Many women find their menstrual cycle is not always regular. Their periods may be early or late, and may vary in their duration or how heavy they are. Every woman at some point in her life will have a "period" moment which raises a lot of questions.
Though irregular periods are not uncommon, it is important to understand the reasons they happen and what your body is trying to tell you.
A woman will, on average, get her period for three to seven days once a month (every 30 days or so). After menstruating for several years, women tend to settle into a cycle; some women can even predict down to the hour when their periods will come. The amount of blood shed during a period varies from woman to woman. Some women routinely have heavier periods (losing up to 12 teaspoons of blood each month) while others may experience a period that's almost non-existent (losing as little as four teaspoons of blood).
An irregular period is usually defined as any type of bleeding that is abnormal when compared to your last few menstrual cycles. It can include everything from a late period to early bleeding, and scant bleeding to extremely heaving bleeding. If you're not prone to PMS, you can also consider a period irregular if you experience heavy cramping and bloating or headaches.
Every woman will experience an irregular period from time-to-time, and though, in most cases, they aren't dangerous. However, it is important to figure out what is causing the irregularity. The common reasons are:
Pregnancy – When pregnant, the female body produces different levels of hormones that cause menstruation to stop. In some cases, however, women will experience lighter-than-normal flows or late periods before menstruation ends altogether. If there's a chance you may be pregnant, speak with your doctor.
Breast-feeding – Many women do not resume regular periods until they have completed breast-feeding.
Stress – Stress is the most common cause of irregular periods. Cortisol, the stress hormone, has a direct impact on how much estrogen and progesterone, two sex hormones, gets produced by the body. If you have too much cortisol in your bloodstream, the time and flow of your cycle could change.
Diet – Another common reason for a late or missing period is the food you eat and, more specifically, the weight you are carrying. If you are eating a diet that is rich in unhealthy carbs or if you have gained weight, your body will produce varying levels of certain hormones, shifting when you ovulate.
Birth control pills – It can take several months for your body to get used to the dose of hormones birth control pills deliver.
Excessive alcohol – The liver helps regulate a woman's menstrual cycle by metabolizing estrogen and progesterone. Excessive drinking can cause damage to the liver and may interfere with how well it metabolizes both period-normalizing hormones.
Home Remedies for Irregular Periods
Sesame Seeds & Jaggery
Sesame seeds are useful in regulating menstrual cycles as they help balance your hormones. They are loaded with lignans that help bind excess hormones. Plus, they contain essential fatty acids that promote optimal hormone production. Jaggery, too, helps regulate menstrual cycles due to its warming effects.
Dry roast a handful of sesame seeds. Grind them along with one teaspoon of jaggery into a fine powder. Take one teaspoon of this powder daily on an empty stomach in the luteal phase, or second half of your menstrual cycle (two weeks before your period starts), for a few months. Simply eating a piece of jaggery, also known as gur, will also help regulate menstruation.
Bitter gourd, though bitter, can be very effective in the treatment of irregular periods. You can consume bitter gourd juice, or decoction, as you please. The bitter gourd juice should be taken twice a day and the decoction can be taken once or twice daily, for some weeks, to get rid of irregular periods.
Fennel seeds can be included in your daily food, for inducing the regularity of your periods. You can mix two tablespoons of fennel seeds into a glass of water, and leave it overnight. Next morning strain the water and drink it. You need to drink this decoction daily, to regularize your menses.
Papaya is probably the most effective home remedy for irregular periods. You can have one unripe papaya daily, to get rid of this problem.
Ginger & Honey
Take some raw ginger and consume it with honey. Daily consumption would definitely provide relief from irregularity of your periods.
Being a warming herb, turmeric is also considered helpful in regulating menstruation and balancing hormones. It also helps stimulate menstrual flow. Moreover, its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties relieve menstrual pain.
Consume one-quarter teaspoon of turmeric with milk, honey or jaggery. Take it daily for several weeks or until you see improvement. You can also take turmeric in supplement form; consult your doctor for proper dosage.
Boil one teaspoon of coriander seeds in two cups of water until the quantity of water reduces to one cup. Strain the seeds from the liquid. Drink this three times daily for a few days prior to your period. Do this for a few months. You can also drink coriander juice daily for a few months.
Being a good source of iron, carrot juice is another simple home remedy for irregular menstrual periods. Raw carrots also boost proper hormone functioning. Drink a glass of carrot juice regularly for three months. You can combine it with other vegetable juices as well.
In addition to carrot juice, include corn, lettuce, beets, drumsticks, and pumpkin seeds in your diet. It is believed that drinking sugarcane juice for a week or two prior to your expected periods helps with regulation.