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What can I do About an Irregular Menstruation Cycle?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are many potential causes of an irregular menstruation cycle. Some of these are completely benign and others signify the need for treatment. Treatment may involve self-care measures such as reducing stress, eating healthfully and modulating exercise. Medical treatments could address hormonal irregularities which may be causing an irregular menstruation cycle.

The irregular menstruation cycle is defined against what is considered normal. Normal cycles for the first two years after first menstruation are defined as 21-45 days, and after that time, a normal cycle is 21-35 days. It is also normal for all women to have the occasional missed period or early or late period, and an irregular menstrual cycle is considered a consistent pattern of abnormally timed periods. A single missed period in all sexually active women shouldn’t be ignored because it may be due to pregnancy.

Generally, there is no treatment for irregular menstruation cycle for newly menstruating girls because cycles can fluctuate. Over the first two years, periods tend to regulate and come at a more regular time each month. They are usually no more than 35 days apart. Cycles become expectedly abnormal again during perimenopause, which may occur as early as the late 30s, and lasts until menopause.

It is challenging to determine treatments for an irregular menstruation cycle due to the large number of causal factors. Women who are routinely experiencing irregular periods may want to first take their concerns to a gynecologist. If there is no evidence of a medical cause, like hormonal imbalance, suspicion of eating disorders or possible sexually transmitted disease (STDs), preliminary steps toward treating the condition could be advice to reduce stress or change eating habits.

In some populations, such as in early and late adolescence, doctors may look for certain issues. Conditions like anorexia or bulimia may create an ongoing irregular menstrual cycle. Sexually transmitted diseases can also cause this issue. Competitive athletes in their teens may experience complete cessation of periods (amenorrhea) or irregularity. Treatment is dependent on cause. The competitive athlete doesn’t require treatment, but could reduce her activity if she wants her periods to resume, but these other issues require more medical intervention.

Sometimes hormonal imbalances play a role in the irregular menstruation cycle. These imbalances could be caused by too much or too little of hormones like estrogen, or too much testosterone, which women usually manufacture in very small amounts. Additional hormones that may regulate production of female and male hormones include thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can affect monthly cycles.

Supplementation of appropriate hormones may address these imbalances and create more regular cycles. Hormonal treatment may also be prescribed to regulate the perfectly normal cycle deviations that begin to occur in perimenopause. Typically hormone treatment is used to increase fertility, as birth control, or to reduce menopausal symptoms. Treatment isn’t usually necessary for irregular cycles unless they are causing other areas of concern.

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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By amypollick — On Jan 22, 2013

@anon315152: I'm from the U.S., and our school systems are different, so I don't know how old you would have been when you were in seventh standard. In any case, some women just have infrequent periods. However, there's no question you need to see a gynecologist and get a check up to make sure nothing else is going on. That's just taking good care of yourself. You need to see a doctor, to make sure everything is O.K.

By anon315152 — On Jan 22, 2013

I started getting my periods when was in 7th standard. For the past six years, I have not been getting my periods monthly. I get my periods once every six months or eight months. Is there any risk from this? Please help me.

By amypollick — On Apr 24, 2012

@anon263375: Depending on the length of her cycle, she could be pregnant.

She needs to take a home pregnancy test. You both may have some decisions to make.

By anon263375 — On Apr 24, 2012

I'm a guy so please excuse my question. My girlfriend had her period about one month ago, but about nine or ten days before we had sex. Today it's four or five days past her period time, and still there is no symptom for her period. Can someone clear this up for me?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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