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What are the Common Causes of Frequent Menstruation?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Not every woman menstruates once exactly each month, as some experience polymenorrhea, or abnormally frequent periods. This problem is defined as menstruation about every 21 days or less, leading to what seems like too many periods since they are so frequent. This issue may be caused by underlying conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis. Stress can also be a factor, as this issue often plays a part in various menstrual abnormalities. Finally, excessive use of some common legal drugs may also cause frequent menstruation, including alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.

Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is a condition that often results in pelvic pain, a fever, and irregular vaginal bleeding, which may include frequent menstruation. PID is often caused by sexually transmitted diseases that most frequently include gonorrhea and chlamydia. The good news is that once the disease is treated with a few different antibiotics, the polymenorrhea should go away, along with the other symptoms. On the other hand, some women suffer from endometriosis, which can also cause frequent menstruation, in addition to pelvic pain and infertility. One of the most common treatments for endometriosis includes birth control pills, which can also usually get rid of the issue of multiple periods since most women use the pill to skip their period altogether.

Among the most common culprits of menstrual abnormalities is stress, so it stands to reason that this issue is sometimes the cause of too frequent menstruation. Both emotional and physical stress can change the hormonal balance in the body, leading to periods that are either delayed or too early. Of course, the issue of frequent menstruation should typically only last about as long as the stress does if this is indeed the cause. Thus, getting help for the stress, whether in the form of therapy or medication, may solve the problem.

The body also often sees certain medications as stressors, and they can have a negative impact on the reproductive system. For example, excessive caffeine intake can lead to frequent menstruation since it can interrupt the process of the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone so that the uterine lining can thicken up in preparation of possible implantation of an embryo. Use of nicotine through cigarettes can also have an impact on the menstrual cycle, as both the follicular and luteal phases may be shortened, leading to more frequent periods. Finally, excessive consumption of alcohol can also negatively affect the cycle, as it may reduce the ability of the liver to metabolize progesterone and estrogen correctly.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Oct 22, 2013

@fify-- I do experience irregular periods when I'm under a lot of stress at work, but they're usually late instead of early.

The only time I had frequent menstruation was when I took a morning after pill. The morning after pill prevents pregnancy by causing menstruation. But since I had just finished a period, it was weird to have another one so soon. I also felt very tired and moody.

By donasmrs — On Oct 22, 2013

@fify-- Has anything changed in your life? Are you under stress? Are you on new medications? Do you have another symptoms or health problems?

There can be many different causes of frequent menstrual periods and the article went through some. You might want to wait and see what happens next month. If everything is back to normal next month, it must be a temporary issue due to stress or natural hormonal changes. If you have the same issue next month, definitely make an appointment with your gynecologist.

By fify — On Oct 21, 2013

This month, I had two periods, a little over a week apart. I've never experienced menstrual problems like this before. I'm worried, what might be the cause? Should I see a doctor?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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