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.
Reply :
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
  • headaches
  • acne breakouts
  • disturbed sleep patterns
  • mood swings
  • bloating
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
  • Stress 
  • 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?
Take Care, 
Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Irregular Periods in Teens – Causes and Treatment

  1. Shiya sinha

    This article seems to be extremely useful and very practical. This will be perfect solution to stop the problem of irregular periods.

    The suggested home treatment are simple and highly useful for teenagers who suffer from this problem. Thanks for the useful information.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Irregular periods can happen by any factor that disturbs or affects the hormonal levels of the female reproductive hormones.

      The menstrual cycle is regulated by two hormones basically, estrogen and progesterone. So anything that affects their production is liable to affect the your periods.

      For example, mental stress of any kind triggers the production of cortisol, the so called stress hormone.
      Cortisol can affect the ovary and hence the production of female hormones. So menses can get affected.

  2. Cass

    I’m fourteen and I’ve had my period since I’ve been 12. Ever since then, my period has been very irregular, never coming on the same time and it comes twice a month. Each time for seven to eight days and my flow makes me bleed through two super tampons per thirty minutes. My doctor keeps telling me to wait it out but my mom was talking to my sister’s doctor and she said to bring me in so we can get me on the pill. I’m so confused!

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Menses do take time to stabilize in young females. There is nothing to be worried about.

      In most girls, after 6 to 8 menstrual cycles, the pattern gets stabilized and regular. However, some girls may take more time.

      Since it has been two years now, you may go for a medical evaluation. Do you have any other symptom, like lethargy, weight gain etc? Thyroid problems may also present in a similar way.

      Get your thyroid profile done to rule any endocrine cause from this gland. Read more about other causes of disturbed menses.

      Treatment with pills is not recommended, since you are too young. Pills have many side effects and are not the best way to treat unless very essential.

  3. v siri

    I am 18 years and have irregular periods since two months. Tested for thyroid result is negative. More pimples are growing on face. Rest no problems. Thank you.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You may get your hormonal levels, both female hormones and testosterone, checked up. Also, get your blood sugar checked. Let us know the results.

      Read above about the various causes that may lead to irregular menses.

  4. Neha

    Sir, I am now 19 years old. My periods started when I was 16. My periods are very irregular from then. My flow is also very less (3days max). I am also not much fat but I get pimples, dark spots very often. But now I’m feeling that I am becoming little obese. So please help me doctor and please suggest me some ayurvedic tablets.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      You need to see a gyne for evaluation. An U/S pelvis may be done.

      Ayurvedic medicines are not prescribed here.

      Read above in detail about the various causes leading to irregular menses.

  5. Mary

    23 years and have not started menstruating and I went for a pelvic U/S scan and the result say small size uterus. The ovaries are not visualized. There is no abnormal adnexal mass. The POD is empty. What should the person do?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Why were the ovaries not visualized? What about your hormonal levels?

      Do you have some underlying medical condition, like thyroid problem etc.

  6. Usha

    My daughter 10 yrs old has first period in the month of july’2014. In the first four months of period, she has irregular period that some times it’s period comes in 10 days or some times 20 days. In these four months she had six times periods and some times the days limits are also 3 and sometime 6 to 7 days. She is not feeling well and tidy. Request suggest some home remedies and if required medical treatment.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It’s alright to have all these variations during the initial years of getting periods. Her menses would stabilize with time, over a year or two. Do not intervene medically.

      The natural treatment includes giving her a proper healthy diet. Pure vegetarian diet is the best for reproductive organs. Promote her to have plenty of vegetables and seasonal fruits.

      Let her play, and stay physically active. Check if her Hb levels are alright.

  7. Minha

    Hi.i’m 15 year old now and I started having period at the age of 12.My period hasn’t come for 2 month.Before it used to come every month and was coming irregular day.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      If you are sexually active, better go for a pregnancy test.

      If not, this may happen a few times in your age group, as hormones stabilize with the growing body. Nothing to worry.

  8. Sadaf

    My daughter 12 yrs old started her first period 3 months back.hving 8 days bleeding.this timeand today is 14 day.bleeding is not stopped.cap transamina and ponstan me what to dodo.

  9. Prerana

    I am a 16 year old girl and I need to go out next weekend. My period is exactly on the same date how can I get it earlier so that I can enjoy the plan without any tension. Can aspirin be used?

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      No, aspirin has no role. The only way to alter menses is by taking hormones. This is not recommended medically, unless you have a very important task to look after.

      You cannot make it early. However, you may delay your menses to whatever length of time you want. Read here about the topic-

  10. Hisana thasni

    I’m 15 years old. My period start in about 13th age. Then after 1year regularly period is perfect, but now period date is irregular. If period coming, blood is in small amount or a drop, but a dirty brownish substance present some largely, and that period is maximum about two days. Also sometimes the irregularity longer to a month. Any problem?

    1. Shiny

      My daughter 13 yrs old has first period in the month of October ’2015. Since last month it is coming in small amount like drops. Last two months it was like that., she is having body weight 34 kg it was last for around 9 days

      1. Buddy M.D. Post author

        Did she have normal menses last two years? Any pain in abdomen, recent weight gain, feeling lethargic or any other symptom?