What Is Irregular Menstruation?

Irregular menstruation can be caused by various factors that influence the delicate hormonal balance within a woman’s body. These factors can lead to menstrual cycle length, frequency, and flow variations.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal fluctuations are a common cause of irregular periods. Changes in the levels of estrogen and progesterone, which regulate the menstrual cycle, can lead to disruptions in the timing and flow of periods. Stress, weight changes, and medical conditions can cause these imbalances.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. It affects around 10% of women of reproductive years and is likely to be increasing in line with the expected increase in obesity seen in the population. PCOS can present as irregular periods or missed periods, excessive hair growth on the face or body, acne, male pattern hair loss and weight gain

Thyroid Disorders

Conditions such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) can impact the production of hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in maintaining hormonal balance throughout the body.

Stress and Lifestyle Factors

High levels of chronic stress can affect the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, leading to hormonal imbalances that impact menstrual regularity. Additionally, extreme weight changes, excessive exercise, and poor nutrition can disrupt the hormonal equilibrium and lead to irregular periods.

Uterine Conditions

Conditions like uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths in the uterus), uterine polyps, and adenomyosis (thickening of the uterine lining) can interfere with the normal shedding of the uterine lining during menstruation. This can result in prolonged or irregular bleeding.


Certain medications, including hormonal contraceptives (such as birth control pills) and medications that affect hormone levels (like corticosteroids), can impact menstrual patterns.

Perimenopause and Menopause

As women approach menopause, their hormone levels naturally fluctuate. This transitional phase, known as perimenopause, can cause irregular periods before menstruation ceases during menopause.

Chronic Illnesses

Underlying chronic conditions like diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and autoimmune disorders can disrupt hormonal balance and influence menstrual regularity.

Treatment of Underlying Conditions

Addressing underlying medical conditions is crucial for managing irregular menstruation:
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Managing PCOS may involve a combination of lifestyle changes, hormonal treatments, and medications to regulate periods, improve insulin sensitivity, and address other symptoms.
  • Thyroid Disorders Treating hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism with medication can restore hormonal balance and regulate menstrual cycles.

Monitoring and Tracking

Keeping track of menstrual cycles and symptoms over time can provide valuable information for healthcare specialists to monitor progress and adjust treatment plans.

Dr. Cho Li Wei 朱丽薇医生

Consultant Endocrinologist
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