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my period is so irregular - what could be going on?

The 101's

Cycles

5th May 2022

first up: it’s time to normalise ‘irregular’ periods bc the truth is most people don’t get their period bang on time each cycle (if you’re one of the lucky few - we salute you). so, we did a bit of research to see what factors could potentially be causing your period to act a lil rogue. quick note: we’re never here to diagnose or replace professional medical advice, so if you think something may be amiss - please, please check in with your doctor!

first thing’s first: what’s considered irregular?

great question. every cycle marches to the beat of its own drum - so it’s difficult to say what’s regular or not - but generally speaking, doctors consider a period irregular if the cycle is longer than 35 days, shorter than 21 days, or if the length of each cycle varies by more than 7-9 days each time.

what can cause an irregular period?

a hormone imbalance

surprise, surprise: a hormonal imbalance can affect virtually every physiological process in the body. having hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) can lead to longer, heavier periods as your body isn’t producing enough hormones to properly regulate your cycle. on the flip side, hypothyroidism (an overactive thyroid) can lead to shorter, lighter periods as your body is pumping out an excess amount of hormones. 

too much stress 

when the body undergoes a lot of stress, it releases adrenaline and cortisol as a response which can interfere with the sex hormones that regulate menstruation. if you’re trying to pinpoint the cause of your cycle’s irregularity, it’s helpful to keep a mood journal to see if stress could be to blame.

hot tip: our self-care bundles were made to deliver a dose of ease throughout the rough patches of your cycle. 

rapid weight loss

if you’ve experienced an excessive amount of weight loss in a short period of time, you could be at risk for hypothalamic amenorrhea - a condition where your period is suppressed due to an oestrogen deficiency. while this condition is reversible with medication and diet changes, it’s important to consult your doctor to find a treatment plan that best suits your needs while minimising stress on your body.  

if you or someone you know is struggling from an eating disorder, Beat UK is an incredible organisation that offers community support, helplines and resources for those in need. 

uterine fibroids

fibroids are growths that develop on the uterine wall and often cause heavy, irregular bleeding that may last longer than 8 days. symptoms can vary depending on the exact size and location of the fibroids, but if you’ve been experiencing heavy bleeding alongside persistent weakness, fatigue, painful cramps and/or excessive back pain, schedule an appointment with your gynaecologist to see what could be the cause.  

birth control pills

not all birth control is created equal, so the effects it may have on your cycle are varied. some birth control pills cause the uterine lining to thin, which prevents fertilised eggs from implanting. others cause the cervical mucus to thicken, which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. and yet others prevent ovulation altogether (in other words: no periods). every body reacts differently to birth control, so the effects are hard to predict - but know that it’s normal to miss periods or have drastically lighter periods whilst on the pill. again: check in with your doctor to be sure everything is running smoothly.

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