Menstruation is a monthly cycle of normal bleeding through the vagina. Your body prepares itself for conception, and when it doesn’t happen, the uterus sheds off its lining. These tissues, along with blood, pass out of the vagina. 

This cycle lasts for 3–7 days every month, approximately every 24–38 days. But every woman has a different physiology, including their menstruation process. For some women, these cycles are regular, as if they were set on an alarm system, while others experience unpredictable periods. Irregular periods are associated with varying stretches between periods; there is more or less bleeding than usual, or your cycle duration alters.

What are the causes of infrequent periods?

The imbalance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone disturbs the pattern of the menstrual cycle. This is why girls going through puberty and women approaching menopause face irregularities in their periods.

Other common causes include extensive exercise, polycystic ovary syndrome, stressful situations, pregnancy, breastfeeding, birth control pills or other medications, intrauterine devices, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, polyps on the uterine lining, and uterine fibroids.

Very rarely, women are found to experience infrequent periods in the case of Asherman syndrome, a condition in which there is the adhesion of the lining of the uterus.

How can you treat irregular periods?

No treatment is required for menstrual irregularities, but you do need to manage the causes that are disturbing your cycles.

PCOs and thyroid issues are among the most common causes of infrequent periods, so you must fix these conditions to restore your hormonal balance. In the case of polycystic ovaries, you need to take hormonal therapy to initiate a period, while thyroid hormones are recommended to control your thyroid issues.

Weight loss plays a significant role in balancing your hormones. Weight gain makes ovulation harder, so it is essential to shedding extra pounds. But a sudden drop in too much weight also disrupts your period cycle.

Doctors might suggest you change your birth control method if you have experienced irregularity for 3 months. IUDs, Depo-Provera, and Nexplanon, are known to interfere with your cycle.

If you exercise too much, then you need to make it less. Either cut down the hours or reduce the intensity. Counseling or rehabilitation in cases of stress helps a lot.

What is hormone therapy?

Irregular periods,Causes of menstrual cycle irregularities,Treatment options for irregular periodsAs discussed earlier, irregular menstruation is due to an imbalance or lack of hormones in your body.

Doctors often prescribe oral contraceptives(birth control pills) that contain the hormones estrogen and progesterone to control the infrequency of periods. Progestin is a hormonal medicine that helps women get periods.

Can surgery be an option for treatment?

Sometimes, when periods get irregular due to structural crises in the uterus or fallopian tubes, or if you have a severe scar in the reproductive tract, your doctor might opt for surgical intervention. Surgery is especially required if you are planning to get pregnant in the future.

When should you seek a professional’s help?

Consult your doctor if your menstrual pattern changes. The doctor might perform tests or examine them physically to rule out pregnancy or any other health problem.

You should call a doctor if you miss three or more periods, your cycle returns every 21 days or gets delayed for more than 35 days, bleeding is heavier than usual, your cycle has more than 7 days, or you are experiencing painful periods.

Irregularities in the physiological function of your body indicate an ongoing issue that needs to be managed. It could be insignificant or severe enough to call for treatment right away. Keep track of your cycles and visit a doctor if the changes in pattern are drastic.