At some point in every woman’s life, they must contend with the beginning of their menstrual cycle. When this occurs, it marks the start of their reproductive journey. Whether they intend to have children and start a family or opt for a child-free life, their period will be there. Some women experience erratic cycles, especially when their period first begins to arrive. For some, their menstrual cycle may last 24 days one month, followed by a 42-day cycle the next. These variations in the cycle, known as irregular periods, are relatively common but do bear some investigation.
Understanding Irregular Periods and The Menstrual Cycle
For most women, menstruation will begin to occur sometime between ages 10 and 15. In the medical sphere, this inaugural period is known as the menarche. Measuring a menstrual cycle starts on the first of her period and is considered complete at the onset of her next one. While the typical length of a menstrual cycle is 28 days, variances are widespread. Women may experience menstrual cycles ranging from 24 to 34 days in length without being considered irregular. It’s common for there to be variations from month to month, while other women’s cycles may be like clockwork.
There are a range of physiological changes that take place throughout the menstrual cycle. These changes include:
- Early Cycle: Egg maturation begins within the ovaries, and the uterus lining thickens to provide a fertile landing point for the egg.
- Two Weeks Before Period: The egg is now mature and is released from the ovary. This process is known as ovulation. It will then follow the fallopian tube to ultimately arrive in the uterus to await fertilization.
- Menstruation: If the egg remains unfertilized, it will eventually disintegrate and shed along with the uterine lining. This process is known as the “period,” and it marks the beginning of a new cycle.
While the menstrual cycle always follows the above rotation, it doesn’t always happen in the same timeframe. For the two years following menarche, and a few years before menopause, this cycle may change. It’s possible for women at these stages to skip periods or to have irregular cycles. Other reasons irregularities may occur include weight changes, illness, stress, and significant changes in the women’s activity schedule.
Common signs that your period may be on its way include back cramps, breast soreness, acne breakouts, mood swings, bloating, loose bowel movements, disturbed sleeping patterns, and headaches.
Contact Capital Women’s Care Rockville For More Information
These irregularities are just another normal part of any women’s journey through her reproductive years. Starting the second year after menarche, the cycles will likely stabilize for most of their life until menopause begins to set in. If you want to learn more about what can make your periods irregular, contact our office at (301) 762-5501. You can also stop by our Rockville, MD offices to speak with our staff and schedule your first appointment today!