What is normal and what is not? Have you lately been having abnormal period cycles than previously? The menstrual cycle which is usually counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next period will be around 21 to 35 days and menstrual flow will last for about 2 to 7 days with peak blood flow on the first 3 days. However this may not be the same for all women.
Some common causes of having abnormal period cycle will include going through stressful times, exercising too much or too little, consuming too little calories from daily intake, just started your puberty cycle, reaching your menopause age, having certain diseases such as premature ovarian insufficiency, polycystic ovarian syndrome and if you are on contraception.
It is very vital to diagnose the underlying problem to get treated. Below are some methods to treat abnormal period cycles used in the clinical practice.
- Lifestyle changes
Your doctor will most probably advise you on lifestyle changes like changing your exercise pattern after taking a thorough history from you. For patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), you will be advised on weight losses with proper exercising techniques and methods.
Apart from that, maintaining a good and proper diet is equally important to treat your abnormal period cycle. Consumption of adequate calories is essential to keep a good track of your period cycle. As told above, stressful events can trigger your irregularities in the period cycle, thus try practicing yoga, meditation and deep relaxation to unwind ourselves from stressful triggers.
- Hormonal therapy
Oftentimes your abnormal period cycle can be due to an imbalance in the hormone levels in your body. The two most important hormones responsible for a healthy and regular period cycle are estrogen and progesterone. Therefore, your doctor will prescribe you with hormonal contraception which includes;
- A combined oral contraceptive pill which contain both the estrogen and progesterone component
- Only progesterone which stimulate the uterus and causes bleeding
- Vaginal contraceptive rings containing hormone releasing chemicals
- Hormonal implants such as levonorgestrel intrauterine contraceptive devices
How do these pills work? Contraceptive medications help to reset back your production of estrogen and progesterone from the negative feedback mechanism. In polycystic ovarian syndrome, it simply “turns off” the ovaries from producing testosterone and hormones and increases the production of se hormone binding globulin by the body to reduce the effect of testosterone and other androgens to the body.
Possible side effects of these medications include mood changes, bloating sensation,having weight gain or weight losses, breast tenderness and irregular bleeding. Not all women taking these medications will experience such symptoms and it also differs according to the estrogen and progesterone content in the pill or implant.
- Treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Although the first line treatment for pcos is lifestyle changes, other medications are also often used to treat hyperandrogenism and abnormal period cycles in women. Such examples are oral hypoglycemic agents such as metformin which help reduce the insulin resistance and create a balance between the female hormones and androgens. Spironolactone, an anti-androgen, is also used to counteract the effects of male hormones in pcos patients.
For pregnancy planning, medications such as clomiphene are used to induce ovulation. Surgical methods such as ovarian drilling is usually kept as the last report in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome (pcos).
- Surgical intervention
Scarring of the uterus can be also a common cause for abnormal period cycles, thus surgical intervention such as adhesiolysis is required to remove the scarring and induce uterine bleeding as usual.