This cycle of life allows young women to mature and develop sexual characteristics. A “period” is the time in this cycle when the body prepares for a pregnancy by cleaning the uterus. New cells cover the uterine walls while fresh oxygenated blood supply becomes available for the fertilized egg. Women between the ages of 35 and 45 may experience irregular periods. The lack of regulated menstruation or “period” can be an indication that the years of fertility are coming to an end. In some instances, however, irregular periods can be a sign of illness or other medical problems.
Irregular Menstrual CyclesFor approximately 28 days each month women cycle through ovulation and menstruation. During ovulation, an egg drops from the ovaries and rests along the uterine walls. If the egg is not fertilized it drops and takes with it the cells and blood supply. This sloughing period allows the uterus to clear any debris. Irregular periods can manifest as spotting, increases in duration, frequency or intensity of blood flow. Any change in an individual menstrual cycle routine can be an irregular period. Periods are as varied as are women.
Some women expel small amounts of blood for several days. Other women have bled intensely, but their period ends abruptly. Any changes for days of the cycle, the blood flow intensity, and other characteristics can indicate an irregular period. Approximately 30 percent of women can experience irregular periods as they enter perimenopause. As the body ages estrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate spiking and ebbing throughout the month.
Symptoms of Irregular Periods
Irregular cycles can manifest as bleeding several times throughout the month or polymenorrhea. Cycles that consist of spotting are known as hypomenorrhea. A heavy and long lasting flow is menorrhagia. Irregular periods that last three months are known as menorrhea when they do not end in pregnancy. Menorrhea can lead to amenorrhea that often indicates the onset of menopause.
Some other technical terms that describe types of irregular periods include polymenorrhea or intense bleeding cycles. Oligomenorrhea is an irregular cycle that is short and appears late in the monthly cycle. Dysmenorrhea signifies a period that includes cramping, blood clotting and pain in the pelvis and abdomen that can be extreme. Each term describes a variety of irregular flow, duration or frequency of women’s menstrual cycles.
Women can experience combinations of symptoms depending on stress level, intensity of exercise routines, family genetics, weight loss or weight gain and use of birth control pills, animal or plant synthetic estrogens.
Women should consult a medical professional in the event that periods cause severe or debilitating pain or discomfort. Many women find that a warm bath, a heating pad and reducing stress will regulate their cycles. Irregular periods are a normal consequence of the onset of menopause; pain and cramping are not. Any flow that exceeds the ten-pad-threshold throughout the day is considered extreme. Any cramping or pain that causes involuntary muscle contractions should be evaluated by a medical professional. Women who miss several periods and who are under the age of 35 should contact their doctor. Ectopic pregnancy can cause great risk to a women’s body. An egg can fertilize prior to falling into the uterus and can be dangerous to women.