Contributed by – Healthians team
No matter how much we women hate periods, a delay of even a day can cause panic. We want them to come around every month with clockwork precision so that we can be sure that everything is fine. But, unfortunately, irregular periods is such a common issue that most of us face it at some point in our lives. Missing three periods in a row, periods occurring less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart or menstrual flow getting unusually heavier or lighter are some obvious symptoms of irregular periods. There could be many reasons behind irregular menstruation. Therefore, here we will first discuss some of the most common causes of irregular periods and later we will see some available treatments and home remedies to treat them.
Causes of irregular periods
You must be knowing this one – if you miss your period and you’ve had intercourse recently, then pregnancy could be a possible cause. You can lookout for early pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, nausea, fatigue, and breast tenderness. To confirm, you can take a pregnancy test at home or see your doctor.
Birth control pills
Most birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones. If you use them irregularly, your menstrual cycle can be impacted and as a result, you could face irregular periods. After discontinuation of these pills, you may miss your periods for up to six months.
The transition phase before your enter menopause is called perimenopause. Usually, it begins in the 40s but can occur earlier as well. During this phase, estrogen levels keep fluctuating which can cause your menstrual cycle to get shorter or longer. Along with irregular menses, other symptoms of perimenopause are hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, difficulty sleeping, and vaginal dryness.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Irregular periods are the most common sign of PCOS. PCOS can also cause infertility, excess facial and body hair, male pattern baldness, and obesity. Because of PCOS, you may also be at a high risk of developing health issues like thyroid and diabetes. Hence, if you suspect that you might have it, it is a good idea to get tested for PCOS.
Thyroid issues are another common cause of irregular periods. While hypothyroidism can cause longer and heavier periods, hyperthyroidism causes lighter and shorter periods. Swelling at the base of your neck is a common sign of thyroid disorder. You can get tested for thyroid disorder here and confirm whether you have it or not.
[Also read: 6 lifestyle tips for better thyroid management]
Sudden weight gain or weight loss
It’s known that obesity can cause menstrual irregularities. Sudden weight gain or weight loss can also impact your period cycle. These weight shifts can interfere with your periods because they impact your hormone production and use. Besides, weight gain and irregular periods are also a sign of PCOS and thyroid disorders which, as already discussed above, also cause irregular periods.
[Also read: Obesity myths – Unveiling the truth]
Stress is also another factor that can greatly impact your menstrual cycle. It can change how the part of the brain which controls the hormones work. However, it’s a temporary situation. Your periods should return to normal after your stress levels decrease. You can get a stress test to know your condition better.
Fibroids are muscular tumors that develop in the wall of the uterus. Most of them are noncancerous and can vary in size. But they can cause painful periods and heavy flow which may even lead to anemia. Signs of fibroids to look out for are pelvic pain, lower back pain, pain in your legs, and pain during sex.
Endometriosis is a condition wherein the tissue that normally lines your uterus grows outside the uterus. It can cause very painful menstrual cramps along with heavy bleeding, prolonged periods, and bleeding between periods.
Treatments and home remedies for irregular periods
Your first step towards treating irregular periods should be to find the root cause. You should get tested for thyroid, PCOS, and any other health issues that you think could be the possible cause. Treating those illnesses and disorders will definitely bring your menstrual cycle back on track. Otherwise, here are some home remedies for irregular periods.
Practice Yoga and meditation – Since stress is a cause of irregular periods, practicing yoga and meditation may help. They have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body which can help bring your hormones in balance.
Maintain a healthy weight – Maintaining a healthy weight may help in regulating periods. You should talk with your doctor to determine your target weight and come up with weight gain or weight loss strategy.
Exercise regularly – Benefits of exercise are many. One of them being that it can help your periods by reaching or maintaining a healthy weight. It is also recommended as a treatment plan for PCOS.
Eat pineapple – Pineapple contains an enzyme that may soften the lining of the uterus and regular your periods. It also has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
Cinnamon – Cinnamon is found to be effective in regulating the menstrual cycle. It is also an effective treatment option for PCOS. You can add one tablespoon of powdered cinnamon to a glass of warm milk and drink it.
Turmeric – Turmeric is one of the best medicinal herbs which is quite warming as well. It can help balance your hormones and regulate your periods. It’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties might also provide relief from period pains.