Sometimes, your periods can surprise you, showing up when you’re sure it’s not the right time or shortening or lengthening its stay seemingly on a whim. The time between your periods may change, your period may last a different number of days than normal, or you may lose either less or more blood than usual. These pattern changes are caused by a variety of issues and external factors.
Certain hormonal changes or disruptions can cause unusual patterns in length, timing, and flow for your periods. Your body will sometimes shift the level of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, affecting the period pattern. This is common in girls during the puberty process and women reaching menopause.
While birth control helps some women regulate their menstrual cycle, for others, it can certain types of birth control can cause irregularity. When using methods such as Nexplanon or an IUD, the menstrual cycle disrupts or changes. Talk to a doctor if you experience irregular patterns after three months of birth control use. By that time, your body should have adjusted to the medication. If it hasn’t, you may need another type of birth control.
A large amount of people with menstrual disruptions and irregularities also happen to have thyroid issues. A low-functioning thyroid, or hypothyroidism, will produce longer and heavier periods, as well as other symptoms like cramping. High levels of thyroid hormones, however, lead to shorter and lighter periods, as well as symptoms like anxiety, heart palpitations, and dramatic weight loss.
Performing high amounts of exercise can interfere with your menstruation, as can sudden weight changes. Women who participate in intensive exercise routines or training can develop a condition known as amenorrhea, which limits or stops periods. Decreasing exercise and increasing your calories can restore your menstruation cycle. If you’ve noticed a weight gain or loss, it could also affect your cycle.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition where the hormones in your body are out of balance, usually due to higher levels of androgens, such as testosterone. A common symptom of PCOS is irregular menstrual cycles, but other symptoms also include acne, excess body and facial hair, development of cysts, and mood swings. Doctors can treat PCOS by restoring the body’s hormone levels using oral contraceptives, metformin, or other treatments that achieve the same goal.
If you require additional advice regarding your abnormal period pattern or have any other questions or concerns about your periods, contact us today to schedule an appointment.