My Period Date Keeps Changing, What Does It Mean?
Updated: May 15
Have you ever noticed how your cycle changes dates every month? Say you are expecting your period on the 23rd which is the usual date but this month it’s the 22nd the next one it’s 25th then it’s the 23rd again. You must be wondering, Is it normal or is something wrong? Menstrual cycles are dynamic. They can vary for many reasons and in many ways. The length of your cycle, the heaviness of your period, and the symptoms you experience can all fluctuate. We refer to cycle lengths as either regular or irregular.
Let’s find out if your varying cycle date means you have an irregular or regular cycle
What changing period dates could mean:
There’s no perfectly 'regular' cycle
It’s normal for your cycle to be irregular at different stages of your life and because of different circumstances (which we will get into shortly) but aside from these, slight variations in timing and symptoms are common. For example, if you are stressed out during the first half of your cycle your ovulation may happen a couple of days later than usual. This would cause you to experience certain premenstrual symptoms (PMS) later and ultimately your period will also be late.
Why does the cycle length vary?
While there could be various reasons for cycle variations if you were thinking about hormones as the main reason, you are mostly right. During your menstrual cycle, one hormone often triggers the next. Remember the different phases of the menstrual cycle and how the start of another is always because of an increase or decrease of a certain hormone. Having more or less of certain hormones will create changes in the pace and timing of the cycle. If one hormone is late to perform its function it affects the rest.
What are the main reasons why a ‘regular cycle’ varies?
The reasons can be divided into a couple of categories namely:
Pregnancy and life stages
After menarche (the years after menstruation begins)
Perimenopause (as cycles come to an end)
The postpartum period (after a pregnancy)
Miscarriage (known or unknown)
Emotional or physical changes
Big emotional changes, such as grief
Not getting enough calories
Quick changes in weight
Working night shifts
long-distance travel/Jet lag
What’s a regular menstrual variation?
Your cycle is considered regular if it falls under these variations
Adolescents: Cycles within the range of 21–45 days
Adults: Cycles within the range of 21-35 days
Adults: Cycles that vary in length by up to 7–9 days (for example, a cycle that is 27 days long, 29 the next)
Periods that last 8 days or fewer
If the majority of your cycles fall outside these ranges then you could have an irregular cycle length.
How can I regulate an irregular cycle length?
Exercise regularly and maintain healthy body weight - Take up a moderate exercise routine and eat a balanced diet, consisting of nutritious food. If you need to lose weight, you must do it gradually and not over-exercise.
Manage your stress - Practice meditation or yoga. Make sure you get proper sleep.
Consult a doctor - Someone qualified may be able to prescribe certain medications if needed.
There is no need to worry if you have slight variations. However, learning what your average cycle is, is important. If you notice your cycle repeatedly getting irregular, this could be an indication of underlying abnormalities or conditions like PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, thyroid conditions, etc. Consult your doctor to get a medical opinion to detect or rule out any serious health condition.
Stay informed, stay in control. Did you learn something?