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Irregular Menstruation

irregular-menstruationPrevention and Treatment Issues Regarding Irregular Menstruation

A woman's menstrual cycle is as unique to her as her fingerprint. Ovulation and menstruation usually begin between the ages of 10-16 for most girls. The beginning of a woman's menstrual cycle, called menarche, is one of the most common causes of irregular menstruation because it may take up to two years for menstruation to become regular and a missed period here and there is a common occurrence. As a woman matures and ages, she eventually enters perimenopause, the beginning of menopause or the end of menstruation. Perimenopause is another of the most common causes of irregular menstruation. During the years between the beginning of menstruation and menopause, many women experience an occasional missed period, but chronic irregular menstruation or heavy painful periods comprise a disruption of the hormonal signals that regulate a woman's menstrual cycle.  These situations need to be monitored and shared with your physician.  Thankfully they are manageable and treatable.

Solutions to Painful and Heavy Periods Are Available

Recognizing the cause of a missed or delayed period is the key to treating it.

  • During pregnancy, the most widely recognized cause of missed periods, the body begins producing different levels of hormones, both for the mother's health and the health of the fetus. Once childbirth occurs, menstruation is likely to become regular again.
  • Stress is another common cause of irregular periods and often the body's reaction to stress with the cessation of the menstrual cycle is its way of saying "you have enough to deal with right now and are not able to deal with the additional strain of pregnancy." This is a reasonable reaction to stress and keeps a woman's body from being overwhelmed. Managing or eliminating the cause of the stress will usually send the body's hormones back into sync with the rest of the body.
  • Eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia that can cause a woman to be malnourished or extremely underweight can lead to interrupted menstruation. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet that provides enough nutrition and healthy weight will help the body's hormone levels return to the necessary balance for regular menstruation.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a common hormonal imbalance that can cause menstruation to stop or other symptoms that include excessive bleeding. A physician can provide the best treatment for this problem.
  • Women who are in athletic training or work out to vigorously will experience irregular periods and returning to a less active workout schedule usually alleviates the problem.
  • Some illnesses, chronic or otherwise, like thyroid disease or a pituitary tumor can interfere with the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Once these illnesses are treated the menstrual cycle returns to normal.

Premenstral syndrome also known as PMS is also a condition that affects many menstruating women, but it is difficult to diagnose due to its wide variety of signs and symptoms. Fatigue, irritability, mood swings, tender breasts, and cravings are the most common symptoms of PMS. Although the exact causes of PMS are unknown, it is often related to low levels of vitamins and minerals, eating salty foods, and consuming alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. Some of the causes of PMS link to the causes of irregular menstruation. Depending on the severity of PMS treatment can range from changes in the way you eat, changing your exercise routine, reducing stress, or medical therapies that can regulate the hormonal changes that are connected to PMS and irregular menstruation.