Irregular Menstrual Cycles & Progesterone
A “regular” period occurs every 24-29 days, but some women have cycles that are 23-35 days. Therefore, an “irregular” period is measured by what is irregular for you.
In addition to a change in the cycle pattern, irregular periods can be:
- Heavy bleeding every 2-3 months
- Periods 2-3 times per month
- Spotting between periods
Most irregular periods are benign, meaning not harmful. Shifts in hormone balance can alter a woman’s pattern. These shifts are especially common in the time we call perimenopause (the years leading up to menopause). Missed periods, too frequent periods, spotting, or bouts of heavy clotting and bleeding are usually caused by an underlying hormonal imbalance.
Irregular periods may be caused by:
- Increased stress
- Estrogen dominance
- Fibroids uterine cyst, endometriosis
- Excessive alcohol use
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Poor nutrition
- Excessive carbohydrate intake
- Significant weight gain or loss
- Anovulation – cycle in which a woman does not ovulate (does not release an egg)
- may be due to low progesterone
- may be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome
Significant weight gain or loss
- Over exercise
- Poor nutrition (or a diet too high in carbohydrates)
Irregular periods and stress:
Under conditions of stress, the adrenal glands are designed to secrete the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is a powerful hormone which has a direct impact on the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA.
Many women who lead high stress lives may also be having anovulatory cycles.
Natural progesterone can help block cortisol from the body’s receptor sites and hep restore hormonal balance.
Do irregular periods always indicate you are going into menopause?
Irregular periods are not necessarily related to menopause, but may just indicate hormonal imbalance. However, it is not unusual to have irregular periods in the time leading up to menopause. This is because women entering peri-menopause often have irregular cycles due to a deficiency of progesterone.
Progesterone regulates the amount and length of the menstrual cycle.
Menopause is defined as not having had a menstrual period for a period of 12 months or one year.
If you have not had a menstrual period for a full year and then experience bleeding, this is different than irregular periods and you should consult your physician.
Anovulatory Cycles Can Lead To Irregular Periods Which Do Not Signify Perimenopause
The most common type of irregular period or missed period involves anovulation, or a cycle in which a woman does not ovulate ( does not release an egg). This may occur once or twice a year and can be related to the causes listed.
Perimenopause & Irregular Cycle
If you find yourself skipping periods for a few months and then experiencing a heavy period that lasts for days, you may be entering peri-menopause. Peri-menopausal periods can be lighter than usual, heavier than usual, longer than usual or shorter than usual. If you have two or more successive months of heavy bleeding, your physician should be notified.
How To Use Natural Hormones For Irregular Menstrual Cycles
(Natural Progesterone often restores menstrual cycles to regular pattern)
If you have just had a cycle, count the first day of your bleeding as day 1. Use the Progesterone cream from day 12-26 of your cycle.
If your period does not come within a week after you stop taking the progesterone, consider the last day you took the progesterone as day one of a new cycle. Then begin on day 12 again.
If your periods stop for a total of 3 months in a row, then begin to use the cream for 25 days of each month.
Based on research of John R. Lee, M.D.