Understanding irregular periods
Our Round Rock obgyns find that many women wonder whether or not they have irregular periods. Normally, menstruation lasts between four to seven days and occurs every 24 to 38 days. It varies from woman to woman.
What are the symptoms of irregular periods?
Here are some signs that a woman should look for to determine if she has irregular periods.
- Periods that last fewer than four days or more than seven, or periods that occur less than every 32 days or longer than 38 days
- A change in a woman’s usual cycle, varying more than seven to nine days from her norm
- Missing more than three consecutive periods
- Experiencing heavy or lighter flow
- Bleeding or spotting blood either between menstrual periods or after having sex
- Bleeding after menopause occurs
A woman who experiences any of these symptoms should consult with our Round Rock obgyns to help determine the cause of the problem.
What are the causes?
Many issues can cause irregular periods. It’s more common for women to experience irregular periods at two times in their lives—adolescence, when they first begin to have periods, and perimenopause, the period of time before menopause. In addition, causes include:
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovulation problems
- Certain birth control methods, such as birth control pills or IUDs
- Medical blood disorders
- Pregnancy and pregnancy complications – miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy
- Adenomyosis – the uterine lining, or endometrium, grows into the uterine wall
- Thyroid problems
- PCOS, polycystic ovary syndrome
Excessive exercise, hormonal imbalances and other medications and medical conditions can also cause irregular periods. Lifestyle changes can help correct issues caused by weight fluctuations or too much exercise.
How are irregular periods diagnosed?
Since irregular periods can be caused by a broad range of problems and issues, our Round Rock obgyns draw on all their experience and expertise to make a thorough and informed diagnosis, which enables them to make the best treatment plan for each woman.
Our physicians sometimes ask women to track their periods. They also take a thorough history and perform a physical examination and order blood tests. In addition, some women may require further testing such as:
- Imaging – ultrasound, MRI or CT scans
- Minimally invasive surgery options – hysteroscopy, sonohysteroscopy or biopsy
How is the problem treated?
Treatment for irregular periods includes a broad range of options. Several types of medications may be employed, including hormonal birth control methods; thyroid medications; antibiotics; tranexamic acid; anti-inflammatory medications and special medications to help blood clot.
Sometimes, medication is not the answer, so our Round Rock obgyns may suggest gynecologic surgery. Virtually all surgery for irregular periods involves minimally invasive surgical techniques that provide a faster recovery and fewer complications than traditional open surgery. These approaches also preserve fertility.