What lifestyles can cause abnormal menstruation?

July 1, 2019 | Yesmom

Yes Mom

What lifestyles can cause abnormal menstruation?

Erratic vaginal bleeding is a concern shared by most women at some point in their lives. However, what is vital is a systematic assessment that takes into account the woman’s own perception of “abnormal menstruation”. What may appear to be abnormal to some may on the contrary not be completely aberrant from a physiologic or developmental perspective. Nevertheless, any kind of bleeding outside of women’s “normal” menses must be assessed thoroughly to determine the cause and taken seriously. 

Multiple psychosocial and biological variables influence your menstrual cycles and reproductive functions. 


Dr. Chanwalee Srisukho, a professional obstetrician, explained to YesMom how stress can affect your menstruation. If you are under constant mental strain, overthinking or being unduly stressful, hypothalamus function will be directly interrupted. The hypothalamus may ultimately fail to produce the hormones that stimulate the pituitary gland, preventing it from producing hormones for the ovaries. The uterus wall will have a dearth of hormone supply consequently, resulting in abnormal, irregular or immensely delayed vaginal bleeding. 

Intense workout sessions

While working out regularly has myriads of added advantages, if you are following a strict workout regime it may be a menacing source of concern when it comes to your period. It is highly likely that your body will interpret the rigorous exercising as the cause of body stress. Your otherwise well balanced hormone functions will be disrupted. For some, the body may become gauntly as a result of exercising continuously. It will retrieve excessive body fat. Low body fat levels may delay or prevent ovulation from occuring altogether. 

Improper food habits

Nutritional intake is regulated by a complex mechanism which involves neurological, physiological, psychological and humoral components. But the fact remains that consuming food devoid of antioxidants or probiotics and with a heavier content of allergen can disturb the functions of the adrenal gland and thyroid gland. It is essential to stay away from excessively sugary food items, high trans fat meals and other additives as they can have a negative impact on the thyroid gland causing cortisol hormone and fatigue. The functions commonly attributed to sexual organs may also be disrupted. 

Excessive alcohol consumption

Menstrual cycle characteristics like cycle variability or length, bleeding duration etc may be influenced by a number of endogenous and exogenous factors including anthropometric and behavioral factors that may exercise adverse effects on metabolism or hormonal levels. Intake of alcohol is a possible causal factor of abnormal menstruation especially since it is widespread in many countries. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the US National Institutes of Health, consuming excessive alcohol will increase your estrogen and testosterone, which will in turn disrupt the ovulation stimulation hormones.

Unhealthy working habits and regimes

In the 119,000 surveyed women, the research revealed that the women who continually slosh through shifts will be at a risk of having menstrual problems 33% higher than those who have imbibed ethical and healthy working habits. They may also experience an abnormal duration of flow where the cycle may be longer than 40 days or shorter than 21 days. 


Clinical and epidemiologic studies indicate that smokers may more frequently suffer from long, heavy menstrual cycles than non smokers. Cigarette smoke contains known reproductive toxicants that affect hormone activity. It has been associated with adverse reproductive consequences in women such as sub-fecundity, younger age at menopause, infertility and menstrual disorders. 

Medicinal reasons

Taking birth control pills may have adverse effects on your menstruation cycle. Antidepressants and other medicines for mental illnesses may result in shorter, longer or irregular cycle than usual. 

Prof. Dr. Manee Rattanachalyanot, the doctor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology of Siriraj Hospital, explains that abnormal menstruation is a health issue usually found in adolescents who just had menarche and in the women with menopause. The former results from immature hormonal control systems, nothing fatal. For the latter however, it is advisable to see a doctor. 

Women complaining about debilitating periods might often be faced with responses saturated with moral judgements. You however cannot dismiss pain and discomfort as a consequence of poor diet, stress, exercise or a psychological phenomenon purely. No healthcare system can stigmatize women’s pain.