Excellent 9.2/10
irregular-periods

What is a ‘normal’ period?

Every woman’s menstrual cycle is slightly different. This means that what’s normal for one woman won’t be the same for another.

Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period, and ends the day before your next period starts. The average length of time between periods is 28 days. However, normal cycles can be slightly less or more than this. Anywhere between 24 and 35 days between periods is perfectly normal.

Every month, if you’re not pregnant, you will have a period. This period is made up of blood and tissue from your womb lining left over from your monthly ovulation.

Most women will bleed for 3-7 days, and lose around 3-5 tablespoons of blood. A period is usually reddy-brownish in colour. However, the length, amount and colour of your period can vary throughout your life due to a number of different factors.

As well as this, your usual vaginal discharge changes throughout the menstrual cycle. It will often get thin and stretchy around the time of your period.

What is an irregular period?

Some women’s periods aren’t always regular. An irregular period is a period that is:

  • late
  • early
  • lasts longer or shorter than usual
  • more or less heavy than usual
  • missing (an absent period is known as ‘amenorrhoea’)
  • painful (known as ‘dysmenorrhoea’)

My periods are irregular, should I be worried?

Not necessarily. There are plenty of reasons why your period might not be as it usually is. However, it could be a sign that you have a hormone imbalance.

It’s important to let your doctor know if your periods are irregular so that they can rule out any underlying health conditions.

Visit your doctor if:

  • you often have spotting (bleeding) after sex
  • you have spotting between periods
  • you have extremely heavy and/or painful periods (i.e. where your period often leaks onto your clothes or bed linen, or where you have to change tampons or pads every hour or so)
  • your periods last for more than 7 days at a time
  • you have more than one period a month

If you haven’t had your usual period, and have had sex in the past month, there is a chance you could be pregnant. Take a test at home or visit your doctor to make sure whether or not this is the case.

There are usually very simple explanations for irregular periods. But, in some cases, irregular periods are the sign of something more serious. This is why it’s so important to get properly checked by a doctor if your periods ever change significantly or you’re worried they could be abnormal.

What can cause irregular periods?

Lots of things can change your normal menstrual cycle and lead to irregular periods. These can include:

  • a change in your usual form of contraception
  • using the contraceptive pill back-to-back
  • a hormone imbalance
  • a poor diet
  • illness
  • certain types of medication
  • stress or anxiety
  • weight loss or gain
  • too much exercise
  • the menopause
  • breastfeeding
  • polycystic ovaries (PCOS)

An irregular period is caused by irregular ovulation. Your ovulation patterns will change throughout your life, after puberty and shortly before the menopause.

A slight amount of variation in your periods is not unusual, and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

What are the treatment options for irregular periods?

Unless there’s a serious reason behind your irregular periods, treatment shouldn’t be necessary.

Treatment is usually only offered if your irregular periods become uncomfortable or distressing for you. In this case, pain relief and medications for heavy bleeds can be offered. However, for most women, irregular periods is a pretty common phenomenon every once in awhile.

If managing your irregular periods becomes an issue, your doctor may prescribe you the combined oral contraceptive (COC) pill. This contains the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, and can help to control your periods.

If your irregular periods are being caused by an underlying condition, such as polycystic ovaries, you will be offered the appropriate treatment for the condition. Your doctor may also suggest some small lifestyle changes, such as a change in diet, to help alleviate your irregular periods. Once this underlying cause has been treated, your periods should return to normal.

Anytime, Anywhere

You can complete one of our online assessments at any time, whenever it suits you. It’s as easy as 1,2,3.

  1. Choose your medication
    You'll complete a short online health assessment and choose the medication you need. If you\'re unsure, our in-house GPs can also recommend the best treatment for you.

  2. Our GP prescribes your medication
    Our doctors will review your order and issue your prescription.

  3. Free delivery to your door or collect from the pharmacy
    Free delivery to your address is included. Or for urgent orders you can collect straight from your pharmacy

See All DrEd Services Close

Save up to €40

We want to make it easier and more affordable for you to access the healthcare you need.

See All DrEd Services Close

FREE Fast Delivery

Orders placed before 4pm will be dispatched the same day.

Standard Delivery

Estimated Delivery:
Delivered to your chosen address within 3-5 working days.

FREE
Pharmacy Collect

Estimated Delivery:
For urgent orders, delivered to your chosen pharmacy from 1 hour of placing your order if placed Mon-Fri 9am-4pm.

FREE
Discreet Packaging

Your prescription will be delivered in plain, unlabeled packaging

See All DrEd Services Close

1,000,000 Customers Treated

DrEd is a brand you can trust. We’ve treated over 1,000,000 patients since 2011.

Regulated by
CareQualityCommission

See All DrEd Services Close