A woman’s body undergoes a series of changes every month in preparation for a potential pregnancy. These events include the release of an egg for fertilization, preparation of the womb for implantation and shedding of the womb lining if the egg fails to fertilize with a sperm. This series of events forms the menstrual cycle. Normal menstruation is a 28-day cycle, but can range from 21 to 35 days. Within this cycle, period or menstrual bleeding occurs for four to seven days. Oligomenorrhoea or irregular menstruation is characterized by the absence or irregular periods. This may be caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (multiple cysts in the ovaries), diabetes, thyroid problems, birth control pills and certain medication.
You are advised to maintain a record of your menstrual cycle every month, which will help your doctor diagnose irregular menstruation. Your doctor will review your medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. Blood tests may be ordered to rule out pregnancy, and ultrasound scan may be recommended to determine abnormalities in the uterus, cervix, ovaries or vagina. Treatment options may involve changes in your lifestyle (such as diet and exercise), hormonal medications such as oestrogen replacement therapy or oral contraceptive pills.