A woman’s menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days long, however, cycles can vary quite dramatically between 24 and 35 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 month.
Why might a woman get irregular periods?
There are many reasons why a woman’s cycle might become irregular. This might be a temporary upset, or a more longer term issue, depending on several factors.
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. Many factors can cause a hormone imbalance, including stress, dietary problems, too much exercise, sexual activity, depression and anxiety, or illness.
While hormone imbalances often go ignored or unknown, it is important for woman to address the reasons why they might be experiencing irregular periods, and this should start with a visit to their GP or gynecologist.
How might irregular periods affect your sex life?
Many women stay clear of sex during their monthly bleed, mainly because of hygiene, embarrassment, or cleanliness reasons, therefore their sex life is usually planned around the dates when they are due to bleed, avoiding intimate contact if their period is due. If a woman experiences irregular periods, then it can be very tricky to know whether her bleed is going to affect her sex life or not, as it could crop up unexpectedly, or not come at all.
Being unsure about whether or not a period is going to arrive can cause anxiety or stress when it comes to planning a date with a partner or new lover. A woman may be nervous in case her period should start mid-date, or during a romantic holiday or mini break, which could spoil the whole experience for both partners.
Women can also experience anxiety or fear of being pregnant if their periods don’t arrive on time, making them nervous 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.
How to rebalance hormones and help to regulate your periods
While hormone imbalances often go ignored or unknown, it is important for woman to address the reasons why they might be experiencing irregular periods, and this should start with a visit to their GP or gynecologist. Health specialists will advise the reasons why they think the irregularity might be occurring, or any underlying medical issues, however, it’s crucial for women to also pay attention to their 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, and therefore make life a little easier to manage and plan.