6 Possible Reasons Why You Have Irregular Periods

· February 14, 2017
Is your period often too late or too early? Discover some possible reasons why you have irregular periods in this article!

Changes in your period and irregular periods can be caused by many different factors. That’s why it’s best to turn to a specialist to rule out major problems and get diagnosed.

The menstrual cycle is a biological and hormonal process women go through that’s involved in many physical and mental health aspects.

Generally, it occurs every 28 days. Periods usually last 3 to 6 days, depending on the hormonal activity.

During each cycle, a series of changes happens that play a direct role in sexual and fertility issues, though many try to ignore it.

In addition, these appear in different forms at different stages of life. That’s because hormone production varies considerably between puberty and menopause.

Still, it’s essential to understand how to interpret irregularities when they come up, as they can indicate health problems or hormonal disorders.

Having your period come too early or very late can be the key to detecting other abnormalities.

Irregular periods.

And although there’s no reason to assume something serious is wrong, it’s important to pay attention to avoid complications.

Many who have irregular periods don’t understand why. That’s why we’ve taken this opportunity to compile the 6 possible reasons why you may have irregular periods.

1. Thyroid problems

Thyroid gland disorders may trigger irregular periods. Given that this organ produces important hormones, thyroid imbalances are linked to at least 15% of amenorrhea cases.

Some consider it the “master gland” because it works to control the endocrine system, metabolism, and sexual activity.

Also see: 7 Tips to Naturally Activate an Underactive Thyroid

Thyroid problems.

2. Stopping birth control

Oral contraceptives are designed for birth control. These pills keep estrogen levels high. The body interprets this as pregnancy, which prevents fertilization.

After taking them for 21 days, there is a “rest” week when women have completely regular periods.

The problem is that, many times, irregularities show up when you stop taking these pills. There may even be no menstruation at all due to the hormonal changes.

It’s estimated that 29% of women who stop taking the pill after regular use have no periods up to three months later.

3. High-intensity workouts

A woman exercising.

High-intensity exercise may influence changes in the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands, which usually appear along with menstrual changes.

For example, women who run marathons or compete in other athletic endeavors may stop getting their period for a month or two because of the changes in hormonal activity. Actually, 81% of female bodybuilders have had irregular periods at some time in their lives.

4. Hormonal imbalances may cause irregular periods

Hormonal imbalances, like those caused by Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), are a common cause of menstrual cycle irregularities.

This condition may alter the levels of sex hormones, including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. 

As a result, menstrual cycles may be altered as well, and in turn produce other symptoms like abnormal body hair growth, acne, and sudden weight changes. Another hormonal issue it causes is called “premature menopause” or, in other words, menopause that starts before the age of 40.

In this case, irregular periods may be accompanied by:

  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Night sweats.
  • Constant mood swings.

5. Allergies and food sensitivities

Allergies and food sensitivities.

Food intolerance and allergies may cause menstrual cycle irregularities. They almost always compromise adrenal gland activity, which may increases stress levels and sex hormone imbalances.

We recommend: How Does Stress Affect Women?

6. Nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies may also affect the proper functioning of the thyroid and adrenal glands.

A diet poor in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics may increase cortisol levels and lead to disorders like hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue.

High cortisol levels do not just increase stress, however. They may also inhibit the activity of many important hormones, including those in charge of sexual activity.

At the first sign of a menstrual irregularity, it’s crucial to make sure to eat a wide variety of highly nutritious food.

In conclusion, it’s very important to know the possible factors associated with menstrual irregularity in order to treat them appropriately. It’s also a good idea to see a doctor to check hormone levels more precisely.

Main image courtesy of wikiHow.com.

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  • West, S., Lashen, H., Bloigu, A., Franks, S., Puukka, K., Ruokonen, A., … Morin-Papunen, L. (2014). Irregular menstruation and hyperandrogenaemia in adolescence are associated with polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility in later life: Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 study. Human Reproduction. https://doi.org/10.1093/humrep/deu200
  • Braga, C. (2014). Menstrual Cycle Alterations during Adolescence: Early Expression of Metabolic Syndrome and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpag.2014.01.002
  • Tehrani, H. G., Mostajeran, F., & Shahsavari, S. (2014). The effect of calcium and vitamin D supplementation on menstrual cycle, body mass index and hyperandrogenism state of women with poly cystic ovarian syndrome. J Res Med Sci.