What Causes Abnormal Periods? 6 Possible Reasons Why
If you are like most women in Australia, you know your period days and can calculate how long it will take and the number of tampons or pads you’ll need. Some women also want to know when they can wear their ordinary clothes without a pad or tampon and still get away with it, depending on the flow. The case of any abnormal periods will make this harder to determine.
Although it is not unusual to have an abnormal period once in a while, this experience can be undeniably stressful. Knowing what is going on in your body during this time can help, so keep reading to learn more.
What’s an abnormal period cycle?
When you have an abnormal period, it means that it is different from the typical period other women experience. However, this issue has a different meaning for different people. A normal menstrual cycle is designed to last between 21 to 35 days, and on average, you may bleed or spot for 3 to 7 days. Each woman is meant to have similar cycles each month, so if you usually get your menstrual bleeding for three days and have two days for spot, then that is normal for you. In case something changes (maybe you get one day of spotting and no bleeding), then it’s safe to say that you had an abnormal cycle.
When you have an abnormal cycle, your period in days may be shorter or longer than usual. You may also get the periods earlier or later than expected. The bleeding flow may also change depending on the cause of the abnormal cycle. Some women in Australia also unexpectedly experience bleeding between their periods, while others have more cramping than they usually do. So to determine if your period is normal or abnormal, you will need to pay attention to everything, including how you feel and what the experience is like.
Six possible causes for an abnormal period
There are several reasons why your menstrual bleeding may differ from what you are accustomed to. Most of these causes relate to minor changes in the daily routine, while others are a sign of a more severe issue that needs medical attention. Some of these causes are outlined below.
If you’re sexually active and notice that your periods are off, you should confirm if you are already pregnant. Whether you are trying to conceive, have a medical condition, are on birth control, or haven’t experienced any early pregnancy symptoms, don’t just assume that your period is off or late. Take a test to confirm if you’re pregnant before considering other causes of abnormal periods.
Too much stress
When stress wreaks havoc on your body, the stress hormones the body will produce may cause your cycle to delay or stop. Stress can be caused by ordinary issues such as an upcoming final exam, financial challenge, a sick loved one, or death in the family. Due to the stress, your periods may become abnormal in terms of length and timing. Sometimes you may skip the period for a month or two, depending on the situation.
Changing your workout routine
Exercise helps your body stay in shape and is the key to keeping your body healthy. However, switching to a new exercise routine can sometimes cause your periods to delay or skipped. This is especially true if you have adopted an intense workout routine. A rapid or significant weight loss likely accompanies abnormal menstrual cycles caused by increased physical activity. After all, regular periods are tied to the body’s fats, so you may lose your periods or together if you don’t have enough of it.
Taking new medication
Anything you consume can change your menstrual cycle, including over-the-counter or prescription medication. This is especially the case if the drugs have the capability to alter hormones like birth control. Today, most women use or take birth control for various reasons other than preventing pregnancy. The medications can also be taken for reasons that don’t relate to their reproductive health, but this does not mean that they will not have an effect.
For instance, if you take drugs to treat a condition that’s causing abnormal periods, and the treatment regulates your cycle, these changes may feel unnatural to you. So, before you take any medication, confirm with your doctor or reproductive health care professional if it can affect your menstrual cycle.
Your sleeping schedule can cause abnormal periods
Your sleep pattern can alter your menstrual cycle once it is disrupted. Usually, sleep patterns determine how your hormones are regulated, so the hormones will also change when you change your resting patterns. This alone is enough to cause a menstrual cycle disruption. In most cases, the interruption does not last very long once you find another stable routine. However, the problem may continue if you frequently change your sleep pattern.
If you are sick, your mental and physical well-being changes in many ways. One of the things that will be affected is your menstrual cycle. Some of the drugs you may take can alter your periods. For example, thyroid disease can cause a hormone malfunction, leading to an abnormal menstrual cycle. But when the condition is treated and managed effectively, your periods will stabilise.
When to contact a doctor
If your period seems off or weird, you should first take a pregnancy test. If you get negative results, you should wait to see how the next cycle goes. If the other period also seems or feels off, make an appointment with your midwife or doctor.
This will allow them to perform a thorough examination to determine what is causing the irregularities in your periods and answer any questions you may have regarding your menstrual cycle. So, when is the best time to see your midwife or doctor? There are various situations where you might need help from a medical expert:
- If the menstrual cycle length is erratic.
- If you are under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, or you’re over 35 and haven’t managed to conceive for about six months of trying.
- If you would like to conceive, your cycle length is less than 25 days.
Diagnosis of Abnormal Periods
The doctor will conduct a comprehensive exam and learn your medical history when you show up for a medical check-up. One of the primary things they might ask is when you started getting your periods, and this information will determine what tests are helpful or necessary.
Usually, the tests take different forms, but it often begins with blood work. The healthcare provider may opt to conduct lab tests to measure your hormones and diagnose conditions that may cause menstrual irregularities. You may also be asked to take a vaginal exam, which entails taking swabs to test for different kinds of infections that may be altering the cycle and identify any structural problems. The physician may also order a vaginal ultrasound to screen fibroids and cysts in the uterus or on the ovaries. You might also take an endometrial biopsy, where a tiny sample is taken from the uterus lining. This test is slightly uncomfortable compared to regular pelvic exams.
Abnormal periods and pregnancy
If you notice that you have skipped a period or it’s late, pregnancy may be the primary reason. However, this isn’t always the reason. For instance, a woman who takes birth control pills religiously and hasn’t missed a dose or use medication that changes the birth control status can still have a short or lighter period. A build-up likely causes an irregular period in the uterine lining (endometrium) in such a situation.
Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
A pregnant woman can also experience bleeding and assume that it’s their period. This is called implantation bleeding and occurs when the fertilised egg is implanted into the uterus lining. In most cases, implantation bleeding appears like spotting, and that’s why many women get confused, thinking they had a light period.
It’s also possible to bleed during pregnancy due to hormonal issues, an underlying illness that requires treatment, ectopic pregnancy, or an impending miscarriage.
Abnormal Periods Conclusion
Taking the time to track your periods is ideal for knowing when the period is shorter or longer, bleeding is lighter or heavier, or the period doesn’t occur at all. All these are signs that you may have abnormal periods. Consider working with your doctor if you have experienced this for a while. You’ll get tested and treated to restore your periods to normalcy.