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Abnormal Periods

Abnormal periods may include bleeding more than once a month, skipping cycles or no bleeding at all

Almost all women will have an abnormal period here and there during their lifetimes. Being late once or twice a year, or having a super heavy or long period occasionally, is nothing to be concerned about. However, a pattern of abnormal periods or unusual bleeding could indicate a problem that needs to be checked out by our San Antonio fertility center, especially if you are trying to conceive.

An average menstrual cycle length is 28 days, but only about 25% of women have a period exactly every 28 days. Normal cycles can actually be anywhere from every 21 to 35 days. Most women bleed for three to seven days. During the heaviest day (usually cycle day 2 or 3), most women have to change a pad or tampon every two to three hours.

Causes of abnormal periods

Many things can cause abnormal or irregular periods. Conditions such as stress, severe illness, excessive exercise, and being overweight or underweight can cause you to skip periods.

Several causes of abnormal menstrual cycles need to be excluded.

How are these problems diagnosed?

When our fertility specialists are trying to determine the cause of abnormal periods, blood work is typically used to evaluate ovarian reserve, thyroid and prolactin levels, and other hormone problems affecting the menstrual cycle.

A pelvic ultrasound can screen for structural problems with the uterus. Hysterosalpingograms (HSGs) or saline sonograms are more detailed tests to evaluate structural abnormalities, such as polyps and fibroids.

Treatment options for irregular periods depend on the cause

Treatment of abnormal periods is always specific to the underlying reason, which is why it’s important to have a thorough evaluation. Fibroids and polyps can be removed surgically. PCOS is treated with medications, and obesity-related period problems can sometimes be corrected by modest weight loss alone. Ovulation problems related to hypothalamic (brain) dysfunction can be treated with fertility medications, as can problems with the thyroid and prolactin.

Contact our San Antonio fertility center to make an appointment with Dr. Munch if you have irregular periods and are struggling to conceive. Our expert physicians are ready to get you back on track for pregnancy.