Some people get their periods like clockwork, others… others can never predict when Aunt Flo will drop by to say hello. We’ve often been told that our periods should be synchronized to a particular date of the month, or a phase of the moon, and that not getting your periods on time is a sign of some underlying health issue. Some even add that it may cause infertility when you grow up.
So… is it true? Let's find out.
A regular period cycle is one that repeats every 24-35 days and lasts between 2 to 8 days; but it has been noticed that irregular periods is a very common condition in teens.
Which leads us to the question: What are irregular periods? Is it normal to have irregular periods as teens? Just what are the reasons behind irregular periods in us girls!?
Maybe we’ll never know. See you in the nex...
Just kidding! Let’s get to answering those questions!
Irregular Periods in Teenage Years
Most teens get their first periods between the ages of 10 and 15, though some girls might start menstruating after, or even before this age range. After a girl’s first period, it can take up to 2 years for a regular, consistent menstrual cycle to develop.
This period is called anovulatory phase – a period when the teen’s body is still getting used to the hormonal changes of puberty and the process of ovulating monthly – the process in which a mature egg is released from the ovary every month in hopes of getting fertilized by a male sperm.
Meaning, it’s not at all unusual for a girl’s periods to be irregular initially, it’s just part of her natural development.
How irregular can these irregular periods be?
Things can get really rocky when sailing the crimson tides! Don’t be surprised when you see these irregular menstruation conditions, they’re normal for teens:
- Periods more than 35 days apart (Oligomenorrhea)
- Painful menstrual periods (Dysmenorrhea)
- Complete absence of periods for a month or two, or even more (Amenorrhea)
- Periods exceeding 8 days (Prolonged periods)
Once your body acknowledges the changes and the hormones produced because of it, ovulation will settle into a cozy monthly pattern, and you can expect regular, predictable periods. Till then, hang in there!
Causes of Irregular Periods in Teens
So, what causes irregular periods? Easy, natural development. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. Sometimes irregular periods can also be caused by factors other than normal development. Listed below are some causes that can cause irregular periods in teens:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Perhaps the most common cause of irregular periods in adults, and a not-so-rare condition in teens. In PCOS, the ovaries develop cysts or fluid filled sacs that slow down the rate of ovulation, or simply stop the process of releasing eggs from the ovaries which can result in irregular or missing periods.
Apart from irregular periods, PCOS can also cause excess weight loss or weight gain, facial hair growth, heavy and painful periods. So, you would know PCOS when you experience it, and when you do, pay a visit to your doctor and they can help you with PCOS.
Too much exercise
Teens are energetic beings and always have some energy to spare but… don’t over-exert yourself, take a break sometimes!
Inadequate calorie intake
Inadequate calorie intake can stop the production of hormones needed for ovulation, which in turn causes your periods to be late or absent. Putting yourself on a healthy dietary plan should get your gear running on time again.
Thyroid disorders can also affect your periods by setting off a cascade of hormonal changes. Sometimes, the medication you are on can play with your hormones and result in irregular periods too. A family history of irregular periods can also be a reason; this time the problem is in the genetic makeup.
Pregnancy. Don’t be surprised, it’s just another possibility that is worth mentioning. If you notice you haven’t been getting periods for a few months in a row, it could be because you’re pregnant if you have been sexually active recently.
Should I Worry About My Irregular Periods?
Yes, when you suspect your irregular periods could be a cause of any medical conditions mentioned above. You should be concerned about your periods when you notice symptoms such as:
- Missing periods for more than 3 months
- Irregular periods for more than 2 years
- Bleeding in-between your periods
- Severe cramping or abdominal pain
- Male-pattern hair growth on your face, chin, chest, or abdomen
- Your periods were regular and suddenly went haywire
Tips for Managing Irregular Periods
Irregular periods will become regular with time. Still, it can be stressful not to know when your periods will start.
Here are some things that can help you manage irregular periods:
Learn the signs of incoming period. This can include cramping, spotting, bloating, tender or swollen breasts, acne, and mood changes.
Keep RIO sanitary pads readily available. Always have a RIO sanitary pad on you so you can never be caught off-guard.
Chat with your mother or other women about their experience. Puberty can be some hard times and hearing how they made it through these frustrating and confusing times can be very reassuring.
Make some wise lifestyle changes. Exercise in moderation, switch to a balanced nutritious diet, and try to maintain a healthy weight.
Have more doubts? The comment section is all yours!
FAQs Related to Irregular Periods in Teens
1. At what age are irregular periods normal?
Irregular periods are normal and nothing to be concerned about in the two years that follow your very first period.
2. Is it normal for teenagers to miss a period?
It’s not uncommon for teenagers to experience irregular periods, which includes missing periods. During the first two after a teenager’s first period, their body would still be going through changes and adapting to changes. Once their body acknowledges the changes completely and makes peace with them, their period will fall into a regular cycle.
3. Is it OK to have irregular periods at 18?
Yes! Irregular periods can be caused by a variety of reasons which makes it OK to have irregular periods at any age. Some of the causes include stress, sudden weight loss or weight gain, hormonal changes, intense exercise. But at the same time, irregular periods can also be caused by some underlying medical conditions such as PCOS, thyroid disorders, endometriosis, etc. so it’s always a good idea to get yourself checked.
4. Can puberty cause irregular periods?
Yes, puberty can cause irregular periods as the body goes through a lot of hormonal changes during this time. Once your body gets used to the hormonal changes, you can expect a regular, predictable period cycle almost every month.
5. How long is it normal to have irregular periods?
It’s okay to have irregular periods for one to two years from your very first period. Your body is still getting used to the hormonal changes during this time, and after one or two years, things should settle down in a pattern and you can expect regular, predictable period.
6. How do you fix irregular periods?
Here are some dietary and lifestyle changes that can fix your irregular periods.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress
- Exercise regularly but do not over-exert yourself
- Follow a healthy diet
- Practice good sleep habits
7. What is the main reason for irregular periods?
Hormonal changes are the main reason for irregular periods in both teens as well as adults. But, there could be certain other reasons as well so, get yourself checked if you experience irregular periods consistently.
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