So you've noticed that your period only comes every six months (or twice a year) but most of your friends get theirs monthly. What exactly is going on? Is that normal?
If this sounds familiar to you, you're not alone. Some women have the exact same concern. Cosmopolitan asked Dr. Mae Syki-Young for some answers. In an email interview, she explained that when you just get your first period (aka menarche), there's no reason to panic if it doesn't come every month. It's a sign that your body is still adjusting to the hormonal changes. Most of the time, you aren't ovulating regularly yet.
"Getting your period twice a year is considered as oligomenorrhea," she says. "This condition varies with age. As you age, however, your period will gradually become regular. Although the interval and duration of periods differ for each woman, an interval of 21-35 days and duration of two to seven days are the norm."
Possible causes of irregular periods
According to Dr. Syki-Young, if you're in your 20s and menstruation only occurs twice a year, here are the possible causes:
- Sudden weight changes due to eating disorder (excessive weight gain or weight loss)
- Illness, especially if severe or life-threatening
- Lifestyle changes like traveling, extreme activity or heavy sports, and excessive exercise
- Medications such as oral contraceptive pills or chemotherapy
- Hormonal imbalance: pcos, thyroid hormone abnormality, or increase in prolactin
But "the most common cause of delayed or absence of period during reproductive age is pregnancy. Most people with irregular periods are so used to their condition that they tend to take it for granted, only for them to find out eventually that they are pregnant. This might pose a danger to the baby and the mother if prenatal check-up is delayed."
Dr. Syki-Young warns that irregular periods should not be ignored. It's best to see a gynecologist so a proper assessment can be done and a correct diagnosis can be made. Be sure to track your period so you can stay on top of any changes and these can be shared with your doctor during your appointment.
Dr. Mae Syki-Young is a consultant of Makati Medical Center and St. Luke's Medical Center, Bonifacio Global Center; Fellow of Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecology Society (POGS); Member of Philippine Society of Gynecologic Endoscopy (PSGE); Member of Aesthetic Gynecology Society of the Philippines (AGSPI).
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