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A normal menstrual cycle varies from the woman to woman. What is considered normal or regular must be looked at in terms of one’s unique experiences. Most owomen have between eleven or thirteen periods during the year.

Menstrual cycle and menopause

Irregular or missed periods usually occur in the early or late menstrual years. It takes a couple of years for body to balance the hormones that control menstrual cycle. However, when woman starts to approach menopause or perimenopause, the periods may become irregular. Menopause occurs when it has been a year after a woman has had her last menstrual period.


The most common cause of a missed period is a pregnancy. Home pregnancy tests are the first step to determine if one is pregnant or not. If the test shows negative result, one should consider many other possible causes including: excessive weight loss or gain, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, increased exercise, emotional stress, illness, travel, medications or contraceptive birth control methods, hormonal problems, illegal drug use, problems with pelvic organs or barest-feeding.

It is possible that a woman becomes pregnant even if she’s not menstruating yet. Birth control methods should be used always if a person doesn’t want to become pregnant. It is the only safe method of pregnancy management.

Premature ovarian failure

Premature ovarian failure is a condition in which woman stops menstruating before the age of 40, due to the loss of function of the ovaries. Causes of premature ovarian failure may come from surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy to the abdomen or pelvis. This condition affects around 1% of population or 1-4% of the female population in the United States.

Other diseases

Irritable bowel syndrome, tuberculosis, liver disease and diabetes may cause irregular periods in some rare cases. Many other symptoms, besides menstrual irregularities, are present in patients suffering from these diseases.

Is it normal to have irregular periods?

Every woman's menstrual cycle is different. Depending on the body or the hormones women may get periods every 20 to 35 days. Keeping a chart and counting the numbers between the each period may help woman to determine the nature of her own cycle. I a period is skipped, woman should try to relax and restore her emotional and physical balance. Unless she’s pregnant, woman’s cycle will most probably get back to normal fallowing month. It is advisable to check all of the possible symptoms and determine if the professional help is needed.

Causes of irregular periods are: amenorrhea, anorexia, brain tumor, bulimia, ectopic pregnancy, menopause, obesity, polycystic ovarian syndrome, premature ovarian failure, prolactinoma, sexually transmitted diseases, and stress.

Other causes may include: disorders of the pelvic organs, extreme malnutrition, habitual strenuous exercise, excessive tobacco smoking, hormonal imbalance, medications, pituitary tumors, rapid weight loss or gain, and perimenopause.

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