonal imbalance
Your menstrual cycle is regulated by hormones. Luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone are produced by the pituitary gland which promote ovulation and stimulate the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone.
Hormonal imbalance may occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream.
Conditions like endometriosis, thyroid conditions, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, diabetes etc. can interfere with the hormones in your body.
These can all cause your period to arrive early or result to a heavier than usual flow.
3. Certain medications
If you take an emergency contraceptive like the ‘morning after’ pill, chances are that your periods will most likely come earlier or later than expected. This is because they contain hormones that disrupt the normal ovulation process.
Other medications like blood thinners (anticoagulants) or antibiotics can also cause you to have an early or delayed period including heavy bleeding.
Perimenopause is the transition into menopause which typically begins once you clock 40 years.
If you are approaching menopause, you may notice that your periods becoming less predictable since your hormone levels fluctuate during this time, and you may not ovulate every month.
Mental stress can cause fluctuations in our hormones, severe stress can disrupt your hormone levels causing irregular periods. This could be as a result of anxiety or if you have recently been through a traumatic experience.
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