In Biology class, most of us learned that the average menstrual cycle is 28-30 days. But in reality, the calculation is not so simple. During the early years of puberty, irregular periods are normal. Irregular periods occur when the length of your menstrual cycle or the gap between the start dates of your period keeps changing. When your period is irregular, you may not be able to track it.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) physician Lee Shin Wei from Eu Yan Sang clinic says, “Irregular period could be as short as 21 days or as long as 35 days. Anything between 21 and 35 days is considered a normal cycle. When you first start having periods, it can also take a while before your periods develop a regular pattern.”
However, what happens when your period is becoming irregular in adulthood? It’s necessary to first find out why
Causes and Symptoms of Irregular Periods
There may be more than one root cause of your period irregularity. Whether you notice it or not, several causes of prolonged or abnormal periods include:
- Stress and routines. Gaining or losing weight, travelling, and sickness can impact your menstruation cycle. Research finds that high-stress levels were associated with only menstrual irregularities but not with duration, amount of flow, or period pain.
- Hormone imbalance. Hormone imbalances are common in girls who have just begun menstruating and women approaching menopause. Changes in the
levels of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone can change the pattern of your period. Moreover, stress and an unhealthy diet are closely related to hormonal imbalance.
- Birth control and medications. Contraceptive methods like birth control pills usually contain a combination of estrogen and progestin, while some only contain progestin. Meanwhile, around 70% of women who consume anticoagulants or blood thinners experience heavy menstrual bleeding.
Internal imbalance that causes irregular periods
The human body is a harmonious system with multiple organs and fluids working together. A disturbance within this system can impair bodily functions, including your menstrual cycle. In TCM, irregular periods are prompted by:
1. Blood deficiency
Due to insufficient energy intake, a large amount of fat and protein is
2. Blood stasis
Consuming too much cold food or drinks, such as cold drinks and ice cream, would constrict the blood vessels in the pelvic cavity. This decreases blood flow to nourish the uterus.
“This leads to
3. Qi stagnation
Long-term mental depression, stress, anger, or suffering from major mental stimulation and psychological trauma can lead to menstrual disorders.
4. Qi deficiency
Staying up late is a bad habit that can easily lead to endocrine disorders, causing irregular menstruation. Irregular sleep patterns will cause qi deficiency with symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness. Furthermore, it will result in
Depending on the causes, several natural ways may help you regulate your period.
Balance your diet
According to the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, nutrition pattern is one of the important factors predicting menstrual distress, which varies among different cultures and countries.
“Women should have a balanced diet, avoid excessive weight loss, and consume adequate iron to promote more blood production in the body,” physician Lee advises.
Exercise is good for overall health because it promotes blood circulation in the body. In addition, regular exercise boosts serotonin production, which can help to stabilise the overall mood. Yoga practice is found to be helpful in patients with hormone imbalances. Other low-impact exercises for you to try are qigong and taichi.
Physician Lee says that acupuncture can promote blood flow and overall body energy to
In a case report on acupuncture in medicine, a 17-year-old girl with a history of dysfunctional uterine bleeding was treated with Chinese acupuncture.
Consuming specific herbs and spices
You can also consider herbal remedies for irregular periods. Ginger and cinnamon have been known to help ease the condition.
In a 2014 study of the effects of ginger on heavy menstrual bleeding published in Phytotherapy Research, the
Aside from ginger, cinnamon may lessen menstrual bleeding, help relieve cramps, and reduce nausea.
Physician Lee suggests drinking
Additionally, TCM has a classic remedy for regulating periods. Youth Bak Foong capsules work to nourish the body and improve weak body constitution.
Do not be shy if you have irregular periods. Your family, friends and healthcare professionals can give you helpful suggestions.
- Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. 2015. To evaluate the effect of perceived stress on menstrual function. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Journal of Innovations in Pharmaceuticals and Biological Sciences. 2015. Hormonal imbalance and its causes in young females. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Hematology. 2020. Management of heavy menstrual bleeding on anticoagulation. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Endotext. 2018. The Normal Menstrual Cycle and the Control of Ovulation. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research. 2015. The relationship between food frequency and menstrual distress in high school females. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2013. Impact of Yoga Nidra on menstrual abnormalities in females of reproductive age. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Open Access. 2018. Acupuncture treatment for dysfunctional uterine bleeding in an adolescent. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]
- Phytotherapy Research. 2014. Effect of ginger (Zingiber officinale) on heavy menstrual bleeding: a placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial. [Accessed on 20 January 2021]