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ImageHere's what you should know if you suffer from missed or irregular periods

Every woman has a cycle that is different from the rest. While some women may get their period 10 to 11 times a year, others could get it 13 times. And yet some may get more than these many times or even lesser.

The bottom line is that each woman is unique when it comes to her menstrual cycle. Many women also suffer from missed or irregular periods, which must not be taken lightly. The first few years are often irregular and in some women, it may take a couple of years for the hormones that control menstruation to reach a balance.

Similarly, in women reaching menopause, periods may again get irregular at the other end of menstrual years. One of the first indications of approaching menopause is irregular periods. Another common reason for missed periods would be pregnancy.

Common causes of missed or irregular periods

- Excessive weight gain or loss very fast can take a toll on your body. Both low body weight as well as obesity lead to menstrual problems.

- Certain eating disorders like Anorexia (starving oneself), Bulimia (rapid consumption of large amount of food in a short period of time followed by self induced vomiting) and Orthorexic Nervosa (obsessed with eating right and taking a healthy diet to extremes) can cause disturbances in your monthly cycle.

- Some women who undergo a strenuous and gruelling exercise regime also risk the chance of missed or irregular periods.

- Other factors include highly stressful lifestyles, illnesses, medication like birth control methods, hormone problems, which cause a change in the levels of the hormones that your body needs to support menstruation, drug use or even polycystic ovary syndrome.

- Breast-feeding is another common reason for missing periods. Women who continue breastfeeding for over a year after the birth of their baby may not get periods regularly. However, this doesn't mean you can't get pregnant again. Use a contraceptive to be on the safe side.

- Women who suffer from premature ovarian failure also stop menstruating before they turn 40. Some of the common reasons that cause this could be surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the abdomen or pelvis.

- Experts say that while this does not happen often, diseases like irritable bowel syndrome, tuberculosis, liver disease and diabetes can also cause missed or irregular periods in some cases.

- Sometimes there could be no specific reason you skip your period. Try and relax. Determine the cause if you can - do a pregnancy test or visit an expert. At times, hormonal imbalances can cause your cycle to get slightly erratic.

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