Many people are familiar with concerns related to missed periods (pregnancy, for example). But menstruation that happens more frequently than usual can indicate health issues as well. Consulting with your doctor is always an important step. In the meantime, you can do some things yourself to address the situation.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Basal body thermometer
- Paper (graph paper or plain paper)
- Pen or pencil
Sometimes spotting midcycle happens during ovulation. Before you can be sure you are experiencing more frequent periods, you need to determine whether you are ovulating. Knowing when you ovulate will help you determine the length of your luteal phase, which will be useful information for your physician. This begins by taking your temperature using a basal body thermometer immediately upon waking in the morning and before getting out of bed. Start taking your temperature the first day of your period.
After taking your temperature with the basal body thermometer in the morning, record the temperature for the day. Note the time and always try to take your temperature within 30 minutes of that same time. This is called charting your temperature. Record only one temperature each day.
After recording several days of temperatures, you may begin to see a pattern. When your temperature seems to spike, or you have a higher than usual temperature in the morning, you have probably ovulated. Continue taking your temperature every morning.
At the first sign of spotting, continue taking your temperature every morning and recording the temperature on your chart.
When menstruation seems to have started examine your chart for the telltale spike and dip of ovulation. If you do not see such a spike, continue taking your temperature for another complete cycle.
After another complete cycle of daily temperatures you should see the spike and dip showing ovulation has occurred. If you do not see the spike and dip, share this important information with your health care provider. Not ovulating has many causes, many of which are related to the same possible causes of too frequent menstruation.
If you do see the characteristic spike then dip indicating ovulation occurred, count the days from the dipped temperature until bleeding started. This is your luteal phase. If your luteal phase is 10 or fewer days long, it is likely there are issues with your hormonal system. See your doctor to determine what your hormone levels are.
If you are more than 40 years old, you may be experiencing very early signs of menopause, known as perimenopause. Hormonal fluctuations at this stage can cause more menstruation, skipped periods or spotting during regular length cycles.
Low body weight can influence hormone levels. Although low weight more commonly leads to infrequent periods, it can lead to periods coming more frequently.
Polyps, cysts, or other physical growths or abnormalities may be involved in causing more frequent periods.
Drug or alcohol abuse, or emotional stressors can also lead to hormone changes that can impact the frequency of your periods.
When normal patterns change dramatically or substantially, consult your physician with this important information.
Tips and warnings
- When taking your first morning temperature with the basal body thermometer try to hardly move at all. Even the slightest physical motion can increase your temperature.
- Using a computer program or web-based system like Fertility Friend can make charting a lot easier.
- Changes in menstruation can happen for many reasons. Check with your doctor rather than depending on friends or the Internet for a diagnosis, as this can cause unnecessary concern and/or inadequate treatments.
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