Menstruation refers to the cycle caused by the rhythms of reproductive hormones. These hormones produce physical changes. They trigger the growth of follicles in the ovaries, ovulation, and your period.
What does cycle regularity mean? A “normal” menstrual cycle aligns with a woman’s hormonal cycle. Menstrual cycle length is measured by the number of days between periods. For most women, the average menstrual cycle length is between 24 to 38 days. It is normal for cycles to vary in length by a few days. For example, if your cycle is 27 days one month and 30 the next month.
Your cycle may be irregular if your menstrual cycle fluctuates more than 7 to 9 days each month. It may also irregular if a period lasts for more than 8 days, you bleed heavily, or experience a high level of pain.
What causes menstrual irregularities
Many factors can cause reproductive hormonal imbalance and throw off your cycle, including:
- Changing or stopping hormonal birth control
- Sleep changes
- Stress levels
- Jet lag or long-distance travel
- Physical and/or emotional changes
- Dietary changes
- Medications and/or substance use
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Extreme weight loss or weight gain
- Exercise level
- Disordered eating or not getting enough caloric energy
- Uterine fibroids
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
How irregular periods affect your fertility
An irregular period can make getting pregnant more challenging than it already is. A woman's window of fertility during her cycle is already small. Irregular menstruation can make it difficult to track and identify when your chances of conceiving are highest.
Improving cycle regularity
There are common factors that affect the cycles of many of the women in our community. We’ve compiled a list of tips on how to improve menstruation regularity.
1. Introduce a stress management routine
A high stress level is one of the most common reasons women experience irregular cycles. Stress can delay your period or cause spotting. Try adding a walk, stretch, or meditation session to your daily routine.
2. Check your exercise level
Exercise can cause subtle changes to your hormone levels. If you exercise regularly, you may experience breakthrough bleeding due to hormone changes. Frequent or intense exercise may result in exercise-induced amenorrhea (a missed period). A sedentary lifestyle may also affect cycle regularity and symptoms.
3. Take a look at your diet
Your diet and eating routine can cause hormonal imbalances. Do you tend to skip meals, binge on junk food, have symptoms of a nutrient deficiency, or overeat? These may be causing cycle irregularity. Ensure you're getting enough healthy fats from foods like avocados and fatty fish. Fiber from cruciferous vegetables and fermented foods can also help with cycle regularity.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Weight loss or gain can trigger changes in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Speak with your doctor about what is a healthy weight for you.
Shout out to hardworking Premama product user, Andranise Holliday. Andranise lost 100 lbs in preparation for her motherhood journey.
5. Get into a regular sleep routine
Sleep needs are determined by age, as well as genetic tendencies, environment, and behaviors can also affect how much sleep you need. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that most adults get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
6. Consider natural supplements
To help your hardworking hormones, check your supplement routine. Are you getting enough folate, folic acid, vitamin B, and vitamin D to nourish your body? Premama’s Cleanse is a natural supplement formulated with hormone-regulating nutrients. The key ingredient, Chasteberry, helps to lower prolactin and raise progesterone levels.
7. Know when it’s time to see a doctor or other healthcare provider
In some cases, irregular periods could be the result of PCOS, a thyroid problem, or damage to the uterus. Consider seeing a doctor if you have:
- Not had a period in 3 months or more
- A period more than once every 21 days
- A period less than once every 35 days
- Periods that last for more than a week at a time
- Bled through more than one menstrual product an hour
- Passed blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
If you have regular periods but can’t get pregnant, it is always a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider.
Keep in mind, there is no perfectly “regular” menstrual cycle. We all have different lives and bodies. There are lots of factors that may affect your hormones. Premama’s Cleanse is an easy and natural way to help improve cycle regularity.