Is menstruation that’s not regular something I should be worried about?
Some doctors, myself included, call menstruation the "fifth vital sign" after heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and temperature. Vital signs indicate that the human body is functioning properly. So an irregular period can be an indication that something is wrong with your body.
But first, it’s important to define what a regular period is. A regular period does not mean that the period comes on the exact same day of each month. We consider the first day of bleeding to be the first day of your menstrual cycle and we count from first day of one cycle to first day of the next. So first day of bleeding to the next first day of bleeding is one cycle. This is anywhere from 21 to 35 days. So if you have a 21-day cycle and bleed for seven days each cycle it will feel like your period is every 2 weeks and you may have more than one period in a month. These days there are so many apps to help you track you cycle. If you think your period might be irregular, track it with an app for at least three months before you see your doctor, and bring the dates of your periods with you to inform your doctor.
If your period is coming closer than every 21 days this can indicate a problem with your thyroid, or it can indicate that there is something going on with your uterus. Your doctor may order blood tests and an ultrasound.
If your period is coming less frequently – taking longer than every 35 days – it may be age related. As we get older and start to leave our reproductive years, we will not ovulate as regularly and therefore will not have a period as frequently.
Infrequent periods can also be a sign of thyroid or other hormonal problems.
Dr Jennifer Kasirsky is a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mediclinic Parkview Hospital. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.