If you have irregular periods, you’re not alone. Between 14-25% of women experience some kind of irregular periods, according to the National Institutes of Health.
For some women, irregular periods are nothing more than an inconvenience. But in some cases, they can be a sign of a gynecological problem that requires attention, especially if you’re also having trouble getting pregnant.
Lauren Rubal, MD, our fellowship-trained reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, has extensive experience determining the cause of irregular periods. She would like to share some helpful information with you about irregular periods, including some of the signs that your periods are irregular.
On average, periods arrive every 24-38 days, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). More or less often than that could be a sign of a problem, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is a hormonal condition that can cause a range of issues, including irregular periods.
Heavy bleeding means you fill pads or tampons so fast that your periods interfere with your everyday life. Light bleeding means you could conceivably go all day or longer without changing a pad or tampon.
Abnormal bleeding can have a variety of causes, including ovulation problems.
An ordinary period can last up to eight days, according to ACOG. Periods of irregular lengths can occur in women with conditions such as primary ovarian insufficiency (when your ovaries aren’t working as they should) or a malfunctioning thyroid.
It’s generally not considered normal to bleed between periods. This could be a sign of endometriosis (when tissue from inside your uterus grows in places where it shouldn’t), ovarian cysts, or other conditions.
Some cramping is normal during your period. But severe cramping may suggest a problem. Excessive menstrual pain can occur in women with conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths that occur in the uterus.
It’s important to have irregular periods evaluated, because they could be a sign of a potentially serious medical condition. What’s more, having irregular periods could make it harder for you to get pregnant.
Dr. Rubal can determine whether your irregular periods are a cause for concern. She performs a physical exam, asks you questions about your periods, and orders any necessary tests. If you require treatment, she helps you understand all of your options.
To schedule an appointment with her at our office in Newport Beach, California, call 949-415-6704, or use our online scheduling tool to make an appointment.