By Robyn Srigley, BA, PTS, CNP, NNCP
Aunt Flo can be such a kill joy. Bleeding for a week every month can be a real nuisance! As strong, independent women, being bogged down by cramps, mood swings, headaches and fatigue can put a real damper on the wonderful things we do in our lives every day. But what happens when we don’t get our periods on a regular basis?
This happens to women through all walks of life, for many different reasons. It’s so important to not only recognize that irregular periods aren’t normal, but that they could be an indication of something more serious. See if you’re on track with Aunt Flo below.
Young & Beautiful Women (Puberty – 20 Years Old)
Okay young ladies – listen up! We often feel like our periods are something to be ashamed of, or to be kept under wraps. Get those thoughts out of your head right now! As intelligent young ladies, you know that having a monthly period is important to your health. It is a sign of our true biological fertility. Don’t let your discomfort with your menstrual cycle stop you from speaking up when something goes wrong.
For ladies your age, often an irregular period comes simply from imbalanced hormones. As you grow into womanhood, there are TONS of hormones running your body every second. Sometimes, they get a little jumbled up! It’s when you’ve never had a regular period or all of a sudden have irregular periods that it’s time to take more action.
In the meantime, try to keep a log of your cycles so you get more used to what they’re like. There’s tons of apps out there for your smart phone that track not only your cycle, but also the symptoms you may be experiencing. My personal favourite is iPeriod. This amazing app will also let you know when to expect a period based on your past cycles! Truly amazing.
The possibilities of why irregular periods happen are endless, but read on into the next section to learn a few of them.
Successful & Dazzling Women (21 – 44 Years Old)
Phew! Puberty is over. What a relief! Unless of course you’re experiencing irregular periods. But never fear – there is always a solution! Check out the top 4 reasons you may have irregular periods below.
1. Low Progesterone, High Estrogen
This is the most common reason for irregular periods. With the harmful xenoestrogens we encounter through chemicals, food additives and plastics, our main reproductive hormones are often out of sync. We need to have higher progesterone than estrogen during the last half of our cycle in order to have a regular period. If this doesn’t happen, our body struggles to be able to shed the lining of the uterus, and ovulation may not happen at all. You may notice this is happening if you get breakouts, mood swings and start to gain extra fat in the thighs and butt!
This is common sense one, ladies. If you’re sexually active, usually have regular periods and all of a sudden stop, or your period comes less often or has lighter flow, you could be pregnant! If you suspect this, try an at-home pregnancy test before jumping to other conclusions!
3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS affects 1 out of every 10 women out there. In the US, as many as 5 million women may be affected. One of the main symptoms of PCOS is irregular periods. Some women go months and some years without a period. PCOS is also accompanied by excessive hair growth, blood sugar instability, acne and weight gain, especially in the mid-section. PCOS is what I personally struggled with – but there is always a solution! PCOS also involves cysts on the ovaries for some women, although this isn’t necessary for diagnosis.
Endometriosis, like PCOS, often creates irregular periods. For these women, periods are often extremely painful, and flow may be very heavy. Many women experience not just cramps, but lower back and upper abdominal pain. This is because the endometrium, or lining of the inside of the uterus ends up where is shouldn’t be – in the abdomen, digestive tract and colon, among other places. Then, when it’s time for a period, all that misplaced tissue acts like the shedding uterus and bleeds, causing pain.
Wise & Wonderful Women (45 – 60 Years Old)
Ok ladies – at this point in your life you have done it all – perhaps had children, risen to the top of your chosen field and maybe gotten married. Aunt Flo has been with you all along the way. A reassuring measure of your health, fertility and sexuality.
But all of a sudden – your periods aren’t coming as often. And when they do, they’re heavier or lighter than usual. Perhaps you don’t even have cramps anymore or are a slave to the couch from the fatigue you feel at that time of the month.
When you get into the latter half of your 40s and beyond, it’s time to watch for menopause! During the transition, periods become irregular and this is normal. It’s only abnormal if the symptoms you experience are interfering with your life! You can still balance hormones during a transition phase like this. There is no need to suffer from hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain and insomnia that often accompanies the irregular periods during the menopausal transition.
Remember gorgeous gals – take responsibility for your body, no matter your age! Talk to your doctor and natural healthcare practitioner to bring your body into balance. Don’t fight any longer with Aunt Flo. For more information about natural hormone balancing, check out www.thehormonediva.com
Robyn Srigley, BA, PTS, CNP, NNCP is The Hormone Diva! Robyn helps women replace anxiety with joy to open possibility in their lives and to have a positive impact on the next generation. As a holistic nutritionist, Robyn helps women with a variety of struggles including PMS, menopause, PCOS and endometriosis in her coaching practice. You can connect with her on her website The Hormone Diva, or on Facebook or Twitter.