Irregular menstrual periods are unpredictable or constantly changing periods. This is something that can be the result of short-term issues like stress, but irregular periods can also be caused by a long-term medical problem. Most women have cycles that are between 28 and 35 days long, which means they have 10 to 13 menstrual periods each year.
If you have an exceptionally long or short cycle, but one that is predictable, you don't suffer from irregular menstrual periods. Irregular periods are unpredictable and out of the ordinary. So, what are some of the top caused of irregular menstrual periods?
- Being at the beginning of your menstruating life. That is, young teenagers often need several years to settle into a definite cycle as their hormones start to balance.
- Nearing the menopause. Are you in your late forties and have noticed that your periods are taking longer and longer to turn up, or you miss some of them? That is probably a sign you are entering the menopause soon.
- Breastfeeding. If you have recently given birth, your cycles will need a while to normalize again after pregnancy. Breastfeeding moms can have a menstrual pause for quite some time (mine was over two years, but I was breastfeeding for that whole time).
- Sudden weight gain, or sudden weight loss. Both obesity and an unhealthily low weight can lead to irregular periods. Top athletes can also notice changes in their cycles, or see that their periods come to a stop altogether. On a related note, the same can happen to women who suffer from eating disorders or malnutrition.
- Illness and stress are other possible triggers of changes in your menstrual cycle. Gynecological problems like PCOS, or Asherman's syndrome are particularly noteworthy in this respect.
- Medications and illegal drugs can cause irregular periods.
If you have noticed changes in your menstrual cycle, and you are concerned probably because you can't explain what is causing the changes then you should definitely make an appointment with your gynecologist.