It can be quite concerning to realize that your periods have become irregular. Upon making that observation, you will naturally want to know the reason behind the period irregularity. You may go as far as booking an appointment at the best private gynaecology clinic in London, in search of an answer. As it turns out, many things can cause periods to become irregular. Below are 12 such factors:
1. Taking too much alcohol
Many studies have shown that taking too much alcohol can cause periods to become irregular. The problem tends to be more marked in women who over-drink chronically. But “social drinkers” are not altogether immune. Sometimes, they also have menstrual cycle abnormalities.
One thing which most of us don’t know is that alcohol does affect hormones. Thus when one has taken it, the estrogen and testosterone levels may go up temporarily. This is the mechanism through which taking too much alcohol can lead to irregular periods.
2. Facing major stressor
Normal day-to-day stresses may not cause irregular periods. So these are things like the stress that comes with commuting, making presentations at work and so on. However, facing truly major stress can affect the periods. In this context, a ‘major stressor’ would be something like losing a job, being seriously ill, facing a divorce and so on. Such stressors affect ovulation – which is what then leads to cause irregular periods.
3. Too much physical exercise
We have already said that facing a major stressor can cause periods to become irregular. Now when you subject the body to excessive physical exercise, it perceives it as a ‘major stressor’ too. That consequently leads to irregular periods.
On a long-term basis, excess physical exercise tends to leave the body with very little fat. Yet having some fat in the body is necessary, if ovulation is to occur. Therefore if on account of exercising too much, you have almost no fat in the body, a problem arises. You are unable to ovulate. This in turn leads to major menstrual irregularity.
This can be one of the potential causes of period irregularity that are very hard to think about. It may ultimately take a visit to a very keen NHS or private gynaecology clinic in London to consider this as a possible factor.
4. Gaining or losing weight too drastically
Weight gain or loss that is too drastic tends to affect the hormones in certain ways. For instance, if it is a very drastic weight gain, it leads to a high level of testosterone in the body which prevents ovulation. That causes period irregularity. A similar effect is noted with regard to drastic weight loss due to eating disorders. This will also cause hormonal imbalance which leads to period irregularity.
5. The presence of certain infections
Infections have a tendency to cause some degree of inflammation in the uterus. That can result in period abnormalities. Here, we are not just making reference to sexually transmitted infections. Most other bacterial infections have the same effect. And the effect is also noted with regard to pelvic inflammation infections. Besides making the period bleeding more profuse, these infections may also worsen the cramping in a major way.
6. Use of antidepressants and other prescription medications
When one takes these medications, a certain hormone called prolactin tends to be affected. That has an effect on other hormones, including the ones which regulate the monthly cycle. Thus the net effect of using such medications can be a period irregularity.
7. Being engaged in shift work
Most of our biological functions are regulated by the circadian rhythm. Ovulation and menstruation both are under the control of this rhythm. Now when one engages in shift work, the circadian rhythm is disrupted. That sets off a chain of events, with one of the end results that is period irregularity. Women who keep on rotating from one shift to another suffer the worst effect in that regard. But women who work stable shifts (even if those are only night shifts) are somewhat better off.
8. Suffering from a thyroid disorder
This may be hyperthyroidism, which is the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Or it may be hypothyroidism – which is the underproduction of thyroid hormones. Either way, once thyroid hormones are impacted, it tends to affect most other hormones in the body. And that includes the hormones which regulate menstruation. So one can end up with missed periods for several months due to this reason.
9. Being a smoker
Many studies have shown that being a smoker is associated with period irregularity. Smokers’ periods tend to be shorter. They also tend to be more irregular. Furthermore, PMS for smokers is typically worse than for other people.
10. Having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
When a woman has PCOS, there are higher levels of androgen hormones circulating in her body. The androgen hormones affect the ovulation process, in fact, it stops ovulation. If ovulation is stopped then progesterone release is stopped and you don’t get your period.
11. Having higher than normal levels of hormones like prolactin
The levels of the said hormones may rise due to the presence of growths/tumours in the pituitary gland. Or it may be due to the usage of certain prescription medications. Either way, when the levels of such hormones are higher than normal, menstruation tends to be affected. Then the periods may become irregular.
12. Suffering from diabetes that is not undercontrol
Diabetes does not just cause blood sugar levels to be high, it also tends to induce period irregularities, especially if it is not controlled. This applies to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Moreover, it can cause menopause to set in earlier.
If you have irregular periods, it may be due to any of these factors. The most important thing is to narrow down the most likely cause. Our best Private GP London clinic can provide further help in the diagnostic process.