770.720.7733
VOTED Best OB/GYN * Best Surgeons * Top Docs * Mom-Approved OBs and Certified Nurse Midwives in Atlanta

Irregular Periods for Teens

young woman cramps

Irregular periods can be part of the normal changes that can happen as a teen, but what’s considered normal and what’s not normal?

A normal menstrual cycle typically occurs about every 25-31 days and lasts about 4-7 days. An irregular cycle can be described as one that occurs outside of this time frame, changes month to month, is much lighter or heavier than normal, or one that skips a few months.  However, a young girl’s body may not follow an exact schedule.

READ TEEN GYN ARTICLES

The average age a girl begins her period is 12 years and 9 months, though some may start as young as 10 or as late as 16. In the first 2 years after a girl starts getting her period, it’s very common to skip periods or to have irregular periods. As a young woman ages though, her cycle will probably settle into a more recognizable pattern.

What Causes Irregular Periods?

However, there are some conditions they can attribute to an irregular cycle. A few common causes are:

  • Hormone imbalance
  • Illness
  • Stress
  • Having a very low or very high body weight
  • Eating disorders
  • Medicines
  • Exercising too much

How to Know When Your Period is Coming

For someone who has an irregular cycle, relying on the calendar is not very helpful. There are often signs your body may give you that your period is coming soon. These may include:

  • Headaches
  • Sore breasts
  • Back stiffness
  • Bloating
  • Acne breakouts
  • Mood swings
  • Disturbed sleep patterns

How to Prepare for Your Period

To alleviate the stress of never really knowing when you can expect your period to start, it’s best to always be prepared. You can do this by making sure you always have pads or tampons available. There is even period underwear available.These garments can be helpful for girls who aren’t sure when their period will start.

When to See a Gynecologist

There are times when irregular periods can indicate a medical problem. It’s important to see a gynecologist if you experience such symptoms as:

  • Missed periods when you have been sexually active- this could indicate pregnancy.
  • Missed periods, even if you have not been sexually active.
  • Spotting between periods
  • Very heavy periods
  • Periods that were regular but now have changed
  • Periods with severe abdominal pain or cramping
  • Periods that last more than a week
  • Periods that occur more than every 21 days
  • Periods that occur less than every 45 days
  • Severe cramping or abdominal pain

The physician may run blood tests to check hormone levels and may also do a pelvic ultrasound to look for any physical problems. There may be other health problems or medicines that can be contributing to the irregular cycles as well. If a condition is discovered the gynecologist will then discuss any necessary action which could include hormone treatment, other medicine or lifestyle changes, among other things.

As a young teen or preteen, irregular periods are normal. If a girl is otherwise free of health problems, there’s no cause for concern. Learning to pay attention to your body can help determine if your cycles are normal and when or if medical intervention is needed.

Our GYNs are Here For You

If you (or your daughter) have any questions or concerns about what’s normal and what’s not, don’t hesitate to see your GYN. Call us today at 770.720.7733 or request an appointment online.

Teen GYN Articles

teen-with-endometriosis_215073196

Endometriosis in Teen Girls

Endometriosis in teen girls can result in painful symptoms, and even infertility. Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition that affects ...
teen at gyn appointment

7 Compelling Reasons to Take Your Teen Daughter to an OB/GYN

Taking your daughter to a teen GYN at an early age is one of the best ways to care for ...
young female teen

Conquering Fear: 17-Year-Old Anna’s First GYN Visit

Anna's first GYN visit was scary. As she knows all too well, visiting a gynecologist for the first time can ...
young woman cramps

Irregular Periods for Teens

Irregular periods can be part of the normal changes that can happen as a teen, but what's considered normal and ...
teen-with-endometriosis_215073196

Endometriosis in Teen Girls

Endometriosis in teen girls can result in painful symptoms, and even infertility. Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition that affects ...
teen-with-ovarian-cyst_504262275

Ovarian Cysts in Teens

Functional ovarian cysts are quite normal and are expected each month in adolescent girls and young women. However, non-functional cysts ...
pcos-and-infertility_422425229

PCOS After Puberty Can Cause Infertility

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common causes of infertility in women and can happen at any ...
Teen at First GYN Appt_84464424

Why Girls as Young as 13 Should Start Seeing a Gynecologist

Several physical and emotional changes happen to a girl during her during her teen years. Not only is her body ...
eating-disorder-photo_136856826

The Link Between Eating Disorders and Infertility

Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can result in several health issues, including the inability to get pregnant. This ...
sexual health photo_114526823

The Different Types of STDs

It is foolish to think that STDs are not harmful. All sexually transmitted diseases come with a certain amount of ...
STI Test Photo_176739488

What is the Difference Between an STI and an STD?

STIs and STDs are often used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. It's important to understand the difference ...
Young-Woman-STD-Testing-square_484010440

Should I Get Tested for STIs?

Yes! Many STIs don't cause any symptoms, so the only way to know for sure if you have an STI ...
STD test_103144889

The Silent Symptoms of STIs and their Unknown Risks

STIs are on the rise among young women so it's important to make appointments for annual screenings if you are ...
first-gyn-appt-photo_222222234

My First GYN Appointment on My Own

It’s time to go to your first GYN appointment alone and you probably have a million questions, such as: What ...