Irregular menstrual periods have a medical name, Oligomenorrhea. Most women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year, but this is the norm and not necessarily what happens to you.
In the teen years periods are often irregular and it may take several years for hormones that control the reproductive cycle to stabilize. Menstrual periods can also be normally irregular at other times of the reproductive years, such as when you are approaching peri-menopause, during pregnancy or have gained an excessive amount of weight or lost an excessive amount of weight.
Just as stress affects many of the bodily functions, it also affects hormonal balances, which then results in irregular periods. Individuals put their body under stress when they are at low body weight or have become obese. Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia can also cause irregular menstrual periods.
Many endurance athletes also find that they suffer from irregular periods, both because of the increased amount of exercise and the low body fat. Other women who go on starvation diets will find the same thing happens. They will have irregular menstrual periods due to the low body fat they experience. Unfortunately, in the case of low body fat, irregular periods will adversely affect the woman’s ability to maintain bone mass density leading to osteoporosis and older years.
Women also finds that under severe emotional distress, illness or travel they may also have irregular periods. This means that women who are going through a divorce, just getting married, children are getting married or going to college or any other major life event may find that their reproductive system takes the brunt of their stress.
Medicines, such as birth control, can cause lighter and less frequent periods. It is not uncommon for a woman who has been taking oral birth control pills for a number of years to an entirely skip a period. Another reason women have irregular periods is breast-feeding an infant. While breast-feeding women can continue to get pregnant because they will continue to ovulate but related to be hormonal changes from breast-feeding these women often experience irregular menstrual periods.
Some women experience problems with pelvic organs such as an imperforate hymen, polycystic ovary syndrome or Asherman’s syndrome, all of which can lead to irregular menstrual periods other disease entities which can also cause difficulties are irritable bowel syndrome, tuberculosis, liver disease and diabetes.
If you skip a period relax. Take a hard look at your life and attempt to restore your emotional and physical balance. If you don’t believe you are pregnant and you miss only one period every 12 months you are fine. If however you consistently have irregular menstrual periods you should seek the advice of your gynecologist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment protocols.