So, you picked a date, said I do, and you’re ready to live happily ever after. But now your trusty menstrual flow is acting up. Um, what in the world of holy matrimony is happening?
There’s nothing about a wedding ring that interferes with your cycle, but the stress and change in routine of marital life could play a role in messing with your flow. Here’s the DL on irregular periods after marriage.
Do you have irregular periods?
Your period is considered irregular if your cycle is less than 24 days or more than 38 days, or if it varies from month-to-month by more than 20 days.
A period tracker app can help you understand your flow.
If your bleeding’s a little hit-or-miss after getting hitched, there could be a few factors throwing it off.
1. You’re stressed out
Everyone knows that marriage isn’t all roses and breakfast in bed. It’s normal to feel a little stressed after you tie the knot. And according to John Hopkins Medicine, the effects of emotional and relationship stress tend to be more noticeable in women than men.
It turns out, stress can mess with your flow. In a 2015 study of 100 women, scientists found an association between high stress levels and irregular menstrual cycles.
2. You’re sleepy AF
If you’re newly partnered up in the sack, your sleep schedule might be a little off temporarily. According to a 2016 review, more women than men reported nighttime disturbances from their partners, like tossing and turning, heavy breathing or snoring.
If your sleep’s suffering because you’re bedding your boo, it could upset your circadian rhythm. And according to a 2016 study, a disrupted circadian rhythm can cause higher stress and irregular periods.
But before you sleep on the couch, you should know that a 2020 study actually found an association between bed-sharers and better REM sleep. So, it may just take some time — or some snoring remedies — before you get your snoozing in sync.
3. Your weight’s going up or down
Maybe ever since you got hitched you’ve been cooking big, hearty meals and decadent desserts to enjoy together. Or maybe you’ve been too busy with the DIY home renos to grab a regular bite to eat.
Whatever the cause, it’s not unusual to gain or lose weight after you tie the knot. And that weight fluctuation may mess with your cycle.
According to a 2017 review of menstruating women, being underweight or overweight can contribute to irregular cycles. A 2018 review of premenopausal women also named obesity as one of the main contributing factors to irregular periods.
4. You’re on (or off of) birth control
Maybe you decided to go on the pill or get a patch or IUD after you walked the aisle. If that’s the case, your irregular periods might be result of your bod adjusting to your birth control.
Most BC pills and patches stop pregnancy by preventing ovulation, which might make your periods lighter or even disappear altogether. Even though progestin-containing IUDs don’t halt ovulation entirely in the first year, most people who get them experience lighter periods.
This can also go the other way. Birth control pills are often prescribed in order to manage irregular periods. If you’ve recently stopped birth control, your cycle could be returning to its less predictable self.
5. You’ve upped your tobacco habit
According to a 2018 study, smoking is a key risk factor for menstrual irregularity. That means if you’ve been lighting up more than usual since you got hitched, the cigs may be screwing with your cycle.
6. Your body’s changing
Depending on your age, it’s possible that perimenopause is to blame. Most women enter perimenopause (aka the phase before menopause) in their late 40s or early 50s. During this time, women often experience hormone fluctuations and shorter, lighter periods.
7. You’re pregnant
Sometimes going a long time without bleeding means your period is irregular. But sometimes it means there isn’t another period coming for 9 months. If you’ve missed a period since you’ve become a newlywed, you could be pregnant.
You can watch for telltale early signs like sore boobs and nausea, but taking a pregnancy test is the most reliable method. Try to take the test about 1 week after your missed period or head to a trusted OB-GYN to be sure.
8. You’re dealing with a health prob
Irregular periods also might be painful due to a condition like endometriosis, cysts, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
If you’re experiencing major cramps on top of irregular periods, talk with your doc about getting a diagnosis and treatment. (And even without cramps, you should let your doc know if you’re having irregular periods.)
Building a healthy marriage might take some blood, sweat, and tears — but what if the blood part is a little, erm, inconsistent?
We gotchu. Here are some DIY and doctor-approved methods for getting your flow back.
Your doc may order lab work or imaging depending on the possible cause, before recommending a treatment plan for your irregular periods. Some of the most common treatments include:
- oral contraceptives
- medications (like tranexamic acid to treat extra heavy flows)
- an IUD
- counseling or nutritional therapy
In rare cases, more serious interventions might be considered, like:
- removing uterine fibroids or polyps
- uterine artery embolization (which blocks blood flow to the uterus)
- hysterectomy (removing the uterus)
- endometrial ablation (clearing the uterine lining)
Outside of the doctor’s office, there are also things you can do at home that may help your period get back on track, including:
- getting into a regular routine
- eating a healthy diet
- exercising on the reg
- taking birth control as prescribed
- quitting smoking
- managing stress
If you’re looking to get pregnant after getting married, irregular periods could make it a little trickier. Tracking your cycle can help you understand the best time to try to conceive, but an inconsistent flow can turn it into more of a guessing game.
In some cases, irregular or skipped periods could signal that you’re not ovulating (aka your body might not be releasing an egg each month).
But, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get pregnant. All it takes is one spontaneous ovulation, so, if you don’t want to get pregnant, you should still use a form of birth control if sexually active.
Your doctor can help you figure out exactly what’s going on. They can also offer guidance on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant, if that’s what you wish.
Potential treatments might include:
- lifestyle changes (i.e. reducing stress, attaining a healthy weight, or eating a more nutrient-rich diet)
- medication to boost ovulation, such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid), human menopausal gonadotropin (Pergonal, Repronex), or follicle-stimulating hormone (Gonal-F, Follistim)
- bromocriptine (Parlodel) to treat high prolactin levels (a hormone which can stop ovulation)
Tips for getting pregnant with irregular periods
If your flow’s being flaky, try these tips for increasing your fertility odds:
- Keep tabs on your cycle. Tracking your ovulation on an app or calendar can help you figure out the time of month that you’re most fertile.
- Get healthy. Eating a nutrient-rich diet and maintaining a healthy weight can boost your fertility. And while the jury’s still out on whether certain foods can really boost your odds of a baby, you could try adding a little pomegranate juice or pineapple to your day just in case.
- Slash stress. When you’re stressed AF, your bod produces extra cortisol, a hormone that play key roles in your menstrual cycle. To boost your fertility and overall health, consider trying relaxation techniques like meditation, breathing exercises, yoga or mindfulness.
Often, irregular periods just mean you need to reduce stress or live a little more healthfully. Other times, though, your flaky cycle could signal something more serious.
To play it safe, visit a doctor if:
- You miss more than 3 periods in a row and you’re not pregnant.
- Your periods suddenly become irregular and you’re under 45.
- Your period lasts longer than 7 days.
- There’s a major diff (we’re talking at least 20 days) between your shortest and longest cycle.
- You have irregular periods and you’re struggling to get pregnant.
Getting married might mess with your periods, but there’s no evidence that the marital bliss itself is to blame. There could be several reasons your cycle’s off track, including environmental and health factors.
If you’re experiencing irregular periods after marriage, try making healthy lifestyle changes like eating a well-rounded diet, reducing stress, and exercising regularly.
If you’re experiencing severe pain or struggling to get pregnant with an unpredictable menstrual flow, chat with your doctor.