Riverwalk OBGYN

Irregular Periods

05.14.24 in Gynecology

Irregular Periods

Irregular Periods | Riverwalk OB/GYN San Antonio

After having regular periods for decades, it can be worrisome to all of a sudden start having irregular periods. If you are nowhere near menopause, and you’re not pregnant, what’s going on? Luckily, irregular periods are not always a sign of a problem. Continue reading to learn more about the causes and when to see a doctor.

Why is My Period Late?

An egg is released from one of your ovaries during ovulation during a normal menstrual cycle. If the egg is not fertilized by a sperm, then changing hormone levels send your body a signal to shed the blood and tissues that line your uterus.

In general, this bleeding lasts for about 5 days, then the monthly cycle repeats itself. But some women have what is called abnormal uterine bleeding, which can happen for a variety of reasons. For example, lifestyle factors, stress, or more serious underlying medical conditions.

What is an Irregular Period?

An irregular period is when the length of your menstrual cycle unexpectedly falls outside of your regular range. It can include abnormal uterine bleeding, such as:

  • Spotting between periods
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Menstrual bleeding that last longer than normal
  • Bleeding after you’ve reached menopause
  • Heavy bleeding during your period

Many women have a regular menstrual cycle after puberty. And it’s normal for the cycle to vary by a few days each time. In fact, between 9 and 14% of women periods are not regular between their first period and menopause.

Reasons for a Late Period

There are a number of reasons why you may have a late or missed period, ranging from stress to more serious medical conditions. Common causes can include the below.

  • Medications Certain medications like antipsychotics and anti-epileptics can cause abnormal periods.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS is caused by imbalanced sex hormones, which can disrupt regular menstruation.
  • Eating disorders. Eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can cause missed periods. This is because your body is not producing and circulating enough hormones to control your menstrual cycle.
  • Stress. Stress hormones can affect menstruation and prolonged stress can cause your period to be delayed or for you to skip it entirely.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, it can cause abnormal periods because the interaction between your blood sugar levels and hormones can disrupt your menstrual cycle.

Moreover, when you first begin menstruating, it may take some time time before your period becomes regular. Your period may become irregular up to 8 years before menopause.

What to Do When Periods are Late

If you experience any of the following symptoms, it may be time to see your doctor:

  • Your period last more than a week
  • You bleed between periods
  • Your period becomes unusually heavy
  • You have a period more often than ever 21 days
  • Your periods are extremely painful
  • You haven’t had a period for 90 days
  • Your period suddenly becomes irregular
  • You have a period less often than every 35 days

Riverwalk OB/GYN gynecologists will be able to determine the cause of your periods not being regular, and will develop the best treatment plan for you.

Request an Appointment at Riverwalk OBGYN in San Antonio

Book online or call (210) 402-6022 to get help for irregular periods.

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