• It's Time to Get Irregular Menstrual Cycles Under Control. Period.

    by Dr. Payal Bhandari
    on Sep 19th, 2017

When you're a young woman and learning about your period, you seldom hear about irregular menstrual cycles and what those cycles mean. You know that being a few days late can be a sign that you're pregnant but not what it means when you have cycles that come every few months.

As we age, we learn that irregular menstrual cycles can be quite common. Women on a regular cycle have a period that lasts between three and five days, and one that falls around the same dates each month. An irregular menstrual cycle is one that comes at different times of the month and is inconsistent with its duration. This can also include periods that last for a week or longer and those that come once every other month or less often. An integrative San Francisco physician can diagnose the cause for your irregular menstrual cycles and help you find a solution to your problem.

Types of Irregular Menstrual Cycles

It's important that you know some of the different types of irregular menstrual cycles. You'll want to talk to your integrative health doctor about your experiences. One type of irregular cycle is Oligomenorrhea. This occurs when your period comes less often. You might have a regular period one month, skip a few months and then have your period again, or you may notice that your period comes every couple of months.

Another condition is Amenorrhea, which is when you no longer get your period. You may suffer from this condition because you recently started going through menopause, you are pregnant, or you are breastfeeding your child. Even if none of these describe your situation, you may still suffer from Amenorrhea. As a medical term, this refers to a situation where a woman does not get her period for at least 90 days. You may exhibit some other symptoms that include a discharge from your nipples that looks like milk, changes in your vision, loss of hair, increased facial hair, or frequent headaches.

Your integrative doctor will determine possible causes such as infertility, recent weight gain, or a  genetic disorder related to your reproductive organs. Until the doctor identifies and treats the cause, you can continue exhibiting symptoms.

Integrative doctors working in San Francisco can also assist women suffering from Dysmenorrhea, which is when your period causes you actual physical pain. While many women suffer from cramps, these cramps are very painful. You may experience cramps in your lower stomach that feel dull or cramps that throb. Some women experience pain in the abdomen that shoots through their thighs, lower bodies, and backs. Other symptoms that you may experience include changes in your bowel movements, excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting.

Any changes in your flow can lead to a diagnosis of abnormal menstruation. The average woman has a period that starts within 28 days of the last one ending. Signs of an abnormal period include seeing spots of blood after your period ends, having cycles that last more than seven days in a row, and having a flow that is heavier than normal. Some women experience spotting and cramping right after having sexual intercourse, as well.

Taking an Integrative Health Approach

Integrative health physicians can get your irregular menstrual cycles under control with a detailed and holistic approach to your health. One of the first things that an integrative doctor will discuss with you is the common causes to your irregular menstrual cycle. Those causes can include any changes to your weight, emotional issues or stress, an eating disorder, and frequent travel. The doctor will ask you about your diet, exercise habits, reproductive history, and medications/supplements taken.

Certain reproductive issues can wreak havoc on your cycle, including fibroids, uterine polyps, and PCOS. If you recently changed your birth control method, you may experience abnormal periods because of the excess hormones circulating through your body.

Integrative health care includes both traditional forms of medicine and some nontraditional methods that you might not have considered. Your integrative doctor can recommend some preventive treatments designed to get your cycles back on track and help you stop cramps before the pain starts. Preventive care often involves some changes to your lifestyle such as changing your diet to include less meat and animal protein, more nutrient-dense foods, and new forms of exercise like yoga. The idea is that you can heal yourself from the inside out.

Holistic care is a component of dealing with your abnormal periods. This approach uses more natural methods and treatments to help you limit the stress that you experience on a daily basis. Many women miss their periods because of intense stress at work or home. You may attend therapy sessions to talk with a therapist about the problems that you face in your personal and professional life before finding ways to deal with those problems.

When choosing a San Francisco physician, you need to choose someone you can trust and someone you feel comfortable working with in the future. The more comfortable you feel, the more honest you can be about both your experiences and any symptoms you have. Integrative health care builds upon the relationship you have with your doctor.

During your first appointment, you can talk with your doctor about how regular your periods are, including when your cycle usually falls and how long it lasts. You'll also have the chance to talk about the headaches, cramps, and other symptoms that you may experience. This provides your doctor with the information necessary to determine the cause of your abnormal periods. The doctor may recommend that you have some tests done to see if you have any polyps or any other underlying causes. You can then work together on a treatment plan designed to get you back on a regular cycle again.

Book an Appointment with an Integrative San Francisco Physician

Irregular menstrual cycles can change the way you live your life. The headaches and cramps that you experience can hurt so bad that you cannot get out of bed to take care of your kids or go to work. These symptoms can relate to reproductive and uterine health problems, and cause a great deal of stress. An Integrative San Francisco physician will perform the tests necessary to diagnose the cause of your abnormal periods and create a treatment plan that uses medications, therapy, and other methods to regulate your cycles and get your health back on track.

Reach out to San Francisco’s top integrative physician, Dr. Payal N. Bhandari, MD today to book an appointment and discover the benefits of integrative health.

Author Dr. Payal Bhandari Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D. is a leading practitioner of integrative and functional medicine in San Francisco.

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