Sanjana Verma (name changed) is in her early 30s. She is married but is focussing on her career right now instead of family planning. If there’s one thing about that’s worrying her, it’s her irregular periods. She says she gets her periods after 40 days, and she’s concerned about how it can impact her fertiliy.
Health Shots reached out to a gynaecologist to find out about irregular periods, and what may be considered normal.
Dr P Tanuja, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecologist, Aster Prime Hospital, says the normal duration of a period is 3 to 7 days, and the ideal frequency should fall between 21 to 35 days.
“Any deviation from the above is called menstrual abnormality or irregularity,” adds Dr Tanuja, pointing out that periods after over 40 days are an example of menstrual abnormality.
In medical terms, it is called Oligomenorrhea.
“Oligomenorrhea could lead to hormonal abnormality and weight gain, and even vice versa. It could hamper the fertility also. If you face the condition, you need to consult a gynaecologist, undergo a few tests as advised by the doctor to rule out the underlying cause, and get treatment accordingly,” says Dr Tanuja.
Well, an irregularity in periods may indicate various things. But the most Common causes may include:
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Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) is caused by an imbalance of hormones. A woman’s ovaries tend to enlarge and secrete male hormones androgens which tend to hamper one’s fertility. Some common results of PCOD include weight gain, hair loss and irregular periods.
If a person is taking contraceptive injections or treatment, it can play troublemaker for period regularity. This could also either lead to heavier or lighter periods.
Perimenopause, which literally translates to ‘around menopause’, is the time when your body transitions into menopause, when yourmenses stop. Since your body produces less ovulation hormones around this time, it can lead to irregularity of your periods.
A woman’s reproductive system depends on thyroid hormones and a case of hyperthyroidism can impact irregularity of periods. In case thyroid leads your periods to stop for some months, it is a condition called amenorrhea.
According to a 2011 study cited in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, having a long menstrual cycle could be a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes, especially in obese women.
Obesity, as we know it, is the root cause of several health problems. It is also associated with irregular periods, and may affect a woman’s chance of fertility. Basically, when a woman is on overweight, the body tends to produce oestrogen excessively. Oestrogen is one of the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle, and hence it has a direct impact on the regularity or the lack of it in the menstrual cycle.