Most women will suffer from irregular menstrual periods at some point in their lives. Those women approaching menopause, the time of life when menstrual cycles cease, are at an even higher risk of experiencing irregular cycles, especially early menstrual cycles. For many, the occurrence of early menstrual cycles can be very disruptive and, if not treated, the condition can become worse.
What is Early Menstrual Cycle?
A normal menstrual cycle varies from 23 to 35 days between period cycle start days. An early menstrual cycle is a cycle that starts less than 23 days from the last cycle start day. Early menstrual cycles are also known as anovulatory cycles, because the reason they occur is that an egg is not properly developed, so it does not mature and is not released during the cycle.
Types of Irregular Menstrual Cycles
There are several different types of irregular menstrual cycles classified with early menstrual cycles. Polymenorrhea is when the frequency of periods is 21 days or less. Oligomenorrhea is infrequent periods that occur more that 35 days apart. Those with oligomenorrhea also have short cycles, lasting three days or less. Amenorrhea is the complete absence of a menstrual cycle for more than 60 days. This condition usually occurs during pregnancy or breast-feeding but can also occur in other women.
Psychological factors causing early menstrual cycles are rare but can occur. Anxiety, daily stress and fatigue can affect the physical well-being of the body and change the balance of chemicals, including hormones. These factors can produce physical factors that can lead to early menstrual cycles. Experiencing early menstrual cycles can cause more emotional distress, which causes early menstrual cycles, ending in a continuous disruptive cycle. Women must pay attention to these signs and make an effort to change the stress factors in their lives.
Menstrual cycles are dependent on hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone. Both of these hormones regulate ovulation, which affects the length of the menstrual cycle. When these hormones become unbalanced, ovulation is disrupted and early menstrual cycles occur.
There are several treatment options available to help regulate and prevent early menstrual cycles. The best approach may be a combination of the following options: Lifestyle changes-–If a woman is experiencing early menstrual cycles due to psychological reasons such as stress and fatigue, then lifestyle changes are very important. Adding regular exercise as part of your routine can also help, especially stress-reducing exercises such as tai chi or yoga. Changes to diet can also help regulate hormones. Foods such as soy, apples, cherries, rice, wheat and yams all are known to promote estrogen production. Alternative medicines-–There are two types of herbal supplements that can help restore a balance of hormones. Phytoestrogenic herbs, such as black cohosh, contain plant-derived estrogenic compounds. Although these herbs can initially help to balance hormones, be cautious because using these for too long can cause the body to stop producing estrogen, therefore causing long-term problems. Non-estrogenic herbs do not contain any estrogen compounds, but some like Macafem can nourish the pituitary and endocrine glands, stimulating them to naturally produce hormones. Prescription drugs-–In extreme cases, hormone replacement therapy may be necessary to balance hormone levels. The downfall of this course of action is that there are many side effects that can be more troublesome than the early menstrual cycles.