Irregular periods might occur for a number of reasons, and usually they are nothing to worry about and will right themselves without intervention. Having said this, for those women who encounter irregular periods frequently, or those who notice a significant difference all of a sudden, it is advisable to seek doctor attention. In order to determine the possible cause of your condition, it might be necessary to carry out tests for irregular periods.
What Might a Doctor Ask?
It can often be possible to establish the cause of irregular periods without having to undergo any testing. To better understand your experience, a doctor might ask the following questions:
Could you be pregnant?
Irregular periods commonly occur in early pregnancy, and so a doctor will likely ask if there is a possibility that this is the case early on.
Have you gain weight?
Another cause could be quick weight loss or gain - women who struggle with eating disorders are particularly at risk of irregular periods.
Have you been specifically stressed?
Sometimes high levels of stress can influence a woman's menstrual cycle, due to hormonal implications of this emotion.
Have you experienced other changes to your health?
This is especially relevant to women aged over 45 because irregular periods are likely to occur before menopause.
If you have changed contraception
Due to the impact of contraception on hormones, a change in birth control could lead to changes in your monthly cycle.
If the answers to these questions do not allow your doctor to come to an accurate diagnosis, they could request further testing. Find out some of the tests for irregular periods.
Blood Tests for Irregular Periods
A blood sample is often required as a hormonal test for irregular periods. Hormonal activity can be the root cause of many problems relating to the female reproductive system, and so in order to discover what this might be, the following hormones could be tested:
- Thyroid hormones
Information about these can indicate whether you are starting or going through menopause, or if there is another problem at fault. If these don't provide helpful data; however, other tests might be suggested.
Other Tests for Irregular Periods
If your doctor has been unable to deduce what is causing your irregular periods; there are other types of medical testing which can be necessary. These include:
- A pregnancy test
- An ultrasound scan
- A smear test
- A urine test
These can sometimes reveal other abnormalities which might be causing the changes to your menstrual cycle.
Generally irregular periods are a sporadic condition which does not require medical attention. In fact, most women will experience them at some stage during their lives, but for those who find that they suffer with irregular periods often, or changes are sudden and severe, it is advisable to talk to a doctor. Learn more about irregular periods during premenopause.
- Harvard Health Publications. (2017). When You Visit Your Doctor - Irregular Menstrual Periods. Retrieved June 21, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/when-you-visit-your-doctor-irregular-menstrual-periods
- Patient. (2016). Absent or Irregular Periods. Retrieved June 21, 2017, from https://patient.info/health/absent-or-irregular-periods
- National Health Service UK. (2016). Diagnosing polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved June 21, 2017, from http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Polycystic-ovarian-syndrome/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx