The duration of the menstrual cycle varies: anything between 21 and 35 days is considered normal. For some women, the interval between periods may be 15 days or less, and in others 50 days or more. And although the “average” cycle is 28 days, only few women actually have a regular 28-day cycle.
Irregular periods occur at unpredictable times and usually involve a combination of short, long and normal intervals between periods, which may range from 14 days to three months or more. Irregular periods are most common soon after menstruation starts, and again in later life as the menopause approaches.
Any cycle that has a long history of being irregular-over a year and more is very irregular and needs professional care. The likely conditions are –
Amenorrhea– no bleeding for months at a time, menstruation being ceased, delayed or obstructed. Delayed menses has become a chronic problem for most females. One feelssome sort of twinge within the breast and goes through the heaviness in the lower abdomen due to inconsistent menstruation cycle. They could also really feel lethargic and suffer with nausea. There are generally various reasons for the postponed menstruation which may differ from person to person
Menorrhagia– period-flow occasionally stronger than normal and may continue over a number of periods
Metrorrhagia-bleeding occurs in the middle of the cycle- or for that matter at any unexpected time
Dysmenorrhea-period accompanied by cramping pains, which can be incapacitating in their intensity
Premenstrual syndrome-tension, anxiety, agitation and depression can occasionally develop in the days leading up to the onset of menstruation, sometimes with the buildup of water in the body, heightened sensitivity of the breast and a range of other symptoms
What goes wrong?
The most common causes are hormone imbalances, polycystic ovaries, the progesterone contraceptive injection, infections, lesions (sores), stress and anxiety, emotional tension, being very underweight, crash dieting or eating disorders and the thyroid conditions.
When to worry
If you have irregular periods, there may be an underlying condition that needs treating. This is especially important if you notice unexpected bleeding (spotting) in between periods or after sex, and if periods are dark in color, too heavy, with clots or very painful when they occur, and has gone on for a number of cycles.
To ensure a normal and easy menstrual cycle, nature has provided us with herbs which may be used regularly or perhaps just for the time leading up to the expected onset of a period. ‘Normal’ is used here recognizing that normalcy is relative and that each individual will have her own norm.
Momordicacharantia(ejirin inYoruba) – the plant contains alkaloids with mild antibiotic qualities and anti inflammatory properties. When combined with basil and vervain, it may work better to stop pains and assist in getting regular monthly cycle.
Vitexsp. (uchakoro in Igbo) – is a powerful regulatory herb that acts on hormonal control centers in the body and regulates ovulation by interacting with follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones. Tender leaves may be pounded, mixed with water and strained. Take one teacup, 3 times daily.
Unripe pawpaw – eating unripe pawpaw can normalize irregular periods associated with menopause and other types of irregular periods too. Also a bowl or glass of pawpaw juice every day may be beneficial. Having raw carrot or carrot juice can also help.
Moringa – has loads of vitamins to support regular flow, balance the hormones and also ease pains associated with irregular menstruation. One tablespoonful of the leaf powder is taken with warm water 2-3 x daily.
Parsley is another useful herb in treating menstrual related issues. Parsley juice should be consumed every day as a remedy for getting regular intervals.
Coconut – root and husk are ground and decocted for 45 minutes and taken for withdrawn and painful menstruation.
Bitter leaf roots and leaves are used to ease pains associated with menopause and delayed menstruation.
Mistletoe – infusion of the leaves corrects hormonal imbalance. Take one teacup first thing in the morning and also last at night.
Ginger – extracts mixed with the juice of pineapple will ease painful and scanty menstruation.
Diodiascandens (ekwueme-Igbo; dasa-Yoruba)-squeeze whole plant and use during the periods of heavy flow. Take one teacup 3 times or more daily.
Hibiscussabdariffa (zobo)– the calyx naturally high in vitamin C is mixed with aromatic herbs to release delayed menstruation.
Chickweed – will benefit those with scanty flow.
Aloe vera pulp or juice may also help in getting frequent menstrual cycles. Chop and soak in warm water and take all day long for pains and other menstrual disorders.
Lady’s mantle – traditionally used as a woman’s healing herb and it helps to alleviate painful menstruation.
Vervain– will help in dysmenorrhea.
Lemongrass – with pepper relieves menstrual troubles and nausea.
Yarrow (itekwonwa-Igbo) – may stimulate menstruation breaking up stagnation in the reproductive system.
Diet – reduce sugar, coffee and alcohol and eat good fats including nuts, seeds, fish and avocado. Try legumes including lentils and soy; these are high in phyto-chemicals, which help regulate hormones.
In addition, take a woman’s focused multivitamin with zinc and B 6 to support hormone production.
To promote a regular menstrual cycle, give the body a regular routine, regular meals, regular exercise and sufficient sleep. Watch your system carefully and take prompt action to alleviate any form of discomfort.