A menstrual cycle is termed as irregular when the normal 28 days +/- 7 days cycle is disrupted.
Menstrual cycles are called irregular if: –
- the duration between cycle changes
- if the amount of blood flow is too less or too much as compared to the normal flow – if the number of days for which the period lasts are too long or too few.
Examples of menstrual problems include: –
- Periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart
- Missing three or more periods in a row
- Menstrual flow that is much heavier or lighter than usual
- Periods that last longer than seven days
- Periods that are accompanied by pain, cramping, nausea or vomiting
- Bleeding or spotting that happens between periods, after menopause or following sex
Menstrual cycle may be affected by numerous conditions. Hormonal imbalances are usually the commonest reason for irregular menses. Changes in oestrogen and progesterone can lead to fluctuations in the regular menstrual periods. Common conditions that can disturb menstrual cycle are:
- Thyroid disorders
- Intrauterine device
- Contraceptive pills
- Morbid obesity
- Uterine fibroids
- Uterine adhesions
- Pregnancy and lactation
- Ovarian cyst
- Certain medications eg Blood Thinners
Diagnosis is usually made by conducting blood investigations including hormonal screening along with some radiological tests.
Treatment primarily depends on the exact cause of the disease. Hormonal replacement therapy, change of contraceptive pills, or certain surgical procedures might be the treatment of choice depending upon the diagnosis.