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Why Does Your Menstrual Cycle Change?

Is it normal for menstrual days to change?

After puberty, most people find that their menstrual cycle settles into a consistent monthly pattern. But what if your period comes much earlier or later than usual? Or what if you never get your period?

If there is a sudden change in the length of your menstrual cycle, do not panic. Irregular periods are quite common and can occur for many reasons; Some are no cause for concern, while others may need medical attention.

To discuss common causes of irregular periods and help you manage these changes, Dr. We spoke with Andrea Huddleston.

menstrual irregularity

Why does my period date change every month?

Everyone's cycle is unique. Ideally, your period will find its own predictable timing once you reach adulthood. But if you are asking yourself why my menstrual period changes every month , you are not alone.
Periods usually occur every 28 days, but this is just an average; Many people have a slightly shorter or longer menstrual cycle than usual.
Dr. “During puberty and the first few years thereafter, it is quite normal to have irregularities,” says Andrea. “But after a while, we would expect most women to have a fairly consistent menstrual cycle of 26 to 32 days.” However, just because you cannot determine the exact start day of your next period does not mean that your period is not 'regular'. It is normal for there to be some minor changes in cycle length.
“It is very common for people to experience an irregular menstrual cycle once or twice a year,” says Dr Andrea. says.

What could cause a change in my menstrual cycle?

There are many potential causes of a change in your menstrual cycle, from routine disruptions to underlying health problems. If you find yourself feeling stressed most of the time, you may have your answer.
According to Dr Andrea, excessive stress can significantly affect our menstrual cycle. "When we're stressed, we produce a hormone called cortisol, which puts us in a fight-or-flight state. Cortisol takes precedence over all our other reproductive hormones, which regulate our menstrual cycle. So when we need more cortisol, the first thing our body will do is deprive us of our sex hormones, especially progesterone." ."
Progesterone is the hormone responsible for the smooth progression of the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. “Stress can shorten our periods and even cause a person to skip a menstrual cycle, stopping ovulation and other menstrual cycle functions,” says Dr Andrea. So if your last period lasted only 3 days and you usually bleed for 5 days, excessive stress may be to blame. Other possible causes of changes in menstrual cycle length may include:
  • Rapid weight gain or loss : Sudden fluctuations in weight and dramatic dietary changes can cause hormonal imbalance and nutrient deficiencies, both of which can affect your cycle.
  • Excessive exercise : Exercising too much can cause your cycle to change. This can stop ovulation, which can lead to a temporary loss of menstrual periods.
  • Medications : Many medications can affect your menstrual cycle, including aspirin (which may increase bleeding), steroids, antidepressants, and contraceptives.
  • Health conditions: Polycystic ovary syndrome ( Conditions that can affect hormones, such as PCOS ) and thyroid or pituitary gland disorders, can cause menstrual delay. Other conditions that can alter your menstrual cycle include endometriosis , pelvic inflammatory diseases, and blood clotting disorders.
  • Illness – Viral infections such as flu can cause stress on the body. If you get sick, your body may delay your cycle until it recovers.
  • Perimenopause – If you are over 40 and notice a change in your menstrual cycle, it may be due to perimenopause, the transition period before menopause. During perimenopause, your estrogen levels begin to drop, which can lead to unpredictable menstrual periods.
  • Hormonal birth control – Stopping or starting hormonal contraception can disrupt your menstrual cycle. For example, the birth control implant i mplanon, It slowly releases progestogen into your body to stop your ovarian cycle . This usually results in lighter bleeding or stopping the bleeding.
  • Sleep deprivation : Research shows that intense work and lack of quality sleep can throw our cycles out of sync. So, situations like working night shifts and traveling between time zones can lead to irregular periods.
  • Pregnancy – When you become pregnant, your body releases hormones that prevent ovulation, so your period stops. Complications such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (where a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus) can also cause unusual bleeding.

How can I manage changes in my menstrual cycle?

Making some small lifestyle changes can help you manage changes in your menstrual cycle and reduce your risk of irregular periods. You may want to try the following:
  • Reduce stress : Relaxation practices like meditation and deep breathing can help balance your hormones and keep your periods regular.
  • Exercise but don't overdo it - Physical activity is important for health, but remember that too much can disrupt your hormones. Balance is important.
  • Follow a healthy diet : Lean protein, quality fiber and healthy fats are known as the building blocks of hormones, so make sure you're getting enough of each in your day.
  • Prioritize rest – Getting 7.5-9 hours of quality, restorative sleep each night can keep your hormones happy.  
  • Track your menstrual cycle – Dr Andrea says keeping track of your menstrual cycle can also help you stay on track. "You can use a period tracker app on your phone or just your calendar; just record the start and end of your period. The regularity of your cycle is something we can really only know in retrospect, so keeping track of the subtle signs and symptoms of menstrual irregularity and hormonal changes from month to month will help you improve your overall health and It can help you interpret your well-being."
If changes in your menstrual cycle concern you, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may want to examine you and order some blood tests.

Feel ready and confident

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