A woman’s menstrual cycle isn’t always predictable. While some women get their periods every 28 days like clockwork, most women experience irregularities at least once in their lifetime. Many irregularities are nothing to worry about, but it’s important to pay attention to any changes you experience. Consult your gynecologist in Jacksonville Beach any time you have concerns.
When is a Period Considered Irregular?
A typical menstrual cycle occurs about every 28 days. It lasts from three to seven days, and flow can vary from light to somewhat heavy. Every woman’s period is different, and most women are very accustomed to what is normal to them.
A period is considered irregular when it occurs more than every 21 days, or it lasts longer than eight days. A period may also be irregular if it is late, early, heavy, light or if there is spotting between cycles. If anything seems “off” to you, it’s a good time to schedule a visit with your gynecologist in Jacksonville Beach.
Causes of Irregular Periods
Having an irregular period now and then is probably not a big deal. There are numerous reasons why you could be experiencing an irregular period, including hormonal issues and lifestyle changes. Here are some of the most common causes.
Birth Control Pills. Taking the pill can affect your menstrual cycle, especially when beginning a new kind. It may take your body a few months to adjust to the hormones. You may miss periods, have spotting or have a much lighter flow.
Pregnancy. Many women’s first sign that they’re expecting is a missed or lighter-than-usual period. Implantation bleeding may also be mistaken for a light period. See your gynecologist in Jacksonville Beach right away if you think you might be pregnant.
Stress. Both short-term and chronic stress can do a number on your hormones. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and it impacts the amount of estrogen and progesterone that a woman produces. This can cause a missed or irregular period.
Exercise and Dieting. Excessive exercise can throw your cycle off track. In fact, it’s not uncommon for athletes to miss periods. Extreme dieting and eating disorders can have the same affect and can increase your chance of having irregular periods.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a condition that causes cysts to form in the ovaries. This interferes with normal ovulation and causes irregular periods. Women with this condition tend to have a history of irregular periods. Your gynecologist in Jacksonville Beach may suggest an ultrasound to confirm PCOS.
Thyroid Disorders. When levels of your thyroid hormone are too low or too high, it can result in irregular periods. Thyroid disorders are often to blame for frequently missed periods. A simple blood test can tell you if your thyroid levels are abnormal.
Pre-Menopause. Women may begin experiencing irregular periods up to ten years before they reach menopause. This is due to already changing hormone levels.
Contact a Gynecologist in Jacksonville Beach
Having an irregular period from time to time is probably nothing to worry about. Sometimes, however, it may point to an underlying condition that should be addressed. If you’re concerned with changes in your menstrual cycle, contact North Florida OBGYN of Jacksonville Beach. Call us to schedule an appointment at (904) 247-5514.