Are you constantly playing the ‘when will my period arrive?’ guessing game? Or perhaps you’ve had moments where you’ve wondered if your menstrual cycle has decided to take an impromptu holiday?
An irregular period can be like that unpredictable friend who shows up uninvited and then disappears when you actually need them, and no amount of period tracking seems to help.
While not always a cause for concern, having an unpredictable cycle can make planning your life a bit of a challenge – and often comes with a side of stress.
Fortunately, we’ve got some expert-backed information to help you understand why this happens and what you can do about it, including how a subscription to a period box might be just what you need. Let’s dive in!
What are Irregular Periods?
If your periods seem to be playing by their own rulebook rather than sticking to a relatively predictable cycle, you’re dealing with irregular periods. A regular menstrual cycle typically lasts between 24 to 38 days, and anything outside of this can be considered irregular.
This includes unusually long or short cycles, periods that last longer or are heavier than usual, or if you’re skipping periods altogether. But why do these irregularities occur? Is it just your body playing tricks on you, or is there more to it?
What Causes Irregular Periods?
Our menstrual cycle is largely governed by the delicate dance of hormones. When this balance is disrupted, it can lead to irregular periods. Conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), where there is an excess of androgens (male hormones), or thyroid disorders can throw the hormonal balance off, causing irregularities.
Stress and Lifestyle Factors:
Ever had your period arrive late when you’re stressed? It’s no coincidence. Stress impacts our hormones and, in turn, our menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, intense exercise, lack of sleep, or even a significant change in your day-to-day routine can also cause irregular periods.
Age plays a pivotal role in menstrual regularity. Teenagers who’ve just started menstruating and women nearing menopause often experience irregular periods as their bodies go through hormonal transitions.
Birth Control and Medications:
Certain types of hormonal birth control, such as the pill, IUDs, or injectables, can influence your menstrual cycle, leading to irregular periods. Some may cause lighter and fewer periods, while others can cause heavier, more frequent ones. Certain medications, such as antipsychotics or chemotherapy drugs, can also affect your cycle.
Underlying Health Conditions:
Conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to menstrual irregularities. These conditions often present with other symptoms, like severe period pain, painful sex, or fertility issues, alongside irregular periods.
Ultimately, irregular periods can be the result of a myriad of factors, from lifestyle and age to more significant health conditions. While occasional irregularities are often no cause for alarm, consistently unpredictable periods warrant a deeper look.
Can I Fix an Irregular Period?
So, what can you do about an irregular period? Here are some solutions that may offer some relief to those dealing with an unpredictable cycle:
If your irregular periods are caused by lifestyle factors, then adjustments in this area can help. Regular exercise (but not overly intense), a balanced diet, and stress management techniques like meditation or yoga can support overall hormonal balance and potentially improve cycle regularity.
For some, hormonal treatments like birth control pills can help regulate the menstrual cycle. These treatments can help control the hormones responsible for the build-up and shedding of your uterine lining, leading to a more predictable cycle. That being said, always speak with your GP and discuss the pros and cons of birth control before signing up for a prescription – some experience side effects such as low mood, low libido and weight gain.
Treating Underlying Conditions:
If your irregular periods are due to an underlying health condition such as PCOS or thyroid disorders, treating these conditions can help restore regularity to your cycle. This could involve medication, surgical interventions, or lifestyle changes under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
It’s important to remember that while you can manage and potentially improve irregular periods, there’s no one-size-fits-all ‘fix’. Menstrual cycles are as individual as the people who have them, and what works for one person may not work for another. Sometimes, despite all efforts, periods continue to march to their own drumbeat, and that’s okay too. What’s crucial is learning how to manage the unpredictability and seek medical advice when necessary.
How Period Boxes Can Help an Irregular Cycle
So, where do period boxes come into this equation? These tailored boxes can be a real lifesaver for those of us who never quite know when our period is going to turn up. How? Let’s take a look.
Period boxes help you stay prepared: they’re delivered to your doorstep on a regular schedule, meaning you’ll always have supplies on hand. No more emergency dashes to the shop when your period decides to make a surprise visit, as you’ll always have a ready stack of your go-to products on hand.
Every woman is unique, and so is her cycle. Period boxes often offer personalised products based on your specific needs and preferences, whether it be irregularity or PCOS. This customisation can also mean including different types of sanitary products to comfort items that can help ease various menstrual symptoms.
Supplements and Nutritional Support:
Many period boxes, such as Yoppie, include supplements that support hormonal balance and overall health. By providing nutritional support, they can help manage some of the factors that contribute to irregular periods, like stress or hormonal imbalances.
Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your menstrual health. Many period boxes include information resources, giving you access to expert advice and insights about your menstrual cycle and overall reproductive health.
When to See a Doctor About Irregular Periods
While occasional irregular periods are usually not a cause for concern, it’s essential to see a doctor if you notice a persistent pattern of irregularity, particularly if it’s accompanied by other symptoms like severe pain, heavy bleeding, or changes in your physical health.
Conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, or thyroid disorders require medical attention and can often be managed more effectively when diagnosed early. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health.
Irregular periods can feel like an inconvenience, a puzzle, or even a cause for worry. However, they’re not uncommon and are often a sign that your body is responding to changes in your life or health. The key is to pay attention, make healthy lifestyle choices where possible, and consult with a healthcare provider if irregular periods persist.
Plus, a period box can be a wonderful support system, providing practical help, personalised care, and a community of shared experiences. It’s not a cure-all, but it can certainly make navigating the unpredictability of irregular periods a little easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we answer your questions about irregular periods.
How irregular is too irregular for a period?
If you’re consistently having cycles shorter than 21 days or longer than 40 days, or if you’re skipping periods for several months, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor.
Are irregular periods a sign of infertility?
Not necessarily. While certain conditions that cause irregular periods, like PCOS, can affect fertility, not all people with irregular periods have difficulty getting pregnant. If you’re trying to conceive and having trouble, it’s worth discussing with a healthcare provider.
Can irregular periods become regular naturally?
Yes, irregular periods can sometimes become more regular over time, particularly in the years after menstruation begins and as one approaches menopause. However, significant and persistent irregularities should be checked by a healthcare provider.
Can diet affect period regularity?
Yes, diet can influence hormonal balance and overall health, potentially affecting menstrual cycle regularity. A balanced diet rich in whole foods and low in processed, high-sugar foods can support overall health and potentially improve menstrual regularity.
Are period boxes suitable for everyone?
Period boxes can be a great help to anyone menstruating, irrespective of the regularity of their cycle. They offer convenience, personalised care, and support. However, do note that they’re not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for menstrual health issues.