When are my periods not normal?

On average, the menstrual cycle occurs every 21-35 days. Most commonly, it occurs every 28 days. Each period lasts from two to seven days. In some cases, periods can be an indicator of serious health problems that may pose a threat to one’s sexual and reproductive health. One must immediately consult a doctor when they experience the following:

  1. Long periods: Periods last for more than 8 days
  2. Heavy Periods: When pads have to be changed very frequently. 
  3. Infrequent periods: When the duration between two periods is more than five weeks, whereas the average cycle is four weeks
  4. Spotting: When one sees spots of blood now and then in between periods

The health conditions that might be the reason behind your irregular periods are listed below:

  1. Uterine Fibroids: Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow on the outer wall of the uterus. Their size can range from 1mm to more than 20mm. Fibroids are responsible for causing heavy bleeding accompanied by excessive pain during menstruation.
  2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is associated with irregular periods, prolonged periods or no periods at all. Some of the causes include the body producing a high level of androgen, or the body producing high levels of insulin. Other symptoms of PCOS are- excessive growth of hair on the body and weight gain. 
  3. Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a condition when the lining of the endometrial tissue grows in places other than the uterus, including ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina or the lower digestive tract. This condition is accompanied by severe menstrual cramps and excessive menstrual bleeding.
  4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Women with STD, particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia are more at risk of developing PID. This disease affects a woman’s reproductive system, damaging the organs and causing infertility. Some of the symptoms are pain, cramping and spotting between periods. 
  5. Hypothyroidism/ Hyperthyroidism: The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the neck which produces hormones responsible for the body’s growth and metabolism. When the gland produces too much or too little hormones, it affects the menstrual cycle.

Abnormal menstruation can be a symptom of health issues which may turn serious if left unchecked. Therefore it is very important for one to consult with the doctor as soon as possible to ensure early treatment. 

When is it normal to have irregular periods?

  1. Pregnancy: A sexually active woman must take a pregnancy test if she misses her periods.
  2. Birth Control: Birth control pills can affect the duration and frequency of periods. Hormonal IUD may have an effect where the periods are either light or absent.
  3. Menopause: Irregular periods accompanied by body pain, weight gain and mood swings are normal among women between the ages of 40-50. Doctors suggest that women should consult the doctor during this period for body check up and medication.


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