ZocdocAnswersWhy is my mentrual cycle irregular and is there anything that I can do to regulate it?

Question

Why is my mentrual cycle irregular and is there anything that I can do to regulate it?

I am a 32 year old female. After I had my last child, my menstrual cycle was absent for one year (due to breastfeeding). During the last seven months that it has resumed, it has been extremely irregular and very unpredictable. Every month it starts on a different date of the month. Is there a reason for this? Is there anything that I can do to make it regular again.

Answer

Questions about one's menstrual cycle are best answered by an obstetrician-gynecologist. Overall, the hormonal regulation of the menstrual cycle is quite complex, involving two parts of the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, as well as the ovaries and uterus. Pregnancy results in a (perfectly normal) disruption of the signaling cascade that leads to regular, monthly menstrual cycles. It is not unusual for it to take several months for this cycle to return to your pre-pregnancy baseline, but it can be very frustrating to have such irregular periods. In general, it is best to have sustained, irregular periods evaluated by your gynecologist because he or she can do a more detailed history and physical examination, as well as some laboratory testing if indicated, to make sure that there are not signs of any other hormonal or endocrine causes for irregular periods. Thyroid disorders, for example, can cause irregular menstrual cycles. However, if there are no signs or symptoms of any other issues, the easiest way to regulate one's menstrual cycle is to use oral contraceptives. Even if such medications are not specifically being used for contraception they do have the side effect of leading to predictable periods. Not all women wish to take OCPs and this decision is best made after a discussion with you and your physician. However, if you and your doctor decide this is a good option for you, OCPs will lead to very regular cycles.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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