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Consistent irregular periods

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if someone could provide any resources (books, links, etc.) for information about irregular periods. Is this mentioned in TCOYF? I'm looking for reasons for it and why OBs want to use BC for regularity. Of course, I'm also wondering what impact this has on fertility?

I would greatly appreciate any help.
post #2 of 19
Originally Posted by futureLM
I'm looking for reasons for it and why OBs want to use BC for regularity.
Because they either don't know what else to do or don't want to spend time getting to the bottom of the problem. It's the "easy" way out for them and most people just go along with it. BC pills are probably one of THE most overprescribed meds aside from antibiotics.
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I pretty much figured/knew that but thanks for posting. I'm mainly wondering what there actual reasons or what they see as the benefit of it. Also, why it happens in the first place
post #4 of 19
Well, I did have irregular periods. And when I did have a cycle, I was anovulatory. So I was one that went on one months worth of BCP's. I was totally regulated after that. 26-27 day cycles and finally ovulating.

I can't remember if TCOYF covers this or not. There's a LOT online about irregular cycles, anovulatory cycles, etc.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mfp02
There's a LOT online about irregular cycles, anovulatory cycles, etc.
Where? I'm not finding it although I might not be using the right words. Is "anovulatory" the same thing?

post #6 of 19
Are you charting? Or do you know if you are ovulating? How irregular are your cycles?
post #7 of 19
Originally Posted by mfp02
Are you charting? Or do you know if you are ovulating? How irregular are your cycles?
This is good advice...
I had irregular cycles --about every 40-60 days. However, I charted, and ovulated every single cycle but one in two years. I don't know why mine were so long or irregular. I do know that vitex should help the issue (found in health food stores), and that sometimes insulin issues are at the root cause of irregular/long cycles. TCOYF touches upon it briefly, but not in great depth.

I was very concerned that I wouldn't get pregnant, and we actually tried for 2 years--after my husband got some "plumbing work" done, we conceived the first try--so apparently, it wasn't an issue. However, my a$$hat ob/gyn at the time, told me time and time again that I couldn't be ovulating because I had long cycles...even though I brought in my charts.
He seemed to think you could only successfully ovulate on day 14 of a 28 day cycle.

Definely check out vitex if this is a conception issue. I have read good things.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
I guess you didn't read my signature.
post #9 of 19
The most common cause of irregular periods is PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome. There is a pretty exhaustive FAQ on it at INCIID.org: http://www.inciid.org/faq.php?cat=infertility101&id=2

As for why GYNs are so fond of blindly prescribing BCP to "treat" it, JenniferH is right on. It's a matter of not knowing enough about it. Which is kind of sad, as PCOS is also the most common cause of infertility among women of childbearing age.

I know TCOYF covers PCOS in some capacity, but I'm not positive how much offhand. I'd have to uncover my book to answer the question, and as it's almost 1AM here right now, I'm not quite awake enough to do that. (Yes, I know that begs the question of why on Earth I am awake right now.)

Irregular periods of any cause absolutely will impact fertilty. It makes it that much more difficult to determine when a woman ovulates, especially if she's merely counting, or expecting ovulation to magically occur on day 14, as so many women seem to. PCOS can make things even more difficult, as it means that cycles are quite likely to be anovulatory (no egg released), and it screws around with your CM too for a lot of women...and over the counter ovulation predictor kits aren't accurate for women with this condition, as there can be an LH surge, or the appearance of one, without actual ovulation. One of the hallmarks of PCOS is that the first part of the cycle is perfectly fine, but where a normal woman would release an egg from the matured follicle, a woman with PCOS will have something go wrong at that step, and wind up with nothing at all or a cyst instead of a released egg.

There are many pharmaceutical treatments for PCOS, but a woman may well have to be quite persistent in trying to get proper care. For all that this is a common syndrome, it is my experience that it is also quite often misunderstood, esp. by doctors. I had one, in fact, tell me that I had PCOS because I was overweight, when in reality overweight is the symptom rather than the cause. It can also be treated with homeopathics and with diet. (If I am not vigilant about avoiding refined sugars & flours and such, my symptoms come rushing back strongly.)

It is something well worth learning about, being connected as it is to both Type-II diabetes and also a long-term increased risk of heart disease.
post #10 of 19
Originally Posted by futureLM
I guess you didn't read my signature.
I guess that would be kind of impossible, huh...
Sorry about that!
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wow, thank you so much Sagesgirl but I hope you get your rest

I knew about PCOS but certainly appreciate the in-depth info. I've also found out about amenorrhea which is what absent periods is called. From what I found out there's many causes but PCOS is the primary one.

Do you avoid all flours?
post #12 of 19
I think docs just rx OC because they feel like it is "pointless" to treat the underlying issue until the woman is ready to have a child. As if treating the under lying issue is not worth their time until it causes infertility.

I have regularly irregular cycles, ranging from 28-46 days. Beacuse I was charting (have been for nearly 2 years now, we use nfp to avoid a pregnancy), I could see that I do ovulate each cycle, and that I'm very sensitive to stress. I also noted my temps were very low, which can indicate a thyroid problem. Thyroid problems can cause irregular cycles. had it checked, nothing going on there. I started taking a multivitamin at the suggestion of my doctor, and my cycles didn't really change all that much. I started to pay more attention to what I am eating, and trying to eleminate processed foods. Things look like they're evening out, I'm not sure what the underlying problem was, but it seems to be fixing itself. There is a book called Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon that discusses the impact of nutrition on the menstrual cycle and fertility. If I had to suggest one book for you to read, that would be the one.

I think that charting can tell us a lot about what's going on. I also think that most docs don't trust a woman to be able to take her temperature correctly (just like they don't trust us to take a pill every day), or don't trust the charts thmselves because they aren't a laboratory test.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks, texaspeach. Great name, btw.
post #14 of 19
Marilyn Shannon's book _Fertility Cycles and Nutrition_ is excellent to have anyway, but she has an entire chapter devoted to cycle irregularities.
Basically, some cycles are irregular because thats just how that woman is. If hse is charting and able to determine if/when she is ovulating, it probably wouldn't affect her fertility.
Other times there might be a proble where one or more of the various fertility hormones are low, or her thyroid might be underactive or overactive, or she may be carrying excess fat or not enough fat, she might have PCOS, etc etc.
She has a whole chapter or possible causes and ways to overcome these issues nutritionally or through lifestyle changes. Definitely check out the book
post #15 of 19
Do you avoid all flours?
No, I don't personally, but I know a lot of women who do. I do try to limit my intake, have bread at only one meal a day, but the truth is I like my bread and such things too much to abandon it altogether. I got careless during my last pregnancy, and saw a worsening of symptoms. It's a hard lesson to learn that I cannot eat like just about everyone else, but I'm getting back into the swing of things. And from a broader standpoint (ie, family health & even the environment), I think the typical American diet isn't ideal. But that's another topic.
post #16 of 19


My periods have been extremely irregular lately. I think it might have something to do with nursing. I didn't even get it back until my dd was 16 months old
post #17 of 19
Yeah when you factor nursing into the equation that's also another reason for irregularity. Prolactin levels can contribute to cycle irregularity.
post #18 of 19
I was wondering if someone could provide any resources (books, links, etc.) for information about irregular periods.

Well...I was diagnosed with menorrhagia several years ago and placed on BC pills (which in my case worked wonderfully for about 6 years) after extensive testing failed to find an underlying condition. Although my cycle lengths would vary, in most cases I would bleed continuously for 3-4 weeks with a pause in bleeding of about 2-2.5 weeks. I also had monthly "breakthrough" bleeding while pregnant until the beginning of my third trimester (heavy enough to require pads and again testing didn't show any obvious reason and her placenta was normal at delivery). After dd's birth my cycles returned at 7 months and have been more or less "normal" since then so I'm hoping and praying this will last!

If you're interested in learning more about this sort of irregular cycle (menorrhagia), pubmed is a great resource. A search for menorrhagia will get you several papers, some of which are full text online. Searching pubmed for "Menstural Irregularity" will bring up a ton of stuff too (including research on PCOS and irregular cycle length). Throw in the word "treatment" and you'll find a variety of papers discussing different treatment options and why various treatments may or may not appeal to the medical industry.

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
wombatclay, thank you so much for the info. I'll definately have to look into it. I've never heard that word before. It's certainly helpful!

Love your signature
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