Good day bloggers. The month of May has arrived with a bang. May is celebrated as Women’s health month. So we, at Pearl Women’s Hospital are presenting the focus towards the routine concerns. A happy and healthy woman is an asset to the family and society. When the topic of irregular periods creeps in, concerns and mental agony are evident.
Carrying the pads to using dark-coloured clothes along with layers to cover up the body are not only traumatic events but also inconvenient. Irregular periods or missing periods are the basic factors that contribute to infertility. Such concern accounts for 30-40% of all female infertility cases to date.
A woman’s body is designed for pregnancy. The unique hormone-driven cycle starts with the thickening of uterine walls, followed by the growth of an egg. Once these follicles mature, the egg is released from the ovary into the Fallopian tubes. This is a process called ovulation, and the body awaits fertilization. After the arrival of sperm in the Fallopian tube, fertilization takes place and the formed embryo implants itself in the uterine walls causing a positive pregnancy.
In case, when fertilization does not happen, the uterine lining, known as the endometrium sheds itself, and the menstruation begins. This is a simple process of fertilization as well as menstruation. Irregular periods definitely cause problems in pregnancy.
What is menstrual cycle irregularity?
Menstrual cycle irregularity is defined as more than 7 days deviation between self-reported and ultrasound examination-based gestational age. On average, most of the women have a 28-day menstrual cycle, which can range from 24-35 days. Irregular periods are the ones that are either shorter or longer than the 24-35 day range. An irregular period is an indication of irregular or no ovulation, which leads to pregnancy problems.
Women have 11 to 13 Menstrual cycles per year that lasts around 2-7 days. However, the period timing and the amount of blood flow vary considerably. The amount of flow depends on how rapidly the endometrium sheds. Incomplete shedding often causes heavy flow and may cause anaemia.
What is a normal menstrual cycle look like?
Menstruation happens throughout the woman’s reproductive life in the absence of pregnancy. The average duration from 28-35 days with blood loss per cycle is an average of 30ml (normal range 13-80 ml).
Can you get Pregnant with Irregular Periods?
The key factor that matters the most in case of irregular periods is regular ovulation. The best way is to find out the reasons behind the irregular menses.
Few important ways to conceive with irregular periods are:
Correction or controlling the underlying health problems: Women affected with an underactive or overactive thyroid, obesity, etc., are commonly found to have irregular periods. In such cases, your fertility specialist will prescribe few medications or may suggest lifestyle modifications to manage such issues, which normalizes ovulation. This might improve the chances of conception.
Excessive Prolactin hormone: Excessive prolactin hormone is secreted by the pituitary gland, affecting the menstrual cycle. In such cases, medications can help women ovulate and conceive a pregnancy.
Unknown or undetected cause of irregular menstruation:
When the cause of irregular menstruation is unknown, fertility medications can be used to help women ovulate and conceive. Fertility medications are Oral and Injectable. Oral medications are given to women to regularize menses. These are inexpensive processes of normalizing ovulation. Injectable Fertility Medications are superior in normalizing the menses and help with conception.
Some factors that trigger irregular periods are extreme or intense exercise or dieting, stress which impacts hormonal balance, birth control pills, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Uterine Polyps or fibroids, Pelvic Inflammatory diseases, Endometriosis etc. Most of these conditions are caused by or resulted in hormone imbalances.
Thyroid disorders may cause irregular periods. The thyroid gland is responsible for growth, metabolism and energy. A simple blood test can detect any abnormalities in the thyroid functioning and irregular menses can be corrected.
In women with an ovulatory factor, IUI (Intra-uterine Insemination) with controlled ovarian stimulation can also be of great help. Stimulation medications can develop follicles to mature and release eggs, which can help women ovulate. After which IUI is done, to enhance the woman’s conception chances. IUI is the process in which sperm is picked up with a micropipette and directly injected inside the uterus. This way the egg and sperm are fertilized and can implant on the uterine walls.
For women, who are unable to conceive even with fertility medications or IUI treatment, IVF is often recommended. In-Vitro Fertilization treatment is the process in which the stimulated, good-quality eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized with the best-quality sperm in an IVF lab. The embryo is transferred back to the uterus to implant. With the advancement of technology and the use of modern labs, IVF treatment has helped countless women to conceive.
What are the Signs of Pregnancy while having Irregular Periods?
Some of the signs of pregnancy are tender breasts, lower abdominal cramps, frequent urination, increased appetite, nausea, etc.
Do Irregular Periods Mean Infertility?
Irregular periods do not always mean Infertility. If a woman is ovulating irrespective of her irregular periods, she can conceive. Women with irregular periods are advised to consult a fertility specialist to diagnose the exact cause and to improve the chances of conception.
How to test for pregnancy while having irregular periods?
If your periods are irregular or you don’t get periods at all, a good rule of thumb is to wait until 3 weeks after you have had unprotected sex.
In a nutshell, irregular periods are the indicators of ovulation concerns. It is important to know, the stabilization of periods happens over time. Due to changing lifestyles and fast-paced routines, menstrual irregularities are often seen. This brings in a lot of stress and anxiety on the personal and social front. There is a lot of research linking infertility with irregular menstruation. Nevertheless, early diagnosis and control of irregular menstruation can reduce the burden of pregnancy.