Irregular & heavy periods; causes & what to do

Author: Aditi Babarkar

“Research suggests that between 9 - 14% of women have irregular periods.”

What do we mean by irregular and heavy periods?

We are often led to believe that a regular period normally means you get your period 28 days and that it lasts about 2 to 7 days. But did you know that a period cycle between 21 to 35 days is considered healthy?

After puberty keeping a track of your period can give you a good idea of when you can expect to have your period, within a margin of a couple of days.

If your period comes much earlier or later than expected and without any regularity, and/or falls out of the 21-35 days you may be suffering from irregular periods.

You have irregular periods if the length of your menstrual cycle (the gap between your periods starting) keeps changing.

Confused about irregular periods?

Here’s what irregular periods can include:

  1. Bleeding or spotting between periods
  2. Bleeding during sexual intercourse 
  3. Menstrual bleeding lasting longer than your period
  4. Bleeding after menopause
  5. Heavy bleeding during period

Suffering from heavy bleeding during your period?

Heavy periods or long (longer than 7 days) periods can really impact your quality of life every single month. Not only that, but you may be suffering these heavy or long periods due to a few underlying health issues including thyroid under activity.

We bleed on average between 6-8 teaspoons of blood during our period. Heavy menstrual bleeding is defined as losing 80ml or more in each period or having periods that last longer than 7 days, or both.

The reality is it's not always easy to measure how much blood you are losing during a period. At Mondays we are big advocates of tracking and keeping notes on your period in a diary or on an app. This means you know what a regular period is for YOU and that you notice quickly if your period does change.

These are indications that your period is heavy if you:

  • are having to change your period products every hour or 2
  • are passing blood clots larger than 2.5cm (about the size of a large coin)
  • are bleeding through to your clothes or bedding
  • need to use 2 types of period product together (for example, tampons and pads)

What could be the cause for irregular or heavy periods?

There are many causes of irregular periods such as uncontrolled diabetes, stress, eating disorders and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Heavy periods in turn can also be caused by a range of conditions, including fibroids, endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, to mention just a few.

It's thyroid problems that can cause both irregular periods, as well as, heavy periods.

The Thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck near your Adam’s apple. Thyroid secrets hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triodothyronine (T3), required for the proper functioning of the body and periods.

Wondering if you have irregular or heavy periods due to thyroid problems?

Taking a note of your symptoms could be an effective way to find the underlying cause for your irregular period. Here are some symptoms for irregular periods due to thyroid problems: 

  1. Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  2. Excessive Tiredness
  3. High Heart Rate
  4. Hair Loss
  5. Anxiety
  6. Body Shakes
  7. Feeling too chilly or hot
  8. Trouble in sleeping
  9. Growth on neck
  10. Lack of concentration
  11. Hormone deficiency problems such as Iodine

Heavy periods can be caused, amongst other things, by an underactive thyroid gland known as Hypothyroidism – where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. The symptoms include

  1. Excessive tiredness
  2. Weight gain
  3. Feelings of depression

Noticing changes in your physical and mental being could be relatively easy as compared to noticing hormone deficiency and fluctuations. A visit to your doctor or gynaecologist is recommended.

Organic Mondays also has a NATURAL solution that can help you if you are experiencing some of these symptoms!

Irregular / Heavy Periods and Iodine: Weird? Absolutely not!

Iodine deficiency causes low levels of T3 and T4 hormones, known as hypothyroidism, which leads to irregular and heavy periods.

Iodine can be found in common food such as seaweed, saltwater fish, seafood, dairy and bread. Considering these food items, you might think you have sufficient intake of Iodine, but is that the case?

“Research shows that 68% of women with low thyroid hormone levels experienced irregular menstrual cycles”

Shocking, right? So maybe consider taking iodine supplements along with the food you eat every day to improve your menstrual health.

On our journey through a great friend of Mondays, we met the wonderful company Doctor Seaweed (aka Dr Craig Rose PhD) and discovered that seaweed is a wonderful source of iodine.

Iodine, an essential mineral that the body needs to make thyroid hormones

If you feel confused and worried about your irregular and heavy periods don't hesitate to consult your doctor or gynaecologist. They can conduct a thyroid test to determine the level of your thyroid hormones and diagnose a thyroid disorder if any. Early intervention is important to treat serious thyroid problems since its complications include high cholesterol, heart disease, nerve damage, and more.

Fellow sustainable brands like Doctor Seaweed help you make healthier lifestyle choices. 

Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful Pure seaweed iodine supplements are extracted from iodine-rich seaweed to provide support for thyroid health, metabolism, energy levels and maintenance of skin.

Mondays strives to enable individuals to lead a healthier and sustainable lifestyle by making it easy and convenient to swap to plastic-free organic menstrual products. Our products are made with pesticide-free certified organic cotton, FSC cellulose and wrapped in compostable Mater-Bi® and paper enabling customers to enjoy healthier and sustainable period practices with the highest quality and reliable products.

Stepping towards healthier choices: a chance for you!

We partnered in the summer with Doctor Seaweed to promote healthy period practices by ensuring proper intake of essential minerals such as Iodine, Calcium and Potassium. Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful Pure Seaweed Capsule helps to regulate daily Iodine intake from natural sources such as seaweed.

If you want:

  1. To consume organic, vegan and natural products
  2. To strive to become sustainable
  3. To become a member to donate 1% for the planet
  4. To have glowing skin
  5. To have energy-yielding metabolism
  6. To have a functioning nervous system

....try combining Mondays with Doctor Seaweed Iodine Supplements or the like, what are you waiting for?!

And 'Always' 😉 remember:

“A healthy period, a healthier you!”

Contributing Changemaker Author: Aditi Babarkar, 2021