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Irregular periods

Irregular bleeding includes:

A normal menstrual cycle may be bleeding for three to eight days, with bleeding happening every 25 to 35 days. Most of the blood loss occurs in the first three days.

It is normal to have irregular periods when you first start to get your periods and just before menopause.

Changes in cycle length are usually caused by a hormone imbalance. There are many causes of hormone imbalance but some of the common ones are changes in hormonal contraceptive, excessive exercise, low body weight, and PCOS.

What is abnormal bleeding?

Bleeding that occurs between periods, after sex, or after menopause can be abnormal. Often there may not be a cause for this bleeding, but sometimes it can be caused by infection, or very occasionally, cancer. If you have this type of bleeding, it's important that you see your GP straight away, rather than waiting to see if the bleeding happens again.

It's important to see your GP more quickly, if you have bleeding that has occurred after menopause, bleeding that occurs after sex, or bleeding that occurs between your periods.

Read more about the different types of period problems.

Should I be concerned about irregular periods?

If you are worried about irregular periods, you should make an appointment with your GP. It can be helpful to complete a menstrual diary. Bring it along to your appointment to discuss with your doctor. You may also want to read more about irregular periods or about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

It's important to see your GP more quickly, if you have bleeding that has occurred after the menopause, bleeding that occurs after sex, or bleeding that occurs between your period.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2016.

In this section

Tests & diagnosis for irregular periods

Managing irregular periods

More information about irregular periods

Page reference: 47309

Review key: HIIPE-47309