When To Consult A Gynaecologist For Irregular Periods?
A woman rarely experiences consistent menstruation from her first period through perimenopause. Irregular periods often occur time and again due to various factors from dietary changes to physical disorders. Hence, it is generally a good idea to see the gynaecologist with high experience and reputation in gynaecology to treat the problem of your irregular periods. Here is everything you need to know about the time when you should consult a gynaecologist for irregular menses.
What are irregular periods?
During menstruation or a period, your uterine lining continues to shed for 4-7 days. A regular period is that which takes place every 21-35 days (nearly a month). However, with a longer or briefer menstrual cycle, you will have an irregular period. Symptoms of irregular periods can be as follows:
- The number of days between every cycle begins to change significantly
- The duration of your periods differ a lot
- You undergo irregular (less or more) menstrual bleeding or spotting between the periods
- You often miss periods
- Your periods are associated with other symptoms like vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, etc.
If you develop one or more of the above signs, consult the gynaecologist. The doctor will diagnose your symptoms and recommend suitable treatment.
Causes of irregular periods
There are various factors or reasons for irregular periods. The factors which trigger your hormonal imbalance are as follows:
- Changes in the life cycle: Factors including puberty, breastfeeding, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause can impact the body’s production of hormones. These can induce late period signs. For example, puberty causes your body to gradually adjust to a regular pattern of hormone production. Hence, you can commonly go through irregular menstruation during this time. During pregnancy, menstruation stops fully. After delivery, it slowly becomes normal again. Also, when you approach menopause, bleeding and periods become irregular. You experience menopause when you have no periods for a year or more since the last cycle.
- Use of contraceptive pills Once you begin to use contraceptives for the first time, you will commonly go through lighter bleeding. It usually normalises within a few months. With an IUD (intrauterine device) too, you will bleed more.
- Stress Some amount of stress that you experience often is normal. However, extreme stress and other associated lifestyle factors may result in late periods.
Other factors which can also lead to hormonal imbalance are:
- Eating problems like bulimia or anorexia
- Performing extensive physical exercise or sports training
- Extreme and rapid weight gain or weight loss
- Drug use
- Specific medications
- Excessive alcohol consumption (as the liver plays a major role in processing progesterone and estrogen)
- Poor nutrition (a carbohydrate-rich diet may affect your menstruation)
Besides, the following physiological disorders are also related to irregular menses:
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) This condition is marked by the development of small cysts inside your ovaries. The primary sign is an absence of periods or irregular menstruation. You may also develop excessive body-hair growth (hirsutism), acne and sudden weight gain.
- Thyroid issues Thyroid problems including hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can lead to hormonal imbalance and menses issues. Irregular levels of thyroid hormones can impact the menstrual cycle. So, visit the best gynecologist in south delhi to check your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels from time to time.
- Endometriosis It occurs when the cells lining the endotromium (inner layer of uterus), containing endometrial cells, grow outside it. Though it is not cancerous, it might be painful. The condition usually affects your fallopian tubes, ovaries and pelvic lining. In extreme cases, it may cause fertility disorders but it can be luckily treated.
- Pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID) This infection happens when sexually transmitted microbes enter through your vagina to your womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. If not treated, it can damage these organs, causing high pain. Signs are irregular bleeding during intercourse or between menstrual cycles.
Rarely, irregular menses may be caused by uterine or cervical cancer. This may cause bleeding during intercourse or between periods.
Since early detection can help prevent any complications, you must see a reputed gynaecologist right away when you have menstrual abnormalities.
Treatments for irregular periods
As per the specific cause of your menstrual irregularity, as evaluated by your diagnosis, you will receive suitable treatment for your irregular period.
- For contraception If your menstrual problem is because of contraceptive pills, your doctor may suggest a different contraceptive method.
- For PCOS If you have PCOS, maintain a healthy weight to improve late period signs. With a lower weight, your body need not to produce excess insulin, thereby lowering testosterone levels and increasing the possibilities of ovulation. If required, the best gynaecologist in South Delhi may recommend a personalized PCOS diet plan to you.
- For thyroid disorders If you have thyroid problems, your gynaecologist may recommend lifestyle and dietary alterations, medications or radioactive iodine therapy. In extreme situations, you may need surgery.
- For endometriosis Usually, hormone therapy can treat this disorder. In severe cases, you may also require fertility treatments and/or surgery.
- For PID As this disorder is generally caused by a sexually transmitted infection, the gynaecologist might recommend an STD test for evaluating the risk factors. Once you’re diagnosed, you will be recommended an appropriate treatment plan. You may need to avoid sexual intercourse until treatment is over. You may receive a combination of antibiotic medications for regulating periods. You’ll rarely need surgery.
- For stress If you have severe stress, try to manage it by having adequate rest daily, exercising regularly and maintaining a balanced diet. You can also seek a mental health professional to help you deal with your stress burden.
You must take only those medications recommended to you by your gynaecologist to address your menstrual irregularities. Never go for self-medication to avoid risks.
Seeking medical assistance for irregular periods problem
You can receive effective treatment for irregular periods. If you are going through abnormal menses, consult the top gynaecologist in GK 2, Dr Madhu Goel who can diagnose the precise factor of your condition and suggest a suitable treatment plan accordingly. Moreover, you must have a gynaecological examination at least once every year to analyse the state of your overall reproductive health.