Find out what you should know about irregular cycles
Many women will experience times in their lives where their periods aren’t regular. Young teens, women under extreme stress and those who are breastfeeding may experience irregular periods. Robert Anderson MD and Don Royster MD, our Newport Beach fertility center experts, want our patients to understand the causes of irregular cycles and when they should consider seeking medical attention.
The basics of female reproduction
Once a young woman hits puberty, she will begin to have a monthly menstrual cycle. First, the ovary will release an egg, and the body releases hormones in anticipation of fertilization and implantation. If no pregnancy occurs, the uterine lining sheds, resulting in a period. Most menstrual cycles occur between 28 to 35 days, with menstruation typically lasting for two to seven days.
In some cases, women may experience times of having irregular periods. A variety of factors can contribute to irregular cycles.
- Extreme exercising, severe weight loss or weight gain and/or an eating disorder
- Hormonal conditions such as PCOS, perimenopause and premature ovarian failure
- Physical abnormalities, such as fibroids, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease
- Thyroid conditions, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- Antidepressants, epilepsy drugs, chemotherapy drugs, thyroid medicines and blood thinning medications
When to contact your doctor about irregular cycles
For young teens just beginning to have periods, it can take time for cycles to regulate and follow a routine pattern. This process can last anywhere between 12 to 24 months. Our Newport Beach fertility center experts want female patients to consider consulting a doctor about irregular cycles in the following situations.
- Not having a period in more than 90 days after having regular cycles.
- Periods have become irregular after previously following a routine pattern.
- Cycles are less than 21 days or more than 35 days in length.
- Regular spotting between periods.
- Periods are longer than seven days.
- Cycles have become significantly heavier than before.
At the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine, our patients and their health are the focus of all we do. We offer advanced infertility treatment and compassionate care. Call our office for more information on irregular periods or to schedule an appointment.