You know when that time of the month comes around and you usually know that your period starts every third Friday of the month, and then it’s Monday and you realize you haven’t gotten your period. You start looking back at your last month questioning if your boyfriend’s condom broke on that night you celebrated your anniversary, or if maybe you were exceptionally stressed out about your midterms and that is making your period late? Then your mind goes there, yes to that dreadful place that we never want to go as females and you think, “Oh my gosh! Am I pregnant?” Then the panic sets in and you start pacing. You text your best friend and ask her to bring you a pregnancy test because she lives right down the street from the local drug store. She does, and just as she knocks on your door, Aunt Flow shows up, and you take a deep breath. Does this sound familiar? It should because this is a scene straight out of the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2! But also, this is every woman’s nightmare. I’m here to tell you to relax because you might just have an irregular period.
Irregular periods are a taboo topic, no one wants to talk about them because of what causes the irregularity. There is a fear instilled in women that because there is an abnormality in their period, they will not be able to have kids in the future, and by extension, that there may be something wrong with their body. It’s a fear that many women face, and as uncomfortable as it is to talk about, it shall be talked about because believe it or not, it’s more common than you think.
Some causes of an irregular cycle are increased stress or weight fluctuation. Every college student gets stressed out at some point in their semester–during midterms or finals or that awful group project where they have to carry the group. Those are my personal stressors. And that unneeded stress just sits in your body differently. For example, knots in your neck, tension in your lower back, headaches that feel like there is a heartbeat inside your skull, or sometimes, all of the above. That stress, as well as weight loss or gain, can also cause an irregular period. When you think you are about to get a visit from Aunt Flow and that dreaded PMS starts to creep in and you need that Personal Me Time (PMS should stand for that!) because you just want people out of your face and to be left alone with that ice cream, wine, and chocolate because you have cramps that feel like someone is stabbing you. Sometimes, we have that ice cream and chocolate because we just need personal time alone to be in our feelings. And all too often, crying into our sundae while watching The Notebook could cause some weight gain. On the flip side of things, that craving for Taco Bell that some of us have (that we know we shouldn’t because of the “repercussions” of our actions and which we never speak of as we are classy ladies) could cause some weight loss. Any physical change could cause an abnormal period. But relax, at least you’re not pregnant!
There are some other serious causes to an irregular period. One of the medical conditions that causes period abnormality is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This condition is common among women who are in the reproductive age. It could be caused by excessive weight gain or just something that runs in the family. One of the reasons that women fear this condition is because of the difficulty with fertility. Some women want so badly to be a mother to a biological child, but have a hard time conceiving because of PCOS. It is heartbreaking when she and her partner are trying month after month to start their own little family and it never seems to work. That is one of the reasons why talking about an irregular period is so taboo, because this diagnosis is hard to sit with and comprehend when you have hopes and dreams of having kids. But never fear, although this diagnosis causes complications with fertility, pregnancy is not impossible. So, there is still hope to hold your own bundle of joy one day. If anything, there is always the option for adoption of a baby or a pet. I suggest a dogs or a cat (I don’t think an apartment lease would allow an otter, as cute as they are).
Irregular periods should not be a topic that is unspoken. If you have any concerns about irregular periods, consult your doctor and get some answers to your questions and hopefully they can subside your worries. Next time you miss your period, don’t immediately think you are pregnant, you might just have an irregular period.