An irregular period is when the menstrual cycle span suddenly falls outside the regular range (25-35 days). It is important that women should be informed that there is a large degree of variability in cycle length and cycle length changes with age. The classical 28 day cycle is the most common cycle length recorded but variability in this cycle length can still be compatible with ovulation and good health. There are also wide variations in the duration of menstruation.
• Irregular periods are characterized by a disturbed menstrual cycle (either missed, delayed, or intermittent).
• Amenorrhea is the absence of menstruation either temporary or permanent. It may be regarded as normal if prior to puberty, during pregnancy , when breastfeeding and when menopausal.
• Primary amenorrhoea is the failure to menstruate by the age of 16 in the presence of normal secondary sexual characteristics .
• Secondary amenorrhoea is the cessation of menstruation for six consecutive months in a woman who has previously had regular periods . This merits investigation.
• Oligomenorrhoea is the medical term to describe infrequent menstrual periods; less than 6-8 periods per year. The causes , evaluation and treatment of amenorrhoea and oligoamenorrhoea are similar .
• Dysmenorrhoea is the medical term used to describe painful periods.
The following are examples for further menstrual disorders:
• Menorrhagia : Heavier menstrual flow
• Intermenstrual bleeding: Irregular bleeding between menses (periods)