Having irregular periods is very common now a day with the changing lifestyle and dietary habits. 3 out of the 10 females are having this problem of irregular cycles these days. But before knowing about the irregularities lets understand what are regular periods and what is the physiology behind it.
What is a normal menstrual period?
A menstrual cycle is periods occurring between 25-35 days every month for 2-7 days with mild cramps with no large clots. The blood loss should be between 50 -80 ml and is cranberry red in color and non-fowl smelling. Any variation in this is termed as irregular period.
Why do periods occur?
The ovary of a female has nearly 2 lac eggs. These eggs are very small (2-5mm) present in the ovary. Starting from the beginning of your period one egg starts growing and getting mature under the effect of complex hormonal and biochemical mechanism. This egg reaches a size of 18-20mm and then gets ruptured around the 13-14 day of the cycle. This is the fertile period. The egg stays alive for 24 hours and a sperm stays alive for 72 hours. This egg is now picked up by the fimbria of the fallopian tube. Inside the fallopian tube during its course if it comes in contact with the sperm due to intercourse it fuses and forms embryo or baby. This embryo then travels and reaches the uterine lining and gets implanted or embedded there. If this egg does not come in contact with the sperm, then this is flushes out of the body and after 14 days we get our periods. Periods are the shedding of the uterine lining which was prepared by the body to accept the embryo.
What are the different irregularities in the periods?
- Oligo menorrhea: periods happening after more than 35 days.
- Poly menorrhea: periods happening before 21 days.
- Hypo menorrhea: blood loss of less than 25 ml or lasting for less than 2 days.
- Menorrhagia: blood loss of more than 80ml or lasting for more than 7 days.
- Dysmenorrhea: painful periods.
- Amenorrhea: no periods at all.
What are the causes of irregular periods?
There are many variable causes of this like
- Stress: this is one of the biggest reason these days. Stress produces oxidative species in our body that can harm our gametes. Stress also has effect on some hormones like prolactin and thyroid that can hamper our cycles.
- Diet: excess eating and excess dieting both can harm and irregularize the cycles. Certain seeds consumed during dieting can also produce irregularity.
- Bad lifestyle: irregular sleep pattern can be harmful.
- Contraceptive pills: undue use of emergency contraceptive pills like ipill can cause serious harm to the cycle.
- Chronic disease: certain disease like anemia, tuberculosis, kidney disease, typhoid, high fever, etc. can cause temporary irregularity.
- Reproductive disease: disease like PCOD, endometriosis, fibroid uterus, hyperthyroidism, hyperprolactinemia, uterine polyp, poor ovarian reserve, etc. can present mainly as irregular periods.
How can these irregularities effect your fertility?
Very short or very long cycles can be indication of an ovulatory cycles. Which mean that there is no ovulation or rupture of egg happening and these are just hormonal periods. If that is the case, then obviously you know that pregnancy won’t happen. This happens in PCOD and poor ovarian reserve.
In certain diseases like fibroid uterus, uterine polyp, tuberculosis and endometriosis the blood flow could be more or less and there can be painful periods. In these due to various inflammatory processes happening in the body the transportation mechanism of the reproductive system is lost. So the egg won’t get picked or the egg and the sperm won’t be able to travel properly. Due to this pregnancy would be difficult.
Cycle irregularities due to stress can produce oxidative species that can harm the eggs and these quality which in term can hamper their capacity to fertilize with the sperm.
So, if you are trying to conceive and having irregular cycles than it could be an indication of some problem happening inside your system. So don’t delay it and definitely take help. As all these problem can be cured with the treatment.