Everything you need to know about irregular cycles
If your cycle is irregular, it usually means that your period is irregular. In science, regular cycles with a length of 24 to 36 days are considered healthy cycles. Of course, it should be noted that not every cycle is always the same length. There are natural variations from woman to woman and from cycle to cycle. In the case of cycle disorders, in most cases there is no regular cycle. We can differentiate between cycle disorders depending on whether they affect the frequency of bleeding or the intensity of bleeding.
Cycle disorders that affect the frequency of bleeding would be:
- Polymenorrhea (a period that occurs too frequently)
- Oligomenorrhea (a period that occurs too infrequently)
- Amenorrhoea (a period that does not occur at all)
Cycle disorders that affect the amount of bleeding would be:
- Hypomenorrhea (a period that is too heavy)
- Hypomenorrhea (a very light & short period)
- Menorrhagia (a heavy, unusually prolonged period)
Spotting should also be mentioned here, because spotting is also a common symptom of cycle disorders and can occur at any time in the cycle.
Possible causes of cycle disorders
If you have an irregular cycle, this can have many different causes. In the case of cycle irregularities, physical causes should always be clarified first by a gynaecological examination.
Physical causes can be, for example:
- cervical abnormalities
- inflammation of the uterus
Often, however, cycle disorders are also caused by hormonal factors. If in doubt, it is advisable to get your hormonal status checked.
Possible hormonal causes could be, for example:
- estrogen deficiency or excess
- progesterone deficiency
- increased prolactin levels
- androgen excess
- thyroid dysfunction
If you are looking for possible reasons for irregular cycles, you should always bear in mind that the female cycle is a very complex system based on a fine interplay of different hormones. Of course, this system can easily become unbalanced due to external influences. External factors such as stress (in private life or at work), extreme or competitive sports and strict diets or eating disorders can thus also lead to cycle disorders.
Can cycle disorders be caused by stress?
It is now scientifically proven that severe stress (whether physical or psychological) can lead to hormonal imbalances in both women and men and thus to cycle disorders. This stress can be of various origins: the private environment, the work environment or the job itself. An unbalanced or unhealthy diet and contact with toxins and harmful chemicals can also be perceived as stress by the body.
Can cycle disorders be caused by medication?
Taking certain medication can also lead to cycle disorders. If you notice abnormalities in the cycle in connection with taking certain medicines, this should definitely be discussed with a doctor you trust.
What is an irregular period?
If you are healthy and normally have regular cycles, your periods should come in regular intervals of 24 to 36 days. Small fluctuations of a few days are normal and usually no cause for concern. However, if your period is significantly delayed, you should look for the cause. After six weeks without bleeding, a delayed period can be considered a missed period.
Can you get pregnant with an irregular cycle?
The egg can be fertilised for up to 24 hours after it is released into the fallopian tube. If ovulation has taken place, fertilisation can only take place within this window of time. This is why it is so important to be able to estimate the time of ovulation and to determine the fertile window in the cycle. With a very irregular cycle, the fertile phase and thus ovulation are unfortunately usually very difficult to determine correctly and it is essential to find out why the cycles are irregular in the first place.
I have an irregular cycle after stopping the pill
The cycle is often rather irregular in the first few months after stopping the pill, and the first menstruation is often delayed for quite some time. Again, this varies from woman to woman and from case to case. Some women’s cycles return to their natural rhythm within a short amount of time, while for others it can take a long time. To a certain extent, it is ‘normal’ to have irregular cycles after stopping the pill. It just means that the body is imbalanced and is trying to get back into balance. Of course, it makes sense to support the body as much as possible and to prepare well in advance of stopping the pill.
Irregular periods in teenagers
In adolescence, the cycle is often irregular, which means that the frequency and duration of periods can vary greatly. Over the course of three years after the first period, the cycle should slowly become more regular. In many cases, a long-term stable cycle pattern does not develop until later.
An irregular cycle after childbirth
When your periods return after pregnancy and how heavy they are varies greatly. It can be a few weeks, but it can also last longer than a year. In any case, irregular periods are not unusual after childbirth. However, ovulation cannot be completely ruled out and you should therefore use a suitable method of contraception even after giving birth.
Does ovulation occur during an irregular cycle?
As a rule, the length of the cycle in healthy women varies between 24 and 36 days. Small fluctuations are normal and no cause for concern. Even in irregular cycles, ovulation usually takes place and can be determined. In this case, however, it is important to look at each cycle individually, to pay close attention to the body’s signals and not to rely purely on predictions. Fluctuations in the menstrual cycle are often associated with stress, and after the stressful phase the cycle quickly returns to a normal length. However, if significant fluctuations occur frequently or if the cycle is suddenly repeatedly much longer or shorter, this may be a cause for concern.
Does Agnus Castus help with an irregular cycle?
Agnus Castus belongs to the verbena family and is said to have a hormone-regulating effect. Studies show that Agnus Castus causes less prolactin to be released in the brain. In pregnant women, the hormone prolactin stimulates milk production in the breast. If prolactin levels are too high in non-pregnant women, this can negatively affect the menstrual cycle. Based on this fact, experts assume that Agnus Castus is only helpful for menstrual disorders if there are elevated prolactin levels and these are connected to the cycle irregularities.
Is it possible to treat cycle disorders naturally?
Women who struggle with cycle irregularities report that their quality of life is greatly reduced. As we already know, abnormalities in cycle health often indicate an underlying hormonal imbalance. If you want to treat cycle disorders naturally, you should start with targeted strategies in the area of nutrition and lifestyle.
Natural remedies for cycle disorders
If you experience cycle disorders, you can try to support and regulate your cycle in a natural way with herbs before resorting to harder methods. The knowledge of naturopathy is ancient knowledge that our ancestors already knew about.