Menstrual cycles often have a variation of a few days each month, but for some women, the variations each month are drastic and mean irregular periods. It's almost impossible to definitively say what a regular period is, as it is different for each woman. Generally, an irregular period is defined as one that deviates from your usual menstrual cycle.
If a perimenopausal woman is suffering from irregular periods, she may be concerned about her ability to get pregnant. While irregular periods do make getting pregnant more difficult, it is not impossible.
Do Irregular Periods Make Pregnancy Less Likely?
As it is more difficult to know the time at which you ovulate, the chances of getting pregnant do decrease. Also, the more irregular your periods are, the more difficult it is to predict the most ideal time for fertilization.
Making an appointment with your gynecologist is a good idea if you are suffering from irregular periods, regardless of whether or not you are trying to get pregnant. They can detect a potential underlying condition and help you better predict your ovulation schedule.
Causes of Irregular Periods
The main cause of irregular periods is the hormonal fluctuations that take place during menopause, but there are other things that can trigger or worsen them. Triggers include:
- Poor nutrition
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Excessive consumption of caffeine
- Alcohol intake
- Drug abuse
There are also medical conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), that can cause irregular periods, so it's important to talk to your doctor if your symptoms are persistent or severe.
If you are trying to get pregnant and your periods are irregular, it can be more difficult. Try adjusting your lifestyle to avoid the above triggers, exercising regularly, and taking herbal supplements that can help balance hormone levels. If you are concerned about your menstrual cycle or you would like to track your ovulation accurately, talk to your doctor.
For more information on irregular periods and how to treat them, follow the links below.
- Love, S. (2003). Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press.
- Office of Women's Health. (2014). Menstruation and the menstrual cycle fact sheet. Retrieved February 5, 2016, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/menstruation.html