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What To Do If You Have Irregular Periods

What To Do If You Have Irregular Periods

What To Do If You Have an Irregular PeriodGrowing up you are taught that once you begin your period you will become part of a natural monthly rhythm all women experience. This rhythm is considered sacred. Here’s the thing with rhythm though; it is consistent, like clockwork, but often women’s menstrual cycles aren’t. They are easily bumped off track by stress, weight changes, lifestyle changes or underlying health problems and fertility-health issues. So, while we grow up thinking that our menstrual cycles will be rhythmic, when they aren’t, it can be really confusing. How do you get this natural, cyclical body process, the menstrual cycle, back on track?

As women, we have the basic understanding of the menstrual cycle down. The average cycle is around 28 – 30 days long and the average period about 5 days. This will happen month after month, from puberty through menopause. What we don’t have a basic understanding of, is how irregular menstrual periods happen and what can be done about them.

Irregular periods are one of the most asked-about subjects regarding women’s fertility health. It is high time we cover this so that if this should ever happen to you (more than likely it will happen more than once in your life), you will know how to handle it with finesse.

How to Know if You Have Irregular Periods:

  • You lose more or less blood than you are used to during your period
  • The number of days that your period lasts varies significantly from cycle to cycle
  • The number of days between each of your periods changes, or varies greatly

Types of Irregular Periods:

frequent periods
heavy menstrual bleeding
absent period (amenorrhea)
prolonged bleeding
changing menstrual period length
light menstrual bleeding
mid-cycle spotting

Causes of Irregular Periods and Possible Natural Solutions

Hormonal changes are the number one reason irregular periods happen. Many things can disrupt the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle.

Puberty

As a developing girl’s adolescent body begins menstruating, it can take some time for the body to “get the hang of” producing hormones in sync with the natural menstrual cycle rhythm. This typically regulates over time.

Possible solution: Give it time! It is best to let the body naturally figure out how to regulate the menstrual cycle on its own.

  • If irregular cycles persist, see a gynecologist to determine the cause.
  • Should you desire a natural approach to resolve the issue, it is best to see a naturopathic doctor, someone who can monitor you over time and offer natural remedies at the right dose.

Perimenopause

As hormone levels that sustain a woman’s fertility begin to decline in production (in preparation for menopause), the menstrual cycle begins to change, not only in length, but in frequency and amount of menses.

Possible solution: Pre- and peri-menopause and menopause is part of a woman’s natural aging process. It is completely normal to experience irregular menstrual cycles as a woman moves through perimenopause and menopause.

Birth Control Use

Many hormonal birth control options contain hormones that alter the menstrual cycle, so that you don’t get pregnant. Even after discontinuing the use, it can take a year or more for the menstrual cycle to regulate once again.

A note about IUDs – Many women report an absent or irregular menstrual cycle with use of this type of birth control.

Possible solution:

  • If your menstrual cycle is irregular due to current use of a birth control device or medication, the only way to see if this will resolve is to discontinue the use of the birth control method.
  • If your menstrual cycle is irregular or absent since discontinuing birth control, we have a great article on How to Balance Your Hormones After Birth Control that has tried and true tips on getting your cycle back on track.

Fertility Health Issues

There are many health issues that directly impact reproductive health that are associated with hormonal imbalance and are known to disrupt the menstrual cycle.

PCOS
Endometriosis
Uterine Fibroids
Hypothyroidism
Hyperthyroidism
Ovarian Cysts (rarely)

Click on the health issue you are experiencing to be taken to a detailed guide for natural therapies specific to that issue. The guide will help to address your menstrual health in relation to that reproductive health issue.

Stress

High levels of stress can alter normal hormonal balance and make a period become irregular or cease.

Possible solution: Create a stress reduction plan starting today! If you do not lower your stress levels, the irregular periods may persist. Click here to learn our Top 10 Mind and Body Therapies to Help With Fertility Stress.

Excessive Exercise

Too much exercise has been shown to cause an absent period, but it can also cause menstrual cycle irregularities.

Possible solution: Everyone should be exercising regularly!

  • If you are physically training for a sports event, obsessed with working out all the time, or just pushing your body to its limits with too much physical activity, an absent menstrual cycle may occur. The solution here is really simple… reduce the amount of physical activity.
  • If your cycle doesn’t regulate on its own, there are a variety of adaptogen herbs that can help to encourage regular menstrual cycles, help the body handle and recover from physical stress like exercise, and support hormonal balance.

Being Sedentary

Just as too much activity can affect menstrual health, so too can too little activity.

Possible solution: This seems obvious right, but in this case, it may take a little more than just beginning to exercise.

  • Self Fertility MassageTM is a great way to “reawaken” the reproductive organs.
  • FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2 contain herbs to promote menstrual cycle regulation.
  • Get moving too! Go for a brisk daily walk or bike ride, or try Fertility Yoga.

Understanding the right amount of exercise for optimal fertility, when both too little and too much can be detrimental, is important. To help you understand, we offer the guide Exercise and Infertility: The Goldilocks Conundrum.

Other possible causes:

  • Uterine Abnormalities – Some women are born with an abnormality of the uterus. Though this is rare, it can cause irregular periods. Possible solution: Typically, depending on what the structural issue is, surgery may be suggested.
  • Ashermans Syndrome – This rare condition is characterized by the development of severe scarring (adhesions) on the internal walls of the uterus. Possible solution: Depending on the severity, doctors will typically suggest surgical removal of the adhesions. We have encouraging tips to help the body heal uterine adhesions naturally here…

Getting the Menstrual Cycle Back on Track

Because there are many different causes of an irregular period, it can be challenging to offer a one-size-fits-all approach. That is why working with a healthcare practitioner to help you first determine the cause is best. Then, after that, we urge you to learn about natural ways to regulate the menstrual cycle. These natural options are supportive of the body’s natural function and do not contain hormones which can confuse the body even more.

3 General Guidelines to Help Keep Your Period Regular

1. See a doctor to determine what may be causing the irregular periods.

2.
Address your nutrition levels. Sometimes all it takes to bring back the menstrual cycle is to feed your body a wide variety of nutrient dense foods and to supplement with a whole food multivitamin.

3. Make sure your reproductive organs are getting adequate circulation.

For more information on the menstrual cycle or each of these issues, click here to read our complete Natural Menstrual Health Guide…

I hope this helps you see what direction to go in, depending on what is causing your period to be irregular. Should you need further guidance or have more questions, please contact us!

References

  • WebMD. Women’s Health. Treating Irregular Periods. Retrieved online from: http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/treating-irregular-periods

Dalene Barton-Schuster - Certified Herbalist, Birth Doula

Practicing natural health and herbalism for over 18 years, Dalene received her training and herbal certification under the guidance of Lynn Albers at Yarmony Mt. Herbal College in Colorado in 2000. She went on to become a Certified Birth Doula at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon in 2007. As a Birth Doula, Dalene has helped to bring many new lives in to this world. Dalene has written 280+ fertility articles and with her vast array of herbal and holistic healing knowledge has helped 1000’s of women on their journey to Motherhood.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. There could be many reasons for irregular periods. Hormonal imbalance to unbalanced diet, stress or lack of sleep, any of these can be the culprits. One such condition is Poly cystic Ovary Disease (PCOD). The hormone imbalances of PCOD can interfere with monthly ovulation, causing missed menstrual periods and leading to infertility.

  2. my wife missed her period for 5 mnths after using combination3 pills d period comes back,it missed for another a month before it comes back.now since, 3months the period has missed again,what can i do

    • Dear Abiola,

      Have you talked to your wife’s doctor about why this is happening for her? Has she had any testing? What pills is she using to help her period start (that is she does not use, it stops)? May I know how old your wife is?

  3. I started my period the first time like a year ago and now blood shows up in my panties once then it doesn’t happen again. I am kinda getting worried if there is something wrong? What do I do?😕

    • Hi Kylee!

      There can be so many reasons why the menstrual cycle and period are irregular. When a female is young and just starting menstruation, it can take time for the cycle to become regular. Diet, stress, amounts of exercise, body weight, etc. can all have an impact as well. Do you have an adult or trusted friend to whom you can talk about this with – a parent, or guardian, your doctor/nurse, a school nurse or counselor? We can not suggest trying herbs or natural therapies without support in knowing which ones might be right for you, as well as what is going on.

      I hope you are easily able to find someone to talk to who can better help you understand what’s going on with your body!

  4. Birth control is also the reason why some women having irregular periods. Thank you for sharing these!

  5. I found that selenium is a hidden solution to the hormonal issues in fertility – both male and female. We both took selenoprecise faithfully when TTC and got pregnant successfully. I have come to realize many infertile couples don’t even know that selenium could be the answer.

    • Dear Kaby,

      Congratulations and thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      We know that selenium is an important antioxidant for helping to protect the eggs and sperm from free radicals that can cause chromosomal damage to both. Selenium is also necessary for the creation of sperm. In studies, men with low sperm counts have also been found to have low levels of selenium. We also know that selenium is important for the function of several enzymes involved in thyroid function, and that healthy thyroid function in necessary for healthy fertility.

      Again, thanks!

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