While the average menstrual cycle is 28 days, many women have cycles that are several days shorter, or indeed a week longer. The length of a period varies from woman to woman, too: some bleed for seven days, some just for two. However, after puberty, most women will have settled into a cycle and are able to estimate the date and length of their next period. For other women, however, menstruation is an unpredictable affair.

When should I seek medical advice for irregular bleeding?

As a general guide, visit your GP if: your periods last longer than seven days or are more frequent than once a month; you have very heavy periods and need to change tampons/pads every hour or two; heavy bleeding that flows into your bed or through your clothes; you experience bleeding between periods or after sexual intercourse. It is not uncommon for a change in contraception to disrupt your menstrual cycle and your GP should talk you through the side effects beforehand. If your irregular periods are not explained by contraception changes, your GP may refer you to a specialist such as London female gynaecologist Amanda Tozer for further investigation.

What is causing my irregular periods?

Heavy, prolonged and irregular periods are in most cases secondary to either a pelvic condition such as fibroids or a hormonal problem. During a consultation at Miss Amanda Tozer’s London clinic, you will undergo diagnostic tests including a physical examination, hormone levels and a pelvic ultrasound. It may be necessary to perform a saline sonography to evaluate the uterine cavity for endometrial polyps or fibroids. If you are over 40, Miss Tozer will recommend a hysteroscopy to ensure nothing is missed in the uterus. Once the cause of your irregular bleeding is diagnosed, your treatment options can be discussed. Many women have benefited from some very simple treatment.