Irregular cycle? It's probably fine, but here's what you should look out for

November 15, 2017 Alexandra Rank

Irregular cycle

Does your period show up whenever it pleases? While irregular periods are common, it’s worth paying attention to your cycle since irregular periods can sometimes signal bigger health issues.

What could an irregular period mean for you?

If you struggle with an unpredictable menstrual cycle, you are not alone. There are many factors that influence the cyclic nature of the menstrual cycle, some of which can be controlled (diet, stress, medication, and exercise) and some of which are out of our control (aging and menopause). Throughout the course of a lifetime, nearly all women are troubled by an irregular period at one point or another.

While you can’t control the onset of menopause, many of the other factors are under our control. Maintaining a stable and healthy diet is one way to help regulate your period, along with consistent exercise/physical activity. A drastic increase in weight gain or weight loss is shown to cause irregularities in your period, whereas maintaining a healthy percentage of body fat is a good mechanism for menstrual regulation. With that being said, losing too much body fat can make it so your period doesn’t come at all.

Managing stress is another way to keep your cycle consistent. The release of stress hormones can impact the levels of estrogen that your body produces, causing your period to come early, late, or possibly skipping a period entirely. Knowing how to cope with your own stress and anxiety-whether that be through yoga, meditation, exercise, or whatever mechanism works best for you-is helpful in keeping your period regular.

Finally, medications such as birth control are designed largely for the purpose of regulating your period. If you struggle with an unpredictable menstrual cycle, trying out a new form of birth control might be the easiest solution that you’re looking for.

Having an irregular period does not necessarily signal that there’s anything wrong with your body. However, if you are suddenly experiencing irregular periods after a history of regularity, it could be indicative of other health issues such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), diabetes, thyroid disorder, or various STDs. It could also mean that you’re pregnant. If irregular periods are a new problem for you, it’s worth checking in with your physician to sure that there isn’t anything else affecting your menstrual cycle.

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