Early And Late Periods – Reasons Why Your Menstrual Cycle Is Changing
Every woman is a unique individual, so are their menstrual cycles. For some women, periods come at a normal and definite time frame of 21-24 days, but some others might experience a little early or late than the given span of time. Let’s know the possible reasons behind why some women go through the topsy-turvy schedule of this natural cycle.
Reasons for early periods
Menstrual cycle occurs when the lining of the uterus responds to certain hormones. When a girl gets her first period in the teenage years, the hormonal systems are not yet fully developed. It might take up to 5-6 years for these hormonal systems to become consistent. This is one of the reasons why some girls get periods early.
On the other hand, when women reach the peri-menopausal phase, usually the years before her menopause (in the 40s), menstrual cycle can again become irregular causing untimely periods.
Mental stress is a root cause of many diseases, so it can also affect the hormone levels in a woman. If you are persistently anxious, tired or tensed, you could be the best candidate for getting early periods as these stressful situations cause fluctuations in estrogen hormones.
Birth control pills can cause early periods, especially if someone misses a dose or two. Taking morning after pill after unprotected sex may also cause early periods. Other than this, certain blood-thinning medicines such as aspirin and warfarin are also responsible for irregularities in monthly periods.
Diet and Eating habits
Women who have changed their eating habits for trying to lose weight, might experience prematurity in their menstrual schedule. According to some experts, taking caffeine which is a stimulant can also cause early menstrual periods. If you are one of those who is taking a considerable amount of chocolate, coffee, tea or other such beverages, beware, it can imbalance the estrogen level and cause early periods.
Certain undiagnosed gynecological medical conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) can alter the schedule by interfering with the hormones estrogen and progestin. Early periods can also be due to endometriosis. Check with your doctor if you have some underlying condition that is causing your period to consistently arrive early.
Reasons for late periods
While many of the reasons for late periods are pretty much the same as of getting early periods, there are some unique reasons as well.
The butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck is responsible for regulating metabolism in your body. If it becomes overactive or underactive, you would be missing your periods at the expected timeframe.
Just as losing too much weight can cause an imbalance in hormones, so being obese. If your BMI is over 30 and you consistently miss your periods, you must follow up with the doctor. She can chalk out exercise and diet plan.
Certain chronic diseases such as diabetes and celiac disease can put stress on your general system and cause late periods. High blood sugar is linked to changes in hormones and poorly controlled diabetes can make things worse by causing irregularity in periods. Celiac disease, on the other hand, can cause inflammation resulting in damage to the small intestine. This prevents your body from drawing out key nutrients, causing late periods.
Doctor usually recommends moderate exercising to get relief from symptoms of periods. However, if you are undergoing intense workout, you are likely to find irregularities in your periods. In severe cases, excessive exercise such as performed by athletes or in competitive workouts can lead to amenorrhea.
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Late periods and pregnancy
The most classic reason for a missed period is that you might have started nurturing the new bundle of joy inside. If you are pregnant, you are likely to miss your periods, however, in some cases, a light bleeding or spotting may occur. If you haven’t conducted a pregnancy test yet, you should do it before making a visit to the doctor.
But make sure you don’t drink water before conducting a pregnancy test. If you are not pregnant, then the reasons for late periods could be any of the reasons mentioned above.
When to call the doctor?
If you are consistently experiencing either early or late periods, you must seek an appointment with your gynecologist. She is the one who can better diagnose and guide you through the best treatment procedure. But you must keep a record of all the changes occurring in your menstrual cycles before meeting the doctor. This would help diagnose the condition more appropriately.
Don’t forget to keep a tab on below symptoms, if they are accompanying the irregularities you are facing.
- Abnormal heavy bleeding
- Severe pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Bleeding that lasts for more than 7 days
In rare cases, the doctor would also like to check whether you really have some physical problems such as the abnormal shape of uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina. You might also have some extra layer of tissue that is interfering with your normal menstrual cycles. All these can be easily determined by conducting a few imaging tests.