What to Do About My Irregular Periods?

Question

On average how long, will I have irregular periods? I have one, then none for several months, then regular for a few months, then the cycle repeats.

Answer

Irregular periods can be quite normal, depending on what stage of life you are in. If you just started menstruating, your body’s hormones can fluctuate and may take some time to balance out. If you are in your 40s, you might experience irregular periods as a sign of perimenopause. Drugs, stress, eating disorders, weight, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and/or varying medical disorders can all factor into why irregular menstrual cycles occur and how long they will last. While the average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, a regular menstrual cycle for you could mean getting your period anywhere from every 21 days to every 45 days. A regular menstrual cycle can signal that essential body parts are working normally.

That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor about why your menstrual cycle is irregular and what your goals are: for example, becoming pregnant, avoiding pregnancy, being able to predict your period and more. Based on your goals, your doctor can talk to you about steps to take to regulate your menstrual cycle. For instance, they might prescribe hormonal birth control or help you treat underlying health problems.

The information in this response is taken from “Many Possible Causes of Irregular Periods,” “Menstruation and the Menstrual Cycle Fact Sheet” and “Menstrual Cycle.”


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