Do you get your period once every two months? Or are you wondering why it lasts for three days in one month and then 10 days in the next?
Contrary to popular belief, a woman’s menstrual cycle is not always like clockwork. In fact, our menstrual cycles can take different amounts of time each month — you might have a 24-day cycle one month and a 35-day cycle the next, rather than the 28-day menstrual cycle we always hear about.
Here are some important facts about irregular menstruation to know:
What is an Irregular Menstrual Cycle?
It is common in the first two years of a period for it to be irregular — making an appearance one month, and disappearing the next. It’s also normal for the days you have your menses to vary — sometimes you may bleed for three days and at other times, for a whole week. This is mainly due to the fact that our hormone levels can vary from one cycle to the next, affecting both the amount and length of bleeding.
How to Recognize an Irregular Period?
You may have an irregular period if:
- The length of time between each of your periods changes from cycle to cycle
- You bleed more or less than usual during a period
- The length of your period varies a lot
What are the Common Causes of Irregular Periods?
In most cases, we can blame changing levels of hormones in the body; in particular, estrogen and progesterone for irregular menstruation. The good news is that your menstrual cycle will most likely fall into a regular pattern as you get older.
Irregular periods can also be caused by:
- Not eating enough calories
- Exercising too much
- Having either a very high or very low body weight
When Should you Worry about an Irregular Period?
If you have missed your period for more than three months, it’s time to see your doctor. Other things to take note of include:
- You were having regular periods which suddenly became irregular
- You have extra hair growth on your face, chin, chest or stomach
- Your period lasts for more than a week, is heavy and makes its appearance more often than every 21 days
- You bleed in between your periods
- You have severe cramps
How Can you be Prepared for Your Period if it’s Irregular?
When you track your periods even if it’s irregular, you will be able to gauge your menstrual cycle and possibly make it easier to discover if there are underlying issues to your irregular period, such as a pregnancy or thyroid disease.
The good news is that there are many good, free menstrual cycle calendar mobile apps that can help you keep track and even predict your next period. These include Period Calendar, Flo and Clue.
A girl should also have a period survival kit at her fingertips (or somewhere close to her, such as in her school or work locker), so that she is never caught by surprise — especially if she is in white jeans!
Your basic survival kit should have a few different types of your favourite sanitary pads for both light and heavy flow days. Modess Cottony Soft Maxi Regular is a good pad to have handy for the first day of your period and on light flow days while Modess All Night gives you good protection and coverage when you are having a heavier flow.