Every woman has experienced the stress of a period having not shown up! Irregular periods mean that your period is arriving a little too early or late as compared to your usual cycle. There are many underlying factors that contribute to the occurrence of irregular periods and while most of the times there is nothing to stress over, you should know when it is time to see a doctor.
If you experience irregularities in your menstrual cycle, then here are all the basics you need to know:
What is the difference between an irregular and a regular period?
A regular menstrual cycle lasts for 28 days, with the first day being the day your menstrual bleeding starts. Ideally, your next period should return on the 28th day. It is normal to have a delay or early onset of 2–4 days. However, if your dates fluctuate more than the normal range every month, these are called irregular periods. Some women experience missed periods or a gap of several months between subsequent periods. This is a concern worth being checked out by a gynecologist.
What can cause an irregular period?
Medications: The menstrual cycle runs predominantly on the functioning of hormones like progesterone, estrogen, and FSH. Therefore, any hormonal disturbance can cause a delay in periods. If you are on any kind of medication, then it could be a contributing factor. There is nothing to worry about it, and if at all the medications are prolonged, your body will get used to the changes and your biological clock will reset itself. Your doctor might change or stop the medication if needed.
Birth control pills: Birth control pills contain doses of pregnancy preventing hormones and can cause your period to be early or delayed.
When should you be worried?
If you are trying to conceive then irregular periods can make things harder for you. In such cases you must consult your doctor.
If you are taking birth control pills, then it is better to consult your doctor so that you can be familiar with the changes which may come along due to hormonal manipulation.
Other than these, it is perfectly normal to have an irregular periods 2-4 times a year because there are factors like stress and exercise which often lead to irregularity.