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Treating Irregular Periods

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How Are Irregular Periods Treated? continued...

Changing birth control. If you have irregular periods after three months of  hormonal birth control, your doctor may recommend another type of birth control. Some women develop irregular periods when using an IUD. Read the literature that accompanies your IUD to learn more about side effects.

Lifestyle changes. Some women have changes in their period because they exercise too much. Reducing the frequency and intensity of your workouts may help your period return to normal. Stress leads to many body changes, including irregular periods. Relaxation techniques and counseling may be helpful.

Extreme changes in your weight can affect your periods. Weight gain can interfere with the body's ability to ovulate, which controls your menstrual cycle. Losing weight may help resolve irregular periods. Extreme sudden weight loss can also lead to infrequent or irregular periods.

Hormone therapy (HT). An irregular menstrual cycle is often due to a lack or imbalance of certain hormones in the body. Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) often containing the hormones estrogen and progesterone are commonly prescribed to help control irregular periods. A hormone medication called progestin can also help trigger periods in women who do not get them.

Other hormone treatments may be prescribed to women with irregular periods who are having difficulty getting pregnant.

Surgery. Sometimes, scarring or structural problems in the uterus (womb) or fallopian tubes may lead to irregular periods. Surgery may be done to correct any structural problems or birth defects, particularly in women who want to have children. It may also be done to remove severe scar tissue (adhesions) in the reproductive tract.

When to Call a Doctor

Call your doctor if you have had regular, monthly periods and the pattern changes. Your doctor may perform a physical exam and order tests to rule out pregnancy or a health problem.

Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • You miss three or more periods a year.
  • You get your period more often than every 21 days.
  • You get your period less often than every 35 days.
  • You are bleeding more heavily than usual during your period.
  • You bleed for more than seven days.
  • You have more pain than usual during a period.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Trina Pagano, MD on November 07, 2013
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