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Why is My Period Irregular?

Women typically bleed once every 28-35 days. If your cycle has become less predictable it’s usually a sign from your body that something needs attention. After all, your monthly bleed can be looked at like your monthly health report ~ providing insight into whether your diet, lifestyle and stress levels have positively or negatively contributed to your hormonal balance.

So what actually constitutes an ‘irregular’ period? It’s understood that a period is irregular if:

  • There's a change in the number of days between your bleeds

  • If the amount of blood you lose is more or less than usual

  • If the duration of your bleed varies

The following is a list of factors that can cause irregularities:

  • Menarche (when first establishing a menstrual cycle)

  • Approaching menopause (perimenopause)

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

  • Intrauterine devices like the copper IUD or Mirena

  • Ceasing or starting the oral contraceptive pill (OCP)

  • Pregnancy

  • Breastfeeding

  • Chronic or acute stress

  • Over-exercising

  • Under eating

  • Antibiotic use

  • International travel

  • Thyroid disease

  • Fibroids

  • Ovarian cysts (different to PCOS)

  • Endometrial hyperplasia (thickened uterine lining)

  • Uterine polyps

  • Clotting disorders

  • Pituitary dysfunction

  • Adenomyosis

  • Endometriosis

So how can you regulate your cycle?

This will of course depend on what is driving the irregularity. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, starting your period for the first time or moving into menopause then an irregular cycle is completely normal. However, if you fall into some of the other categories it may be that your oestrogen and progesterone are imbalanced.

Often our bleed becomes heavier, longer or less frequent when the body is not regularly ovulating and producing enough progesterone from ovulation. This means we can normalise our cycle simply by providing the body with what it needs for healthy ovulation to occur.

  • A healthy stress response (try doing something you love that relaxes you, every day)

  • Adequate food intake (restricting your diet will mess with your cycle.

  • Daily movement, but don’t overdo it - listen to your body. Exercise should make you feel good, not burnt out.

  • Daily bowel motions and healthy liver function to ensure you’re properly eliminating old unwanted hormones (that may otherwise be reabsorbed into the bloodstream wreaking havoc).

  • Reduce exposure to environmental oestrogens (ie. xenoestrogens) as this can contribute to oestrogen-progesterone imbalance. Start by avoiding microwaving plastic or drinking from plastic water bottles.

If you’re transitioning off the OCP or you’ve had the mirena removed you may need some extra help re-establishing your cycle again. Without the support of herbal medicine, the body can take up to an entire year before it naturally initiates monthly ovulation again.

Touch base with us for a free 10 minute consultation if you need extra supporting normalising your menstrual cycle.


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