CAUSES OF IRREGULAR PERIODS AND THEIR TREATMENT
Causes of irregular periods are broad and varied. Furthermore, it is important to see your doctor to get the appropriate diagnosis.
The menstrual cycle is controlled by a complex system of chemicals and messenger hormones that come from structures in the brain. These structures, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, work in conjunction to stimulate the ovaries and regulate the menstrual cycle. Dysfunction in these central structures are the causes of irregular periods.
- Intrinsic: Intrinsic causes, as in problems within the hypothalamus and pituitary themselves, will inevitably lead to irregular periods.
- Extrinsic: Outside forces that can affect the hypothalamus and pituitary include things like cancerous and non-cancerous growths, poor blood flow and even diet. For example, women with very low body weight due to extreme exercise or conditions such as anorexia nervosa can have irregular periods due to damage to the hypothalamus.
The brain may control the menstrual cycle, but without the reproductive organs there would be nothing to act upon. Normal processes such as pregnancy and menopause can be the causes of irregular periods but there are many abnormal processes that occur re-productively that also affect the menstrual cycle.
- Pregnancy: A missed or notable irregularity in your period is often the first sign of pregnancy. The menstrual cycle happens in the absence of pregnancy, so when pregnancy occurs there is no need for this process.
- Age-related: Irregularity in periods is very common in both the early stages of puberty and the final stages of a woman’s reproductive years (menopause)
- Obstructive: Cancerous and noncancerous growths within or on the uterus, cervix and ovaries can cause irregular periods. These growths can disrupt the normal flow and shedding of the uterine lining causing heavier periods, missed periods or periods that occur when not expected.
- Hormonal: Normally, the brain produces and delivers hormones that trigger the production of hormones in the ovaries necessary for a normal menstrual cycle. Often for reasons unknown, a hormonal imbalance can occur within the reproductive tract which are the Causes of irregular periods.
- Functional: Medical conditions such as von Willebrand disease (clotting disorder) that affect the way different components of your blood function can result in irregular periods.
- Synthetic: Your liver, and to a lesser extent, your kidneys, are organs that are important in making the components of your blood that regulate bleeding. If there is a malfunction in these organs such as liver disease or kidney disease, you may experience irregular periods as well.
Here are 10 potential causes of irregular periods;
1.Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common causes of irregular periods, acne, and fertility issues. Furthermore, symptoms are well controlled with medicines including combined hormonal birth control.
The top Symptoms are fatigue, vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, depressed mood, painful periods. Besides that, symptoms that always occur with polycystic ovary syndrome are oligo/amenorrhea or hyperandrogenism
2.Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause is the point in life where your period stops. This happens when the ovaries stop making hormones that keep your cycle going. The transition into menopause is called peri-menopause and can include symptoms like hot flashes, shortening of menstrual cycle and mood fluctuations.
Hot flashes typically peak approximately 1 year after the final period and last 4-10 years. Furthermore, most women stop having hot flashes 4 years after they start, but 10% of women may have hot flashes up to 12 years after their last period. Furthermore, the top Symptoms are fatigue, delay in or irregular periods, vaginal discharge, anxiety, trouble sleeping. Also, symptoms that always occur with symptoms of menopause are also the causes of irregular periods.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the uterus. They are common in women of childbearing age.
Furthermore, treatment ranges from medication to surgical removal of the fibroid. Furthermore, the top Symptoms are vaginal bleeding, pelvis pain, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps), painful periods, and these are the causes of irregular periods.
4.Premature Ovarian Failure
Premature ovarian failure, also called “primary ovarian insufficiency” and “early menopause” happens when the ovaries stop working well too early in life. Naturally menopause occurs between the ages 45 and 55. Symptoms of menopause are changes in menstrual period, missing periods, hot flashes, mood changes and vaginal dryness.
Besides that, the top symptoms are fatigue, anxiety, irritability, vaginal itch or burning, muscle aches
Cushing Syndrome is a hormonal disorder. The cause is long-term exposure to too much cortisol, a hormone that the adrenal gland makes. Sometimes, taking synthetic hormone medicine like corticosteroids to treat an inflammatory disease leads to Cushing’s syndrome.
6. High Prolactin Hormone Level
Hyperprolactinemia is a common hormonal disorder in which there are higher than normal levels of prolactin in the blood. Depending on the severity of illness, therapy ranges from watchful waiting to medication or surgery.
Scars in the womb are called ‘intrauterine adhesions’. These can develop after certain procedures like curettage, a procedure where the inner lining of the womb is scraped. Curettage is used to induce abortion, remove placental remnants after child birth or for the removal of uterine fibroids or myoma’s. Symptoms of this condition can be abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or recurrent pregnancy loss.
Most women will benefit from treatment, but in some people symptoms recur.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, just above your collarbone. It is one of your endocrine glands, which make hormones. Thyroid glands control how fast one burns calories and how fast the heart beats. If the thyroid is too active, it makes more thyroid hormones than the body needs. This is called hyperthyroidism.
Absent periods or causes of irregular periods that happen less than 6 to 8 times a year are as a result to changes in hormone levels. These changes in hormone levels can be due to anxiety/stress, weight loss and/or extreme excercise.
Your period will return when the underlying cause is treated.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous tumors in the uterus. They are common in women of childbearing age.
Treatment ranges from medication to surgical removal of the fibroid.
IRREGULAR PERIOD TREATMENT
The first approach to treating menstrual irregularities is lifestyle changes. This method generally involves no additional costs and poses no risk, but conversely, it requires the most self-discipline of all the approaches.
A woman’s lifestyle and habits can greatly affect symptoms such as irregular periods. For instance, leading a sedentary lifestyle or consuming alcohol and caffeine in excess can exacerbate irregular periods. Also, increased stress due to professional responsibilities or family demands can make irregular periods more severe.
Lifestyle changes may be an effective and wholesome way to manage irregular periods, but it can be hard to implement them. In addition, while these greatly benefit overall health and wellness, they do not address the underlying cause of irregular periods – hormonal imbalance. The good news is that alternative treatments can relieve menstrual irregularities by balancing hormones in a safe and natural way. Continue reading to find out more about these natural treatments for irregular periods.
2. Alternative changes:
Alternative medicine treatments entail little to no risk, and they can be considered a highly effective method of regulating periods.
This approach to treatment includes several options. Generally, herbal supplements are considered to be the optimal treatment, though some women may find relief from other techniques, including massage. Any one of these methods may be helpful, but women typically find herbal supplements to be the best alternative treatment to use. They require less time, a smaller financial commitment, and they are very effective in dealing with the underlying hormonal imbalance that causes irregular periods.
Regarding supplementary herbs, two types in particular are useful in treating the hormonal causes of irregular periods: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
These supplements (such as dong quai) contain compounds that are similar to estrogen in the body but produced by plants. These supplements compensate for the hormonal deficiency by introducing plant-based estrogen into the body directly. While this is a good way to balance estrogen levels at first, the body can eventually become less capable of producing estrogen on its own. This happens as a direct result of introducing outside hormones into the system, and it can eventually cause a decline in the body’s natural hormone production.
Hormone regulating supplements:
These supplements do not contain plant-based hormones at all. Rather, this kind of herbal supplement nourishes and stimulates the endocrine glands, supporting the optimal production of hormones. This ultimately leads to a balance of not only estrogen in the body, but of other hormones too, such as progesterone – which also affects the menstrual cycle. In addition, these supplements are virtually free of side effects. For these reasons, hormone-regulating supplements are considered most effective in treating irregular periods and other symptoms of menopause.
3. Medications and surgery:
Interventions at the third level involve the highest risk and often the highest costs. However, these are sometimes necessaryfor those whose irregular periods may signal a more serious underlying condition.
The type of medical treatment used for irregular periods will depend on the underlying cause. For example, uterine fibroids (small noncancerous growths) will sometimes require surgical removal, though this depends on the size, location, number, and severity of the fibroids. In rare cases, the underlying causes of irregular periods will require a hysterectomy, or full removal of the female reproductive organs. Women who experience abnormal bleeding after menopause may also require medical treatment.
In the Western world, the most common medication for treating menopausal irregular periods is hormone replacement therapy. Furthrmore, this may be a quick and strong way to combat hormonal imbalance, but, unfortunately, it entails the risk of serious side effects, including certain types of cancer, as the following study has revealed.
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