Do you have a history of irregular periods? If yes, then you are at a higher risk of struggling with infertility. Irregular menses invites other health problems that can impact fertility. One of the common causes of irregular periods is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is in turn the common reason behind infertility. Read on to learn more about this mensuration.
Menstruation is a natural process. The menstrual cycle can be referred to as the monthly sequence of changes that a woman's body experiences while preparing to conceive (that is getting pregnant). Hence, during a monthly process, one of the ovaries releases an egg (this process can be described as ovulation), and at the same time, one's hormonal changes as well tend to prepare the uterus in order to get pregnant. So, if the ovulation happens and the egg is not fertilised, then the lining of the uterus sheds through one's vagina, also known as menstrual period. Females who have gone through puberty, experience menstruation.
You may get your period after every 21 to 35 days and it could last up to 7 days. You must also keep in mind that during the first few years when menstruation starts, one's cycle can be long. Likewise, your cycle can also become short and irregular once you become older. But, if your menstrual cycle is irregular, the flow is heavy and you encounter any problems while menstruating, then it can be a cause of concern.
A menstrual cycle that is shorter than 21 days or even longer than 36 days then it can be termed as an irregular period. If your cycle tends to vary from month to month then also your menses can be termed as irregular. Yes, you have heard us! You may be shocked to know that the variations in cycle length are tied to infertility than just having a shorter or longer regular cycle. Occasional irregular menstrual cycle owing to stress or illness is normal as these can delay menstruation or even ovulation. But if your period is frequently irregular then it is a matter of concern and you should consult your doctor.
Irregular periods can disrupt one's regular menstruation cycle and plays a vital role in fertility. Irregular periods tend to include amenorrhea (lack of menstruation), oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods), and menorrhagia (prolonged or heavy periods). The causes of irregular periods can be Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), being underweight, obesity, thyroid problem or even decreased ovarian reserve. Hence, infrequent or even the lack of ovulation can lead to irregular periods.
It is a no brainer that irregular periods have an association with your chances of getting pregnant. It may also indicate a hormonal imbalance. Though you may be ovulating, the day may vary. So, if you still tend to ovulate then you will not require any fertility drugs to conceive. But, may times, irregular menses can lead to anovulation (when there is no ovulation). That is when you will not be able to enjoy that pregnancy bliss without taking a fertility treatment.
You will be suggested to adopt lifestyle changes after consulting your doctor and determining the underlying cause. If you are obese or overweight and wish to become a mother then in order to become pregnant, you will have to shed those excess kilos. You will have to consult your doctor about the ideal weight and a fitness regime that is suitable for you. But you must not do anything rigorously. Losing weight can help start your ovulation process. To tackle PCOS, hormonal imbalance, and underweight problems, you will have to stick to a well-balanced diet that is loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. And try to maintain an optimum weight.
Without delaying, you must visit your doctor and try to get appropriate treatment for your irregular periods. Treating the underlying cause at the right time can do the trick, and keep infertility at bay.
About the author: Dr. Apurva Satish Amarnath is a fertility consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Bengaluru.
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