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Menstrual Irregularities: Causes & Treatments

Posted on February 2, 2023 at 10:00 AM by Gabrielson Clinic

Your period usually occurs every 28 days for four to seven days, but normal menstrual cycles can range from 21 days to 35 days. Variations in how long your period lasts, how often you get your period, and period symptoms from cycle to cycle do not necessarily mean your period is irregular. 

Menstrual cycle phases vary from woman to woman and even from month to month for many women. So what is an irregular period, and how do you know if your period is irregular? 

Examples Of Irregular Periods

Irregular period symptoms can include:

  • How often your periods occur:
    • Periods that occur fewer than 21 days or more than 35 days apart
      • Bleeding and/or spotting between periods 
        • Missing three or more periods in a row
          • Periods that last longer than seven days
  • Variations in period symptoms: 
    • Bleeding that is much heavier or much lighter than usual 
      • Severely painful periods accompanied by severe cramping, nausea, or even vomiting

What Causes Irregular Periods?

There are many different causes of irregular periods, some of which can be resolved on their own and some which require specialized care from a gynecologist. 

Health Conditions

There are a wide variety of underlying health conditions that can cause painful or irregular periods. Some common examples of health conditions related to abnormal periods include:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): A bacterial infection typically caused by an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) where bacteria enters your vagina and spreads to your uterus and upper genital tract. 
  • Hormonal Disorders: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid gland disorders, pituitary gland disorders, etc.
  • Bleeding Disorders & Blood Clotting Disorders
  • Uterine Cancer & Ovarian Cancer

Lifestyle Factors

A wide range of individual patient factors can make it normal to miss a period or experience other menstrual abnormalities. 

  • Hormonal Birth Control
  • Certain Prescription Medications
  • High-Stress Levels
  • Significant Changes In Weight

Diagnosing Irregular Periods

Regardless of the symptoms and potential causes of abnormal periods, it’s crucial to visit an OB/GYN clinic to discuss your concerns with a specialist. Your OB/GYN will ask a series of questions about your unique circumstances and perform a routine pelvic exam. Other gynecology diagnosis tools can include:

  • Hysteroscopy: This diagnostic tool utilizes a hysteroscope, which is a small, slender telescope that transmits light to view the inside of the uterus and detect any potential abnormalities. 
  • Pelvic Ultrasound: An ultrasound can detect uterine fibroids, polyps, ovarian cysts, and other potential causes of period fluctuations.

Treatments For Irregular Periods

Menstrual irregularity treatments vary depending on the diagnosis and individual patient factors. 

Nonsurgical Treatments

There are many ways to treat irregular periods without the need for a surgical procedure. Common treatments include:

  • Hormonal Birth Control: Hormonal birth control options can help regulate your hormones and make your cycle more predictable. 
  • Prescription Medications: There are a variety of medications that can be prescribed to reduce painful periods, control heavy bleeding, and/or antibiotics to treat menstrual irregularities caused by an infection. 
  • Hormone Therapy: Hormone replacement therapy can help replace hormones that have dropped during perimenopause, offering a more comfortable and effective solution to bothersome symptoms beyond just mensural irregularities. 

Surgical Treatments

In extreme cases, a hysterectomy may be performed, but typically a quick one-time outpatient procedure can alleviate menstrual irregularities. At The Gabrielson Clinic for Women, we perform a number of ablation procedure options.

  • NovaSure Endometrial Ablation: During this procedure, the doctor inserts a small wand with a triangle-shaped net that expands, covering the size and shape of the uterus. Once expanded, the netting sends radiofrequency energy for around 90 seconds, removing the uterine lining. Once complete, the doctor will remove the wand, net, and uterine lining.
  • Hydrothermal Ablation: This outpatient procedure uses heated saline to treat the uterine lining.

Stop Suffering From Irregular Periods With Compassionate, Personalized Women’s Health Services

With an experienced women’s healthcare team backed by advanced tools and technology, our women’s clinic is here to help you find relief from painful and irregular periods. From discussing your concerns to accurate diagnosis to creating a customized treatment plan, we’re here for you every step of the way. 

Give Your Body The Care & Attention It Deserves

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