Dr Garba Omale, a Gynaecologist with the Garki Hospital, Abuja, has said ill health, excessive weight and stress are the leading causes of menstrual irregularities.
Omale told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday. He said that menstrual period was usually supposed to last for five to seven days, but in some cases, women suffer menstrual irregularity when their flow deviates from normal.
"If a woman’s hormones are not balanced, then, there is problem with the hormones that control ovulation and menstruation which makes the period to be irregular.
"If a woman is less than 15 years of age, the first few cycles maybe irregular due to the levels of the hormones being low. So the menstruation can be irregular at the extremes of age.
"For women less than 50 years of age and those above 45, hormonal imbalances are common around that age. So it could lead to menstrual irregularity in such women,’’ the gynaecologist explained.
Omale said that menstrual irregularity could also be caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking, stress, or alcoholism.He said that common health conditions such as diabetes, chlamydia, and thyroid disease could also cause menstrual irregularity.
Omale noted, however, that there were other more sinister causes of hormonal imbalances, and urged women to be aware and watch out for them.
"Other causes include illness and certain drugs, specifically birth control pills which cause a woman’s period to fluctuate.If a woman is overweight, her hormones can be imbalanced. Any woman weighing more than a 100 kg has the potential of having abnormal menstruation.
"On the flipside, a woman weighing less than 45 kg, may not even menstruate or have very scanty menstrual bleeding. So if they are too lean or too fat, it is not good,’’ he said.
The medical practitioner said that excessive strenuous activity, particularly among athletes, might stop menstruation completely until the activity was stopped and body returned to normal.
According to him, a family history of inconsistent periods can be a source of irregularity in menstruation which can be transmitted to the offspring.
Omale said that irregular menstruation should not be ignored as it could be a sign of a more serious problem. In order to maintain a regular menstrual cycle, the gynaecologist advised Nigerian women to eat a healthy diet and to avoid laborious activities that could affect them mentally or physically.