Irregular Periods in Teens – Causes and Treatment
Q: I have had my period now for 12 days. My periods are very irregular during which my breasts get swollen. I have terrible cramps and extremely heavy periods that last 4 days or less. The last period I had before this one was in March. Also, I passed a large clot, about a quarter size; I am somewhat concerned about it. My period is not super heavy. I go through maybe 2 regular tampons per day but it seems like it will never end. Help please.
– By Anna, age 21 years, female.
Most of the time, irregular periods are part of the normal changes that can happen when you’re a teen. At some point as you get older, your cycle will probably settle into a recognizable pattern.
It is common and absolutely normal to have the following symptoms during menses:
- back cramps or stiffness
- heavier breasts or breast soreness
- acne breakouts
- disturbed sleep patterns
- mood swings
The presence of any of these symptom is normal and needs no treatment medically. Symptomatic relief can be provided in the form of a pain reliever and a muscle relaxant during those days.
Causes of Irregular Periods
Disturbed or irregular periods can have medical causes too:
- It can be as a result of a hormone imbalance. This is common for a few years after puberty and before the menopause. This can cause your menstrual cycle to become longer or shorter. Your periods may also become lighter or heavier.
- Extreme weight loss or weight gain
- Excessive exercise
- Sudden withdrawal of any contraceptive pill being taken
- A thyroid disorder is another possible cause. The thyroid gland, found in the neck, produces hormones that maintain the body’s metabolism). Your doctor may test for a thyroid problem by taking a blood test to check the levels of thyroid hormones in your blood.
To make an exact diagnosis, I need to know more about your case:
- When did you start having your first period, what age?
- Were the periods regular then?
- Any other symptom you have beside your menstrual problem?