Irregular Periods: When to Worry

When should irregular periods become a concern? Learn the causes of irregular periods, and what they can mean for your long-term health.

By URLife Team
15 May 2023

Many people plan their life around their menstrual cycle, but what happens when you can’t predict when your period is going to come next? Irregular periods can lead to confusion, frustration and even set alarm bells off in your head about what it could mean. Irregular periods can cause changes in the frequency, duration, and intensity of an individual’s periods. While it's common to experience occasional irregularities, persistent and chronic irregularities can signal underlying health issues that require medical attention.


A normal menstrual cycle lasts between 21 and 35 days, with bleeding lasting between three and seven days. However, for some individuals, their cycles may be shorter or longer, and the duration and frequency of bleeding may also vary.


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There are many possible causes of irregular periods, including hormonal imbalances, stress, weight fluctuations, certain medications, and underlying health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders. Irregular periods can make it difficult to predict ovulation, which can affect fertility if you're trying to conceive.


In addition to fertility, menstrual health can also impact overall health. Menstrual cycles can be a good indicator of hormonal balance and other health issues. For example, irregular periods or heavy bleeding may be a sign of an underlying condition such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Individuals with irregular periods may also have an increased risk of developing certain health conditions such as osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases.


Related story: How to Delay Your Periods


Causes of Irregular Periods

Hormonal Imbalances

One of the most common causes of irregular periods is hormonal imbalances, particularly estrogen and progesterone. These imbalances can be caused by a range of factors, such as stress, weight fluctuations, extreme exercise, or certain medications. When the body's hormonal balance is disrupted, it can lead to missed or delayed periods, as well as heavier or lighter bleeding.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

It is a hormonal disorder that can cause a range of symptoms, including irregular periods. individuals with PCOS often have high levels of androgens (male hormones), which can interfere with normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. In addition to irregular periods, PCOS can also cause acne, weight gain, and excess hair growth.


Schedule diagnostic tests for PCOS here with Apollo.


Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid gland plays an important role in regulating hormone levels in the body, including those involved in menstruation. When the thyroid gland is underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism), it can disrupt the normal balance of hormones and lead to menstrual irregularities. Individuals with thyroid disorders may experience missed or delayed periods, heavier or lighter bleeding, or even no periods at all.


Over Exercising

Excessive and intense physical activity can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones that regulate menstrual cycles. Overexercising can lead to a decrease in estrogen levels and cause irregular periods or even stop menstruation altogether. This is more common in athletes or people who engage in intense physical activity regularly.


Weight Fluctuations

Significant weight gain or loss can also affect menstrual cycles. Both obesity and being underweight can cause hormonal imbalances that can lead to irregular periods. Fat cells produce estrogen, so having too much or too little body fat can affect estrogen levels and disrupt the menstrual cycle.


Specific Medications

Certain medications can interfere with menstrual cycles, such as hormonal contraceptives, antipsychotics, and chemotherapy drugs. If you're experiencing irregular periods and are taking medication, it's worth discussing the potential side effects with your doctor.


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High levels of stress can affect the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which regulate hormone production. Chronic stress can lead to irregular or missed periods. Finding ways to manage stress, such as through exercise, meditation, or therapy, can help regulate menstrual cycles.


Underlying Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions, such as uterine fibroids can cause irregular periods. PCOS is a common hormonal disorder that can affect menstrual cycles and fertility. Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can also disrupt the menstrual cycle. Uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous growths in the uterus, can cause heavy or prolonged periods or spotting between periods.


Related story: 5 Female Hormones And Their Impact On Your Health


When to Address Irregular Periods

Short or long menstrual cycle

A normal menstrual cycle usually lasts between 21 to 35 days. If your cycle is shorter or longer than this range, it could be a sign of an irregular cycle. This could also be a sign of hormonal imbalances or other underlying medical conditions.


Irregular frequency of periods

If the frequency of your periods is irregular, such as skipping a month or having two periods within a month, it could be a cause for concern. This can also indicate underlying medical conditions that need to be addressed.


Abrupt changes in the menstrual cycle

If you notice sudden changes in your menstrual cycle, such as heavier or lighter bleeding or changes in the length of your cycle, it's important to see a doctor. This could indicate hormonal imbalances or other underlying medical conditions.



Irregular periods can be common during puberty and menopause, but if you experience irregular periods at any other time in your reproductive years, it's important to seek medical attention. As individuals age, they become more susceptible to hormonal imbalances and other medical conditions that can cause irregular periods.


Schedule a consultation with a gynaecologist here.


Impact of Irregular Periods


Irregular periods can make it difficult to predict ovulation and increase the risk of infertility. Individuals with irregular periods may have difficulty getting pregnant, and irregular periods can also be a sign of underlying reproductive health issues.



Heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding associated with irregular periods can lead to anaemia, which is a condition in which the body lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body's tissues.


Hormonal imbalances

Irregular periods can be a sign of hormonal imbalances, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disorders. These imbalances can cause a range of symptoms, including weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth.


Weight fluctuations

Irregular periods can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Hormonal imbalances can cause weight gain or loss, and irregular periods can also make it challenging to manage appetite and cravings.


Increased risk of specific types of cancer

individuals with irregular periods may be at higher risk for certain types of cancer, including endometrial and ovarian cancer.


Mood swings

Hormonal imbalances associated with irregular periods can cause mood swings, irritability, and even depression. These emotional and psychological impacts can affect a person's daily life and relationships.


Related story: 5 Reasons You Are Not Getting Your Period When You Are Not Pregnant


Approaches to Improve Menstrual Health

Lifestyle changes

Making lifestyle modifications such as exercising regularly, reducing alcohol intake, and avoiding smoking can help regulate the menstrual cycle and promote hormonal balance.


Stress management

Chronic stress can disrupt the hormonal balance and lead to irregular periods. Techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress levels and promote overall health.


Diet and nutrition

Eating a healthy and balanced diet can have a positive impact on menstrual health. Nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin D are essential for maintaining healthy menstrual cycles.


Hormonal therapy

Hormonal therapies such as birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, and other medications can be prescribed to regulate periods and manage associated symptoms.


Getting enough sleep

Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining hormonal balance and supporting overall health.


Surgical procedures

In some cases, surgical procedures may be necessary to treat underlying conditions such as fibroids or endometriosis that can cause irregular periods.


Alternative therapies

Acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other alternative therapies can also manage menstrual irregularities and improve overall health. It's essential to consult a healthcare professional before trying any alternative therapies.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Visiting a UR.Life Occupational Health Center (OHC) can be a proactive step towards taking control of your health. OHCs provide various services, including routine check-ups, early detection of health problems, and management of existing conditions. When it comes to diagnosing menstrual irregularities, a visit to an OHC can be especially beneficial. With state-of-the-art laboratory technologies and experienced doctors, the OHCs provide accurate diagnoses and customised treatment plans to manage and improve menstrual health.

For a comprehensive analysis of your health, it is advisable to take our Health Risk Assessment (HRA) today or head to UR.Life OHC for expert advice. Our HRA comprises different health tools that will help us assess your health condition and craft an individualised treatment plan for you.

Health Risk Assessment offers health risk status for Diabetic, Cardiac, Exercise, Sleep, Nutrition & Stress. Our recommendations are based on the risk score to control and manage health hazards, which distinguishes us from our competition. With suggestions of balanced nutritional meal plans for organisations, employees are provided with:

  • Dietary Plans
  • Nutritional Audits
  • Personalised Health Advice
  • Expert nutritionists and doctors with personalised recommendations for diet and lifestyle for optimal health.

Click here to learn more about the UR.Life Corporate Wellness programme and unlock better health.



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