London: A regular menstrual cycle is an important way of tracking reproductive health. An irregular period can happen from time to time, however, if this is ongoing it could indicate a hormonal imbalance or other health complications.
New research has pinpointed smoking, stress, and obesity as three leading factors that can contribute to an irregular menstrual cycle.
Irregular Periods and PCOS Natural Treatment
A normal menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, plus or minus seven days. Menstrual bleeding is considered irregular if it occurs more frequently than every 21 days or lasts longer than eight days. The study examined data from 4,788 women who had taken part in the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2007 – 2014.
Using this information, researchers categorized the health of the participants into three groups: smoking status, how often they consumed alcohol, their body mass index (BMI), and perceived levels of stress. The findings showed that all three categories – smoking, body weight, and perceived levels of stress were directly associated with an irregular menstrual cycle.
Of all the health issues, which were identified as being the most problematic, obesity was highlighted as being the leading risk factor for contributing to an irregular cycle. The research showed obese women, namely those with a BMI over 25kg/m2 had a higher risk of irregular menstrual cycles versus women with normal body weight.
Stress was also shown to play a role in reproductive health. Participants who said they experienced only a small amount of stress were 1.74 times less likely to have an irregular cycle than those who reported ‘very much’ stress.
The data also revealed that smokers were 1.4 times more likely to have an irregular menstrual cycle compared to non-smokers. The research also showed women who smoked over the course of their lives were more likely to experience the onset of early menopause.
Researchers weren’t able to identify a clear link between menstrual irregularities and alcohol consumption. An irregular cycle could be the first sign you have an ovulation problem and this can impact your health in a number of ways.
If you have consistently missed periods, it may be worth seeing your doctor for a medical evaluation in order to determine if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In Australia, the condition affects between 12 – 18 percent of women of reproductive age, and apart from irregular periods, it can lead to a range of other health problems.
These can include acne, excess hair, hair loss, depression, anxiety, and difficulties with fertility. Women who have been diagnosed with PCOS are encouraged to manage the condition by embracing a healthy lifestyle, including a nutrient-rich diet.
In some instances, medical treatment is prescribed in order to treat the different symptoms of the condition. The study concluded women could improve their overall health, and in turn their reproductive health, by stopping smoking, managing their weight through diet, and managing their stress. dailymail