‘Irregular Periods’ is a common health condition faced by most women at some point of time in their menstrual life cycle. Girls may experience irregular periods at the time when menstruation is just about insetting and settling in, this time is called the menarche; others may experience it at any stage due to various conditions, such as; hormonal imbalance, PCOS, complete lack of exercise, or too much of it, irregular diet; smoking; drugs; infertility; inflammatory bowel disease; stress and so on. Meaning, irregular periods don’t necessarily mean the woman is experiencing or nearing menopause. There can be many reasons for it and most can be resolved with medical intervention on time. The latest addition to causes for irregular periods also includes STD, i.e. sexually transmitted diseases. Which should wake all women up and they should seek medical attention if they see any irregularity in their periods beyond two months.
In most cases irregular periods don’t point at anything life threatening. But some conditions, however rare they might be, if ignored can result in disease as serous as ovarian cancer. Therefore it is very important that women are encouraged to seek medical advice if they notice anything irregular about their periods, like timing, blood flow, other symptoms accompanying it like headache, nausea, vomiting, fever etc. Definition of regular periods is different for each woman depending on her metabolism, overall health, genes, lifestyle she leads, and so on. Therefore to say 28 days cycle should be considered sacrosanct for all women is slightly out of sync. Some women may get their periods every 24 days while for some a menstrual cycle may comprise 35 days. And both cases are accepted normal. Actually anything between 20-35 days is considered normal.
Likewise periods last anywhere between 3-7 days and again for each woman it is different and depends on her body and health. Routine flow of blood is also an individual thing. Some women bleed heavily during night; some on second day and so on. The only constant is that by and large all women in say around three years of their getting their periods settle down to a fixed pattern. Their number of days cycle gets fixed; number of days that they will get periods also gets fixed (with one day’s variation now and then considered normal); she will also have a fair idea about her heavy and light flow days etc. Now anything other than her set pattern will be considered abnormal for her. A woman who generally gets her periods every 29 days for three and a half to four days; two days heavy rest light, if her periods start coming every 18-20 days and last 6-7 days and this goes on for two months and happens in the third month too, it’s a good enough reason to take an appointment with the doctor.
When a woman visits doctor with her irregular period problem, the doc may ask her a few questions and take her through a pelvic examination, ultra sound, or Sonography if required, may ask her to do a complete blood count and a few other tests as per requirement and based on those reports and diagnoses, prescribe a course of medicines to resolve the issue. In most cases a course of medication with instructions to re-align one’s lifestyle may be advised. Inclusion of exercise, relaxation etc may be advised if they are causing hormonal imbalance which is causing her to get irregular periods. Hormonal contraceptives and hormonal supplements may also have to be advised if her condition is serious and beyond that regular medicinal course can cure.
If doctor diagnoses the woman as menopausal medication will accordingly be decided. Average age of menopause in a woman is around 51 years. But again it’s a body thing and each woman may hit the wall at a different age.
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