Some menstrual cycles run like clockwork, starting every four weeks and stopping within seven days — all without causing too much pain or discomfort. While mild changes throughout your menstrual years are common and usually not cause for alarm, significant irregularities can indicate a problem.
Shifting from irregular periods to normalcy tends to involve addressing the root cause. And while a range of factors can cause menstrual problems, your body weight may be an essential consideration.
Our expert team of medical providers at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. in Glen Burnie, Maryland, provides general medical and gynecological care for menstrual issues, as well as weight loss programs for qualifying candidates.
Take a few minutes to learn about the link between irregular periods and body weight.
Irregular periods defined
Most periods last for 4-7 days and take place every 28 days, give or take several days. Your cycle may be considered irregular if your periods:
- Occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart
- Are absent for three or more cycles in a row
- Become much lighter or heavier than usual
- Come along with intense pain, cramping, nausea, or vomiting
Irregular menstrual cycles may also involve bleeding or spotting between your periods or after sex.
While anyone with a uterus can have irregular periods, certain factors increase your risk, including:
- Being underweight or overweight
- Birth control pills
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Having a medical condition, such as fibroids, endometriosis, or cancer
- Perimenopause and increasing age
- Unmanaged stress
How your weight affects your periods
If you’re relatively healthy and not going to extremes as far as exercise and eating habits, your weight will most likely fall into a healthy weight range. As a result, normal menstruation is more likely. Alternatively, if your weight drops too low or climbs too high, your periods may change.
Restrictive dieting and extreme weight loss can disrupt your hormone levels, leading to delayed periods. Over time, you could develop a condition called amenorrhea, when your periods stop completely.
Carrying excessive amounts of weight can lead to the hormonal disorder polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some of the most common signs of PCOS are infrequent, prolonged, or especially heavy or painful periods.
And regardless, weight challenges are linked with irregular periods. Research shows that excessive weight in your abdominal area makes abnormal menstruation likely.
What to do about period and weight challenges
If you’re experiencing irregular periods, our team at Arundel Medical Group, Inc. can help determine the cause by way of a comprehensive exam. We may also order tests to confirm or rule out a potential cause. From there, we can recommend an appropriate treatment.
If weight gain is fueling your menstrual issues, our team can create a personalized weight loss plan to help improve your overall health — including your periods.
To learn more about irregular menstruation or get the care you need, call our office or request an appointment via this website.