Despite what medical literature considers a normal menstrual cycle with an average of 28 days in between and duration between 2 to 7 days, as much as 30% of women have irregular periods. Is there a written rule that states that this is how it is supposed to be? “Every woman has her own internal clock that determines when her menstrual cycle will begin with a precise interval. Therefore, to live with a slightly delayed menstrual cycle set in advance based on a doctor’s calendar may be alarming, Dr. Elena Corradini, gynecologist at Humanitas Mater Domini.
Menstrual Irregularity does not represent a disease
“The Biological Brigade” of menstrual regularity, also known as the structures that help maintain proper ovarian function are the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. This means that when a menstrual problem occurs, it could be at the level of the “old brain”, in turn representing the source of the menstrual disorder. Other factors associated with an irregular menstrual cycle include stress, sudden weight gain or loss, and excessive exercising. In most cases, a good mix of tranquility, rest, foods rich in iron, vegetable oils and magnesium can help restore a regular menstrual cycle.
No need for alarm
Irregular cases of polymenorrhea (i.e. early menstruation) or oligomenorrhea (delayed menstruation) do not always mean that an alarm bell should be raised regarding a woman’s health. “In some moments of their lives (after first menstruation, childbirth, lactation or near menopause), an irregular menstrual cycle is a very common occurrence. If menstrual cycle irregularities were to be extended for a longer period of time or get worse with time – says Dr. Corradini – it would be helpful to consult with a medical professional and undergo an examination to determine the origin of the symptoms and prevent more serious problems such as tumors, ovarian cysts, fibroids or polyps from occurring”. Through a gynecological examination and the patient’s medical history, the specialist may be able to prescribe a personalized and effective therapy.
The advice of a specialist: heavy bleeding and prolonged flow
“The best strategy – concludes Dr. Corradini – is to avoid medicines that prolong blood flow (such as aspirin) and place an ice pack on the pelvic area to reduce excessive cramping. It is also equally important to take iron supplements, in the case of a prolonged menstrual period.”