- by Dr. Sahana K P
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- Feb 09 2017
Causes of Irregular Periods
Irregular periods have a host of causes; but, for women approaching menopause, the primary cause is hormonal changes in the body. Understanding what is happening in the body can help a woman who is experiencing irregular periods, which is a common menopausal symptom.
Besides normal hormonal changes, irregular periods can be caused or aggravated by other physical and behavioral factors. These underlying causes may warrant a doctor's visit. Continue reading to learn more about the hormonal, health-related, and behavioral causes of irregular periods.
Declining levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body are the most common cause of irregular periods during menopause. To better understand this, it is helpful to look at what happens hormonally in a woman's body throughout the life cycle.
Normal Menstruation. During a regular menstrual cycle, the hypothalamus in the brain sends out a chemical signal – follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) – to the pituitary gland to stimulate follicle development in the ovaries.
Next, these developing follicles secrete increasing amounts of estrogen into the blood, causing the uterine lining to thicken and the cervical mucous to change. When levels of estrogen become high enough, a hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) is released and ovulation occurs.
Birth control pills often block LH and, thus prevent ovulation.
If this egg isn't fertilized and implanted, the excess estrogen andprogesterone excreted in case of fertilization is released, the lining of the uterus begins to shed, and a woman has her period, usually 12-14 days after ovulation.
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