Northside Gynaecology is dedicated to helping women experience better periods.
Periods are healthy processes in a woman’s body where – if conception does not occur – the uterine lining sheds after a month of preparation for potential pregnancy.
However, sometimes menstrual cycles become irregular, and this can bring feelings of confusion, concern, or distress. Understanding what irregular periods are and what treatment options are available can help you choose your next steps. Journey with Northside Gynaecology for individualised, compassionate care.
What is a “Normal” Period?
Every woman’s menstrual cycle is unique, and while there are variations in cycle length, flow, and symptoms, menstruation generally follows a consistent pattern. A typical menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days, although “normal” periods can range from 21 to 35 days. Bleeding typically lasts between two and seven days, and accompanying symptoms may include mild cramping, breast tenderness, and mood changes.
What is an Irregular Period?
Sometimes, menstrual cycles do not fall within what is considered “normal”. Most women will experience at least one irregular period, and consistent irregularities require attention.
An irregular period refers to a menstrual cycle that deviates from the typical pattern or duration.
Some common manifestations of irregular periods include:
Cycle Length Variability
Irregular periods involve fluctuations in the length of the menstrual cycle. The time between periods may vary from month to month, with cycles lasting less than 21 days (polymenorrhea) or longer than 35 days (oligomenorrhea).
- You can identify the length of your menstrual cycle by noting the start date of your period for numerous consecutive months. You can also track your periods with apps like
Irregular periods may also involve changes in menstrual flow volume, duration, or consistency.
This may include:
- Unusually heavy bleeding (menorrhagia)
- Prolonged periods that last more than seven days
- Episodes of spotting between periods
Irregular periods can also manifest as missed periods (amenorrhea), where periods occur less frequently than every few months.
Other Associated Symptoms
Women with irregular periods may also experience additional symptoms such as:
- Severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- Mood changes
- Weight fluctuations
- Heavier or lighter periods
- Other physical and emotional changes
Causes of Irregular Periods
Irregular periods can be caused by various factors, including:
- Hormonal imbalances, particularly regarding estrogen and progesterone.
- Weight loss or weight gain.
- Excessive exercise.
- Stopping, starting, or changing certain contraceptive options.
- Puberty – it is common for menstrual cycles to be irregular for the first few years as hormone levels stabilise.
- Menopause – hormone levels fluctuate, leading to irregular periods before menstruation ceases altogether.
- Uterine abnormalities, such as polyps, fibroids, or adenomyosis.
- Ovulation irregularities due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or premature ovarian failure.
- Certain medications, such as those used to treat epilepsy or psychiatric disorders.
- Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Lifestyle factors, including poor nutrition, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, and drug use.
- Recent miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Recent childbirth or breastfeeding.
The specialists at Northside Gynaecology can effectively assess the cause of your irregular periods through discussions and testing, which may include blood tests, pelvic examinations, pelvic ultrasounds, and the collection of vaginal cultures. Understanding the underlying cause can inform proper treatment approaches for your health and wellness.
Treatment Options for Irregular Periods
You don’t have to suffer silently; you have options. At Northside Gynaecology, the experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate specialists gently conduct examinations, review medical history, and collaboratively discuss goals to conclude which treatment option is most appropriate for you. Below is a list of treatment options available to manage irregular periods and foster well-being:
Managing stress levels, maintaining a healthy weight through balanced nutrition and moderate exercise, avoiding excessive alcohol consumption and smoking, and getting enough rest can improve menstrual experiences.
If an underlying condition is causing irregular periods, treating the condition can help regulate the menstrual cycle.
This medication can help regulate the menstrual cycle by stabilising hormone levels. Symptoms such as heavy bleeding and cramping may also be reduced.
Hormonal IUDs consistently release hormones, resulting in more regular and less painful menstrual cycles.
This may involve over-the-counter pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heat therapy, and relaxation techniques.
In certain cases, hormone therapy may be prescribed to regulate hormone levels and restore regular menstrual cycles. This approach is commonly used in perimenopausal and menopausal women.
In severe instances, surgical procedures may be recommended to address structural abnormalities that cause irregular periods.
Should I See a Doctor?
If you are concerned about your menstrual cycle, it is a good idea to consult with your GP and request a referral to the specialists at Northside Gynaecology for individualised support. For irregular period concerns, you should specifically visit your GP if you are experiencing the following:
- Late or early periods for three consecutive months
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- No period for three months
- Infrequent periods, occurring after less than three weeks or after more than five weeks
- You are 16 or 17 years old and have not started menstruating
For empathetic, evidence-based care that supports healthy menstruation and improves quality of life, visit Northside Gynaecology.
Contact the friendly team for more information.