Menstrual Irregularities: Causes

By Spader, Catherine RN

What causes menstrual irregularities?

Menstrual irregularities can be associated with normal conditions, such as puberty or ovulation. Your menstrual period may last for just a few days or for more than a week. A normal menstrual flow can differ greatly from woman to woman and also varies in different phases of life, such as adolescence and perimenopause. Menstrual irregularities can be caused by a mild or moderate condition, such as stress or uterine fibroids. Menstrual irregularities can also be caused by serious or life-threatening conditions, such as uterine cancer or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Potential causes of menstrual irregularities

Menstrual irregularities can be caused by a variety of underlying factors, such as a pelvic infection, or a disease, disorder or condition of the ovaries or uterus. Causes of menstrual irregularities include:

  • Extremely low levels of body fat, which can be caused by malnourishment, extreme physical training, or eating disorders

  • Endometriosis

  • Obesity

  • Ovulation

  • Perimenopause and menopause

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Pregnancy

  • Puberty

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

  • Side effect of certain medications, such as birth control pills

  • Stress

  • Uterine fibroids or uterine polyps

  • Uterine, vaginal, cervical or ovarian cancer

What are the potential complications of menstrual irregularities?

In some cases, menstrual irregularities can be due to a condition that can result in serious or life-threatening complications. You can minimize the risk of serious complications of menstrual irregularities by seeking early medical care and following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of menstrual irregularities and underlying causes can include:

  • Anemia, due to excessive blood loss

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • Difficulty getting pregnant and infertility

  • Ectopic pregnancy

  • Metastatic cancer that can become terminal

  • Pelvic adhesions and scarring of the fallopian tubes

  • Severe hemorrhage


What are menstrual irregularities?

Menstrual irregularities are common abnormalities of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Menstrual irregularities include a variety of conditions in which menstruation is irregular, heavy, painful, or does not occur at all.... Read more about menstrual irregularitiesintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with menstrual irregularities?

Menstrual irregularities may occur with other symptoms depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, menstrual irregularities due to a pelvic infection may be associated with fever and painful sexual intercourse.... Read more about menstrual irregularitiessymptoms

Medical Reviewer: McDonough, Brian MD Last Annual Review Date: Feb 9, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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