A woman’s menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days long, however, cycles can vary quite dramatically between 21 to 40 days.
In general, most woman develop a regular menstrual cycle, with a similar amount of time in between periods, and their monthly bleed lasting between two and seven days.
For some less fortunate woman, their periods can be irregular, with some not even knowing when or if they will get a bleed each cycle.
Why are my periods so irregular?
An irregular period can refer to variations in the time between your periods, the amount of blood you lose and even the number of days each period lasts.
There are many reasons why a woman’s cycle might become irregular. This might be a temporary upset, or a more long-term issue, depending on several factors which may occur between puberty and menopause.
If you have recently changed your method of contraception or just given birth, then this can disrupt your period cycle for a few weeks or even months. Usually things should even out after a couple of months, back to a more regular cycle, however, for some women this can be much longer.
Hormone imbalances can cause irregular periods because the reproductive hormones oestrogen and progesterone fluctuate, causing various symptoms as a result.
What can cause hormone imbalance?
Many factors can cause a hormone imbalance, including:
- Dietary problems
- Too much exercise
- Sexual activity
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Medical conditions e.g. polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
if you are worried about your irregular periods, or you are experiencing irregularity long-term, you should consult your healthcare practitioner at the earliest opportunity.
Irregular periods are not always indicative of more serious issues, if concerned however, it never hurts to see a doctor about them as a precaution.
Can you have sex when you are on your period?
Yes, you can have sex when you’re on your period. However, if you experience irregular periods, then it can be very tricky to know whether your bleed is going to affect your sex life or not, as it could crop up unexpectedly, or not come at all.
How might irregular periods affect your sex life?
You may experience anxiety or fear of being pregnant if your periods don’t arrive on time. This can lead to nervousness about being sexually active with a partner.
One way to ensure that pregnancy doesn’t occur is to use a condom, rather than risk other less reliable methods. This will give added peace of mind, instead of waiting and worrying for a period to arrive.
It is important to remember that no condom is 100% percent effective. You should always remember to read the instructions included on, or in, the box when trying new contraceptives.
How to re-balance hormones and help to regulate your period
While hormone imbalances often go ignored or unknown, it is important to address the reasons why you might be experiencing irregular periods, and this should start with a visit to their GP or gynaecologist.
Health specialists will advise the reasons why they think the irregularity might be occurring, or any underlying medical issues, however, it’s crucial to also pay attention to your own lifestyle choices and make tweaks towards a healthier way of living.
Enjoying a healthy and balanced diet, as well as reduced alcohol intake, no smoking, and a stress-free environment can all help in regaining a more regular hormonal pattern.