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Irregular Periods: What can I do about them?

irregular periods
Irregular periods are common, but there are times you need to take action.


Having irregular periods is more common than you think. Maybe no one’s period is completely regular — there are always a few days on either side of what’s considered ‘normal’.

But when do irregular periods become worrisome? And when do you need to take action?

KeyForHer looks at the facts.


Your menstrual cycle can be disturbed if you change contraception. It can also be affected by an imbalance of the reproductive hormones progesterone and oestrogen.

Hormone imbalance

Several different factors can cause a hormone imbalance, including polycystic ovary syndrome, extreme weight loss, or excessive exercise.

Stress can be a key factor in causing an imbalance in hormones and irregular bleeding.

Thyroid disorders

Although rare, a thyroid disorder is another possible cause of irregular periods. The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to maintain the body’s metabolism.

Gynaecological issues

Some gynaecological problems can also cause irregular bleeding – including unsuspected pregnancy or problems with the womb or ovaries. Your GP may refer you to a gynaecologist for further investigation.


If you are experiencing abnormalities in your menstrual cycle, your GP might recommend that you do a pregnancy test and/or ultrasound scan to rule out the possibility of pregnancy. This is particularly the case if you are experiencing pain.

Counselling and stress management

Stress can cause irregular periods as well as high pressure. Using relaxation or stress management techniques and visiting a counsellor or therapist may help.

What is an average menstrual cycle?

On average, the female menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but this can vary anywhere between 24 to 35 days. Most women develop their regular cycle within this timeframe, with bleeding lasting between two to seven days.

If you want to know more about your period, read our blog on understanding your menstrual cycle.

When to see your GP

You should go to your GP if you are bleeding or spotting between periods or after having sex.

If your periods are particularly heavy, whereby you need to change your pad or tampon every hour or two (or have to wear both), a trip to your GP is advisable.

Other times you should make an appointment with your doctor, including if you suffer from heavy bleeding that goes through your clothes, if your period is longer than seven days, or if your period occurs more frequently than once a month.


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