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Decoding irregular periods

A guide to understanding what to do when you have irregular period cycles. 

Ever since the dawn of womankind, menstruation has been a source of pride, disgust, pain and shock. There is a whole spectrum of emotions associated with that time of the month. If it comes on time, well and good, one can deal with it. But if it follows Indian Standard Time, what should one do?

Many menstruating people have been thrown a curve ball when planning a vacation, social events, or even a random romp in bed. The problem with IST periods is unpredictability and the ability to upset your physical and mental health. 

Am I the only one who faces this? It is estimated that 1 in 5 women have problems with their periods. Irregular periods happen because of many reasons - stress, OCPs, PCOS, emergency contraceptive pills, hypothyroidism, chronic illness, peri-menopause, fibroids… the list goes on. 

What should I do? Be calm. Recollect the time since the problem began, if you’ve been noting down your period begin and end date regularly either in a diary or any period tracking app, that’s a good start. If not, remember the date when you last had your period, in case you cannot recollect, now is a good time to start tracking your period. 

If your period cycle is more than 35-38 days (from the start of the cycle to the beginning of the next cycle) or shorter than 21 days over the past few months, you may have an irregular cycle. In any case, a good practice is to note your period date either on the phone or in a diary. Keeping track of your period cycle helps you understand the pattern and is also a good input for the Doctor to be able to diagnose your problem. 

Who should I meet? Talk to your family physician and have them recommend a gynaecologist for you. If that’s not an option, an easy way would be to check with your friends to refer a trusted non-judgemental gynec.

Don’t forget to list down all your symptoms and period dates before you visit the gynec. In our next article, we will be covering questions you should expect from your doctor. And yes, ask too. 

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