Periods vary widely from woman to woman. Some periods are punctual, some are unpredictable. On average, a woman gets her period every 21 to 35 days. A period usually lasts about three to five days. Irregular periods may require treatment.
Irregular periods are common during puberty or just before the menopause and in these cases treatment is usually not necessary.
You should consult your gynaecologist if you are facing any of the following problems.
- You have heavy menstruation where you need to change your sanitary pad very often (every two hours or more frequently) or if you pass clots
- If you have severe pain during your periods
- If your menstruation lasts more than a week
- There are fewer than three weeks between the start of one period and the next
- If they are more than five weeks apart
- You have bleeding or spotting between periods
- You are bleeding after sex
- If you are trying for a baby or you are having problems conceiving a baby due to an unpredictable menstrual cycle
- If you have acne or abnormal hair growth or abnormal weight gain along with irregular cycles
Many factors can affect your cycle - your lifestyle, exercise, body weight, stress, underlying medical conditions (which could be related to your ovaries, uterus, thyroid or any other endocrine gland), medications, contraceptive methods you use etc.)
Your gynaecologist will be able to make a proper diagnosis. A proper medical history and examination is needed. She might also suggest a scan or blood tests based on the history and examination.
Any necessary treatment will depend on the reason for your irregular periods and there are effective treatments available.
Dr Razia Sharafudeen
MBBS, DNB, MRCOG(UK), F.MAS, Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine and IVF