Are your periods irregular? Do you never quite know when it’s going to happen?
Although it can be irritating and difficult to plan things, it is definitely not unusual. About 30% of women have irregular periods, sometimes early and sometimes late in an unpredictable manner.
What is a regular period ?
A regular cycle generally occurs every 28 or 30 days and lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Every woman’s cycle is a bit different. You may get your period every 21 days or every 35 days, but as long as they occur with roughly the same number of days between each cycle, they are regular.
So how do irregular periods happen?
Irregular menstruation is generally related to disruptions in the balance of hormones. The glands affected with the process of menstruation include the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the ovaries.
Some causes of irregular periods:
- Emotional stress
- Poor diet
- Intense exercise
- Perimenopause (close to menopause) / Menopause
- Weight gain or Weight loss
- Pelvic infection
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine cancer / Uterine abnormalities
- Dysfunctional bleeding
Will the Contraceptive Pill help?
Most doctors will put a woman with irregular periods on the contraceptive pill. This will regulate menstrual cycles but unfortunately does not treat the root cause of the irregularity. Consequently, when you discontinue the pill, the irregularity will most likely return. What happens is that the pill tricks your body into thinking that it is pregnant and does not allow for ovulation. No egg is released from the ovary and pregnancy cannot occur. Essentially, the pill’s hormones override the body’s natural hormone balance.
Does what I eat affect it?
Totally. A well-balanced diet is so important to regulate periods. If you miss meals or eat a lot of fast foods and deprive your body of proper nourishment, your body goes into starvation mode. When this happens, the body’s systems that are not necessary to stay alive shut down and the cycle becomes irregular.
My life is quite busy, so what can I do?
Take some time for yourself. If you are tired and stressed this will definitely have an effect on your menstrual cycle. Also, try to exercise daily, anything that gets your heart rate up is good.
How does Chinese Medicine help?
Chinese medicine has a long history in the management of irregular period. Its natural approach encourages your body to re-establish regular ovulation and to get your hormones back in balance. Research shows that acupuncture:
- Reduces stress hormones responsible for irregular periods
- Impacts on blood levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinzing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), and progesterone (P)
- Accelerates the release of brain and pituitary ß-EP, which inhibits the over-production of GnRH and LH
- Normalises the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, a key process of normal menstruation
- Promotes the function of hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA) leading to increase in the synthesis and secretion of adrenal steroid hormones, which resets the negative feedback of estrogen to HPOA