Menstrual Irregularities

Menstruation usually begins between ages 12 and 13, although it may start earlier or later. Generally speaking, normal menstrual flow occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts four to five days. While everyone’s cycle is different, you are considered regular if your periods occur at roughly the same date each month.

Sometimes however, you may experience changes or irregularities in your menstrual cycle—you may not get your period, you may get periods too frequently, experience unpredictable menstrual bleeding, or experience painful periods. There are many conditions or factors, both physical and emotional, which can affect your cycle and cause these irregularities.

Nearly every woman will experience one or more menstrual irregularities at some time in her life. If and when you do, you should contact your gynecologist and schedule a visit. Depending on the problem, various tests and procedures may be performed, including a pelvic exam. Try to schedule an appointment for a time when you are not menstruating.

Some of the more common irregularities include:

  • Amenorrhea, or the cessation of menstruation
  • Menorrhagia, or heavy bleeding
  • Dysmenorrhea, or severe menstrual cramps