Irregular periods can be like texts from dating site playboys—you have to watch for patterns and understand that the symptoms are part of a larger problem.
One thing that’s absolutely indispensable to life is consistency. :)
Whether you’re working out, trying to date, or getting your period; consistency helps things happen without interruption. Naturally, thus, when consistency is interrupted, there are repercussions…
Normal Period Cycles
For most human females, the menstrual cycle or period bleeding lasts anywhere between 24 and 38 days.
Bats, meanwhile, have period cycles that are between 21 and 27 days long; while the tiny jumping elephant shrew has a cycle that lasts 13 to 18 weeks. Facts, that may or may not be your next conversation opener on Bumble.
Getting back to the topic on hand, though, apart from trying 17 pimple creams, feeling pretty horny and hating your vagina, period bleeding usually consists of two processes called menstruation and ovulation.
How do these work? Simple:
Just like English Regency era-mothers (in Bidgerton) wanted their girls to get married to the best man available, the ovary wants each of its eggs to get fertilized by the healthiest, most potent, most virile sperm possible. Thus, every ovulation cycle, an egg leaves the safety of the ovary, travels down the fallopian tube and waits for her Duke or Viscount Sperm at the Uterine Ball wall. If such a liaison fails, the daughter remains a spinster while the egg and its surrounding endometrial lining are destroyed and shed—resulting in period bleeding, or a menstrual period.
This great ovarian waltz usually works like clockwork, with each period lasting between 2 to 7 days. However, sometimes issues in the environment (or a Lady Whistledown) can cause this process to function a little less perfectly—resulting in the hellish phase called irregular periods.
Alexa, define ‘irregular’?
Depending on whether you’ve ever lived with a male sibling or in a hostel, the words ‘less perfect’ may mean different things. Issues in the period cycle, just like your online boys, usually express themselves in set patterns. You simply have to know what to watch out for. Here’s a list:
- The time between each period, like his texts, begins to change. This time it’s 28 days, next month it’s 45, then suddenly you’re down on Day 17.
- You lose more or less blood than usual, leaving you tense and exhausted, just like what you feel because of his constant games. (Important to note: Unnaturally heavy bleeding is called menorrhagia. Read about it here.)
- The number of days that your period lasts for changes too, just like the quality of his excuses for why he can’t meet you.
- And, you begin to experience bleeding or spotting, which seems out of place, exactly like how you feel because he hasn’t introduced any of his friends to you.
The solution? Forget the guy and book yourself a gynaecologist appointment. Irregular periods, menorrhagia and heartbreak are usually accompanied by headaches, breakouts, disturbed sleep patterns, breast soreness, mood swings, bloating, back stiffness or loose stools—and that’s too many red flags to be anything good.
While glimpsing into the abyss and wondering why the Lord Shri Genetics Bhagwan blessed you with a sluggish metabolism may not help, understanding why you’re dating one of ‘those guys’ or experiencing irregular periods may.
While we’ll let you and your besties arrive at reasons for the first, the most common reason for the second (thanks to the cinema), is thought to be pregnancy. Unsafe sex or the failure of contraception can take you straight from Happy Valentine’s Day to Happy Mother’s Day, but that is not always the reason.
Irregular periods, more often than not, are a symptom of a larger issue and may also be caused by:
- Hormonal birth control pills or intrauterine devices can change your cycle or increase the amount of bleeding.
- Breastfeeding, which is triggered by a hormone called prolactin that suppresses the hormones that trigger your period cycles.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS a lifestyle disorder that results in eggs not being released properly from the ovary.
- Thyroid problems
- Uterine fibroids, which are small tumors that develop inside the uterus and interfere with its functioning
- Endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that lines your uterus grows outside it
- Being overweight, underweight or suffering through eating disorders
- Stress and smoking
- Or even excessive exercise, which can interfere with the production of the hormones that trigger menstruation.
Should I be worried?
Chances are if you’re the kind of person who worries, you’ve already picked up your phone to WhatsApp someone, “DUDE, remember my irregular periods? I think I have…” Whether you have or haven’t, please take a deep breath, calm down and understand that irregular periods could be a symptom of a larger issue such as menorrhagia or PCOS—which is why it is important for you to go immediately and get a diagnosis for what you’re going through.
Just like it is important for you to stalk your new crush online and gather information, it’s important for you to watch your period and record its whereabouts, too. Download a useful period-tracking app and note the duration and frequency of each period; days in which you experience spotting, cramps or pain; and how often you witness irregularities. This data will be a valuable source of information, especially while diagnosing PCOS or menorrhagia.
It’s also a good idea for you to equip yourself with a good cotton pad for your periods. RIO heavy flow pads are cottony soft, super absorbent and built to help those PCOS, menorrhagia or endometriosis.
“What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized,” said Chuck Palahniuk, author of the Fight Club. So, gurl, whether its irregular periods or Tinder boys, go find them!