It is part of a woman’s reproductive system and occurs every month in response to reproductive hormones including estrogen and progesterone.
But why periods? because it is necessary to start the reproductive system in females and connect the steps of becoming a mother.
Periods are considered irregular when they do not come in the normal range, mean -periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days (1).
Research estimate that each woman experiences menstruation 400 times in her fertility age.
However, talk to your doctor if you experience frequent irregular periods, from month to month, and it is not that harmful.
But irregular or heavy bleeding can lead to iron deficiency due to low blood count, which also leads to low haemoglobin.
NOTE: Also, Irregular bleeding and spotting are almost permanent after 1 to 3 months of treatment (2).
1. Birth Control Pills
The most commonly given pill is the combined hormonal pill including estrogen and progesterone.
Progesterone is the hormone that prevents pregnancy, and the estrogen component controls menstrual bleeding (3).
See, birth control pills do not directly affect periods, but they can create some problems, which lead to irregular periods including:
- Dietary changes
- Continuous birth control pill
- Stress, affect both mental and physical health (4)
These pills are mainly used to prevent cramps, excessive bleeding, etc but excessive use leads to irregular periods (5)
Yes, pregnancy can lead to irregular periods, and can also make it difficult in being pregnant, but how?
Basically, during irregular periods, women also lose their 2 vital hormones called estrogen and progesterone, which are responsible for being pregnant.
NOTE: Overall, an irregular menstrual cycle causes subtle or sufficient hormonal imbalance.
Common signs of pregnancy, but these signs may also see in other health conditions, so confirm it with the doctor, which includes:
- feeling of tiredness
- feel lazy and sleepy
A study on female college students showed stress levels were associated with an irregular menstrual cycle and menstrual disorders.
NOTE: Physical stress also leads to irregular periods such as extreme exercises.
A menstrual calendar study of Danish women showed that, when women entered the menopause transition, an irregular period cycle occurred (10).
Which was allied with increased variability in the duration of bleeding (11).
The most common signs and symptoms of premature menopause include:
- Irregular periods
- hot flashes
- night sweat
- joints pain
- longer period or short period
- mood swings
- dryness in the vagina, eyes, and mouth
- Increase or decrease in weight
- heavy bleeding
- depression, and anxiety
- breast tenderness
- hair loss or thinning
- disturbance on sleep
- Period stopping altogether without any other reason
- heavy bleeding
5. Uncontrolled Diabetes
There are many studies, research, and doctors who considered that diabetes is associated with an irregular period cycle.
When someone has diabetes, their body’s ability to produce insulin is completely stopped, which can lead to Hypoglycemia.
- Hypoglycemia is a condition, where a diabetes person’s blood sugar level falls too low.
- Insulin is a hormone made in our pancreas, which helps the body to maintain body sugar levels.
Some common symptoms of diabetes such as:
- Increased hunger
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urination
- More thirsty than usual days
6. Excessive Exercise
Studies have shown that high-intensity exercise is allied with menstrual dysfunction and subfertility among high-performance female athletes.
Evidence support that excessive exercise is allied with periods dysfunction and subfertility among high-performance female athletes.
Excessive exercise has been shown in oligomenorrhea and other menstrual dysfunctions, and amenorrhea (missing one or more period cycles)
“Amenorrhea” can also lead to underlying medical conditions such as:
- Low bone density, which causes osteoarthritis, more the chance of bone fracture
- Slow metabolism
- Muscles easily break down
- Decreased appetite, which leads to weight loss
In a 2018 study where smokers had a 1.4 times higher prevalence of irregular menstrual cycles than non-smokers.
In addition, Smoking and high cigarette intake were significantly associated with premature menopause based on data (15).
Smoking generates over 4 to 5 thousand chemicals when burned, the best known of which is – nicotine.
Nicotine also causes increased oxidative stress, neuronal apoptosis, DNA damage, and reactive oxygen species increase.
In addition, irregular periods were defined as having more than 7 days of variability in the length of the cycle (9).
8. Certain Foods
Also, a shortage of calcium and non-saturated fatty acids is associated with painful menstrual periods (18)
9. Obesity and underweight
According to a report in 2020, more than 2 billion adults (39% of the adult global population) were overweight.
Obesity (excessive fat content) can increase the production of estrogen, which in turn into overweight, which is also allied with menstrual disorders (22).
The research found that women who are underweight have heavy menstrual bleeding, compared to women with normal weight.
Researchers have shown that having heavy menstrual blood loss in underweight women was, compared to normal-weight women.
10. Certain medicines
Studies report that women (age 20 to 29 years old) used more medicines, of course, due to periods issues, compare to men.
Here are some common medicine, which may interact with irregular periods include:
- Olanzapine is used to treat schizophrenia
- Haloperidol is used to treat mental issues (23)
- Thyroid medicines
- Chemotherapy drugs
If you notice any discomfort, and frequent periods, after taking any medication then meet with your doctor (26).
Talk to a doctor, before taking any medicine, whether it is supplemented, or herbs, because it may interact with your condition.
11. Females Issues
Here are some common female issues, that are related to or can trigger an irregular periods cycle which includes:
Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
Ovarian insufficiency is referred to as ovarian failure.
Research shows a frequent loss of blood for about 3 months, in both healthy and non-pregnant women, to be considered to check for POI diagnosis.
POI is not a mild condition, it is estimated that around 0.3 to 1.1% of reproductive-age women face premature menopause (27).
A 2016 study reported that women with irregular menstrual cycles had over a two-fold increase in ovarian cancer risk.
Other common women’s health issues
- Asherman’s syndrome
- Hormone-containing intrauterine devices (IUDs)
12. Adrenal gland Disorder
During a study, the period cycle pattern also shows the innate endocrine health environment and irregular menstrual cycles (32).
But long and frequent menstrual cycle leads to low hemoglobin, also iron deficiency, due to loss of blood.
Irregular periods main reason is an unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and not doing any physical activity, even in young females.
Talk to your doctor, if you see any irregularity in your periods, whether it is fast, slow, or heavy, basically, it is not a serious issue.