There’s nothing worse than getting your period when you least expect it but sadly it happens to all of us at some point or another in our lives. Although there are times when getting an early period isn’t the end of the world, it can be a sign that something more serious is going on and definitely shouldn’t be ignored.
If you’ve been having periods for six years or fewer…
It can take up to six years for your body to completely regulate its menstrual cycle so if you’re still quite young and you’ve only been having your period for a few years, it might still be settling down meaning an early period will be quite common.
During these early years, your hormones are still working themselves out and the influx of estrogen and progesterone will cause some havoc with your cycles.
If you’re over forty…
An early period when you’re in the later years of your life could be a sign that you are coming into the menopause. If you’re forty and over, early, late and even missing periods altogether are a good indication that you are hitting the menopause.
During this time of your life, your hormone levels change and this is what causes the irregular periods.
In fact, there are a few factors considered to be big ‘life changes’ which could have a direct effect on your menstrual cycle. The following could all cause an early period:
- Weight gain
- Weight loss
- Periods of strenuous or prolonged exercise
- Mental stress
If you’re pregnant…
You might not even know it yet but if you’re having what you think to be an ‘early period’, it could actually be something else… It could be what we commonly call ‘implantation bleeding’.
This light spotting occurs when the fertilized egg burrows its way into the uterine wall, getting ready to begin the nine-month journey ahead, and generally takes place mid-way through the cycle, around the time (or just after) you would normally ovulate. Normally very light spotting, pink and pale red in color, it is often missed despite being one of the most common signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
If you’re taking a new pill…
If you’ve recently started taking the pill or have changed your form of contraception, you may find that your periods go a little crazy at first as your body gets used to the new hormonal levels in your body. For some women it can take a little longer than others to get everything settled down.
Emergency contraception can also wreak havoc on your menstrual cycles, as can other medications such as antibiotics.
Serious causes of an early period
There are times when an early period could be a sign of a more serious underlying cause. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one example of this, a condition that sees the female body encouraged to produce more progesterone and estrogen. In turn, the body goes through a number of hormonal changes with extremes of hormonal balances. This can cause an early period, no period at all, spotting and bleeding in between periods and also after sex, pain, cramping, and more.
Ovarian cysts are another example of a more serious factor causing an early period and the symptoms can be similar in nature to polycystic ovarian syndrome. If you experience pain with your early period, or bleeding that is much heavier than you’re used to, you should definitely seek medical attention to ensure nothing serious is going on in the background.