The average girl starts her period at the age of 12, called Menarche. On average, a normal menstrual cycle lasts for about 21 to 35 days in women. When the cycle becomes less or more than the said number of days or a heavier or lighter than normal period is experienced, it is known as Menstrual Irregularity. It may be associated with abdominal pain or cramping.
Although it is normal to have irregularity in menstruation a few times after the first period, it takes time for hormones to balance out, and it can vary from girl to girl. Still, if it persists, one must get in touch with a health practitioner.
Menstrual irregularities can affect a patient's health; of most concern is anemia, which happens due to increased blood loss and causes symptoms like fatigue, paleness, shortness of breath, and feeling constantly tired. It may also pose a threat to fertility. It is managed by finding out and eradicating the underlying disorder.
There can be many causes of menstrual irregularity most common are discussed as follows;
Menstrual irregularities are of different types;
Following traits can increase your chances of having menstrual irregularities;
Menstrual irregularities are very common. Many women present to their doctors with either heavy bleeding or irregular cycles. According to CDC, heavy bleeding (menorrhagia) affects more than 10 million American women every year.
You may feel the following signs and symptoms:
If you have any of the above symptoms, you may need to consult your physician as it poses a threat to your general health or may point towards a serious underlying disorder. Your doctor will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination. You may be advised to undergo a few investigations like;
Blood tests; may be performed to determine hemoglobin levels, some hormone levels like Testosterone, TSH, Cortisol, Prolactin, FSH, LH, HCG, etc. Bleeding and clotting tests to rule out bleeding disorders.
Pelvic ultrasound is used to assess organs and structures within the female pelvis.
Pap smear: In this test, cells are collected from your cervix to check for cancer.
Hysteroscopy; in this procedure, a tiny camera is inserted into the uterus to help the doctor find abnormalities.
Endometrial biopsy; a sample of the uterine lining is taken and sent to the laboratory for further analysis.
The abnormal uterine bleeding can point out to the underlying disorders like;
Treatment depends on the underlying cause resulting in a problem with the menstrual cycle.
Birth control pills relieve symptoms of PMS as well as help regulate flow. In the case of hormonal disorder, one may receive hormonal replacements. Antibiotics are used to treat pelvic inflammatory diseases. Tranexamic acid is used to control heavy bleeding during menstrual bleeding. Other medications and procedures include;
If the diagnosis is made, treatment can be started for the causative disorder to be treated. If left untreated, women can have complications like anemia, tiredness, infertility, miscarriages, cancers.
Following steps should be taken to prevent yourself from suffering the issues of menstrual irregularities.
Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on May 25, 2023.
What are menstrual irregularities? | NICHD - Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (nih.gov)
Menstrual irregularity as a biological limit to early pregnancy awareness | PNAS