What Causes Irregular or Missed Periods

>> Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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Most women have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods each year. You may be different.  You may have more or fewer.  Missed or irregular periods must be looked at in terms of what is normal for you.    Menstrual periods may also be very irregular during menopause, which occurs when it has been 12 months since you have had a menstrual period.       

Menstrual periods are often irregular during the first few years after menstruation starts. It may take several years for the hormones that control menstruation to reach a balance.  Once cycles are established, it is very rare for a woman to have irregular cycles.  This is why most women will seek medical attention for irregular cycles - as menstruation is one way we evaluate our own health status.

If you are not pregnant, other causes of missed or irregular periods include:

-          Excessive weight loss or gain. Although low body weight is a common cause of missed or irregular periods, obesity can also cause menstrual problems.

-          Increased exercise. Missed periods are common in endurance athletes.

-          Emotional stress.

-          Illness.  Diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes and liver disease that can cause missed or irregular periods.    

-          Travel.

-          Medicines such as birth control methods, can cause lighter, less frequent, more frequent or skipped periods (or no periods at all).

-          Hormone problems. This may cause a change in the levels of the hormones that the body needs to support menstruation. Menopause and PCO (polycystic ovarian syndrome) are the most common.
-          Problems with the pelvic organs , such as imperforate hymen, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and Asherman's Syndrome.

-          Breast-feeding. Many women do not resume regular periods until they have completed breast-feeding, which, again, is a hormone issue.   Estrogen levels must be very low in lactating women in order to produce breast milk.  Low estrogen creates a state of amenorrhea, or lack of menstruation.

It's amazing how many things can disrupt our menstrual cycles.  The worst culprit today is all the added hormones that are being put into our meat and dairy products.  These are causing a phenomenal amount of weight gain in our children and young adults, and with this comes the expected hormone and menstrual irregularities.   

It is unknown what other impact the added growth hormones given to dairy animals, as well as the other hormones given to chicken and cattle are having on development of cancer or other diseases and menstrual irregularities and infertility.  Until we know, it will be difficult to understand how to control many of the health problems we see today.

If you've skipped a period, try to relax. Restoring your life to an emotional and physical balance can help. Many women miss periods now and then. Unless you are pregnant, chances are your cycle will return to normal next month.   
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