Menstrual cycles typically last four to seven days but differ in various women. Although a woman normally has her period every 28 days, normal menstrual cycles can last anywhere from 21 to 35 days. Menstrual irregularities include missing three or more consecutive periods, having periods that are substantially lighter or heavier than normal, and having cycles that are fewer than 21 days or more than 35 days apart, shares Dr. Ashoka Varshini Panga, Corporate Pathologist, Apollo Diagnostics. In this article, we delve into the irregularities in menstruation as well as how to identify and manage them.
How are irregular menstrual (period) cycles diagnosed?
Dr. Niranjan Nayak, Zonal Technical Chief West, Apollo Diagnostics recommends keeping a detailed note of when your period starts and finishes, the volume of flow, and whether or not you pass significant blood clots if your menstrual cycle has changed in any way. Menstrual cramps or discomfort, bleeding between periods, and other symptoms should also be noted.
- Your medical history and menstrual cycle should be discussed with your doctor.
- They do a physical examination, which can include a Pap test and a pelvic exam.
- The following tests, among others, may be requested by the doctor:
- Blood test to rule out anaemia or other medical conditions
- Samples can be taken from the vagina to check for infections
- A pelvic ultrasound examination to look for ovarian cysts, polyps, or uterine fibroids
To identify endometriosis, hormonal imbalances, or malignant cells, a sample of tissue from the uterine lining is extracted during an endometrial biopsy. A surgery known as laparoscopy, in which the doctor makes a tiny incision in the abdomen and inserts a thin tube with a light attached to examine the uterus and ovaries, may also be used to identify endometriosis or other disorders.
When should you seek medical help in case of irregular menstruation?
If you experience any of the following signs, get medical consultation right away:
- Severe discomfort before, during, or after periods
- Unusually intense bleeding (soaking a tampon or pad through every hour for two to three hours) or passing big clots
- A strange or unpleasant-smelling vaginal discharge
- Extreme fever
- Duration of more than seven days
- Vaginal bleeds or spotting before or after menstruation or following menopause
- After having experienced normal menstrual cycles, your periods start to become extremely erratic
- Vomiting or nauseous during your period
- Toxic shock syndrome signs include a temperature of above 102 degrees, vomiting, diarrhoea, lightheadedness, or fainting.
How can the risk of irregular menstruation (periods) be reduced?
Dr. Niranjan Nayak suggests some tips for taking care of yourself and managing your period irregularities:
- Engage in moderate exercise and consuming wholesome meals
- If you must lose weight, do so gradually rather than using regimens that severely restrict your food and calorie consumption.
- Ensure that you receive adequate sleep.
- Use relaxation and stress-reduction practices.
- If you are an athlete, reduce the amount of time you spend engaging in strenuous activity. A lot of sports might lead to irregular periods.
- Follow the directions on birth control tablets or other contraceptive methods.
- To prevent infections, replace your sanitary napkins every four to six hours.
Visit a doctor for routine examinations to prevent menstrual issues.
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