Changes in Menstrual Periods

Updated April 17, 2017

Although the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, no woman has the same period. A change in the menstrual period can have numerous causes, some of which are normal. Other changes may signify a problem that should be medically treated.

Absent Periods

Pregnancy is the most common cause of periods stopping in a sexually active woman of childbearing age. However, a skipped period can also be due to stress, illness, over-exercising and excessive weight loss.

Cessation of Periods

When a woman goes through menopause, she will no longer have periods. Her body stops producing reproductive hormones, and she can no longer become pregnant.

Changes in Bleeding

Women can have abnormal bleeding for a variety of reasons. Hormonal changes in the body, such as menopause, can cause heavy bleeding at irregular intervals.

Changes in Pain

Dsymenorrhea refers to extremely painful periods. In younger women, an excess in prostaglandin is usually the culprit. Older women who suddenly start having painful periods should check for endometriosis or uterine fibroids. A woman who starts having painful periods when she never has before should be evaluated.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

A change in menstrual periods is a symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious sexually transmitted disease where there is an infection in a woman's reproductive organs. Untreated pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to chronic pain and infertility.

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About the Author

Janey Lewis is a seasoned writer and public relations expert with more than 20 years of writing and PR experience. A graduate of Auburn University with a degree in journalism, she has been a newspaper reporter, project manager for a PR firm and press secretary to a U.S. Congressman on Capitol Hill.