The irregular menstrual cycle is a complicated issue that many women experience at any time. A normal menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, plus or minus seven days. If the menstrual bleeding occurs more frequently than every 21 days or lasts longer than 8 days, this is considered an irregular menstrual cycle. Also, missed, early, or late periods are considered signs of an irregular cycle. The most common reasons for irregular periods are:
1. Stress: Stress is the most common cause of irregular period. When you are under high-stress levels, your body can start to conserve energy by preventing ovulation. Experiencing a traumatic event suddenly causes the adrenals to work overtime, which can disrupt the production of estrogen and progesterone, two sex hormones. When you don’t have much estrogen, you are unable to properly build up the uterine lining, thus you don’t get your period.
2. Diet: The types of food you eat can cause irregular periods. If you are eating a diet that is rich in unhealthy carbs or if you have gained weight, your body will produce varying levels of certain hormones, shifting when you ovulate. Also, a low-calorie diet can also result in nutrient deficiencies and lowered body fat percentages that may contribute to irregular periods.
3. Thyroid Disorder: Thyroid disorders may be one of the leading causes of missed periods. The thyroid gland, often called a “master gland” and considered a crucial controller of the endocrine system, produces hormones that maintain the body’s metabolism and impacts many sex hormones. Thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can cause widespread symptoms like changes in estrogen and cortisol hormones and missed periods.
4. The Birth Control Pill: Some women experience missed or irregular periods for a long time when they stop using birth control pill. This happens because a woman’s natural menstrual cycle is composed of rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone, but taking birth control pills keep estrogen at sufficiently high levels, which fools the body into thinking it’s pregnant and results in irregular periods. The body may take many months or even years to correct this and return to homeostasis.
5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): It occurs when very small cysts develop in the ovaries. The common symptoms of PCOS are irregular or light periods or not periods at all. This happens because, in women with PCOS, ovulation may not take place as often as normal. The production of hormones may also be unbalanced, and you could have higher levels of testosterone than normal.