Although many women have minor variations in their menstrual cycle from month to month, more marked changes may be considered irregular periods. An irregular period is defined as:
The time between periods changing or being very unpredictable
The amount of blood during each period shifting from light to heavy or vice versa
The number of days of bleeding varying significantly
Women with irregular periods may experience just one of these conditions, or all three. Periods can also be irregular for a few cycles, regulate back to normal, and become irregular again later. Many factors can cause irregular periods, including:
Insertion of an IUD
Change of birth control pills or some medications
Polycystic ovary disease (PCOS)
Uterine fibroids or polyps
Treating irregular periods is important because they have such a large impact on both current and future fertility. Several of the underlying issues that can cause the cycle to become irregular can also affect hormone production, egg quality, ovulation, and the formation and quality of the uterine lining. Imbalances in any of these areas can affect a woman’s chances of getting and staying pregnant. For women currently trying to conceive, irregular periods also make it difficult to pinpoint ovulation. Because the fertile window typically lasts for less than a week, the inability to predict when ovulation will take place lessens chances of conception in any given cycle.
For these reasons, correcting irregular cycles is a main focus of treatments at TCRA. Ideally, we look for a period arriving every 28 days, ovulation on day 14, and a consistent 4 days of moderate bleeding. Each treatment is tailored to a woman’s individual constitution in order to help the body gently re-regulate itself. Because it treats stress and helps normalize hormone levels, acupuncture is very effective at helping achieve a regular cycle. Chinese herbal formulas are another powerful, personalized tool for women struggling with irregular periods. We use formulas tailored to each individual’s follicular phase, luteal phase, and menses to influence the length of each of these cycles. The reproductive medicine and women’s health specialists at TCRA are experienced at diagnosing the underlying causes of irregular periods and successfully treating them.