What’s Causing Irregular Periods?

A variety of health conditions can cause irregular menstrual cycles. But first, it’s a good idea to get a handle on what irregular means. “If you’ve gone from a 28-day cycle to a 30-day cycle, that’s not usually something to worry about.

However, if you used to have regular periods and now you’re skipping a month or two, that’s irregular. Something has changed, and it’s worth evaluating,” says Richard J. Paulson, MD, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Skipped, prolonged or otherwise unpredictable periods can point to one of the following:

  • Ovarian failure or early perimenopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female sex hormones
  • Uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous tumors of the uterus
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Stress or an eating disorder

If you are bleeding at times other than your period, or bleeding again after going through menopause, see your doctor promptly. Such bleeding could be the result of a benign condition but is sometimes a symptom of cancer.

 

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