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Menstruation and Menstrual Problems: Other FAQs

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Basic information for topics, such as “What are menstrual irregularities?” and “How many women are affected?” is available in the Condition Information section. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that are specific to a certain topic are answered in this section.

How can I keep track of my menstrual cycle?

Use a calendar to keep track of your menstrual cycle.1 You can print out a calendar from www.girlshealth.gov and mark each day of your period with an X. Calculate the length of your cycle by counting the days from the first day of bleeding in one period to the first day of bleeding in the next period. In addition to noting the days of your period, it is helpful to make notes about the flow, any pain that is felt, and changes in mood or behavior.

Can menstrual irregularities make it harder to get pregnant?

Menstrual irregularities can be caused by many different underlying causes.2,3 Some of these causes can make it harder to get pregnant, including:

Can menstrual irregularities lead to other health problems?

The presence of menstrual irregularities can be a sign of other health problems such as POIendometriosisPCOS, polyps, and uterine fibroids4 If left untreated, menstrual irregularities can lead to other conditions. These possible conditions vary depending on the type of menstrual irregularity and include endometrial hyperplasia (thickening of the endometrium), low bone density, and iron-deficient anemia. It is important for a woman with a menstrual irregularity to speak to a health care provider to determine the cause of the irregularity and to receive appropriate treatment as necessary.

When should I see my health care provider about menstrual irregularities?

It is important to contact your health care provider promptly about any significant changes in your menstrual cycle.1,3 The presence of menstrual irregularities can be indicative of other health problems, such as POIendometriosisPCOS, polyps, or uterine fibroids. Your health care provider can order the appropriate tests to diagnose the cause of the menstrual irregularity and provide appropriate treatment.

Can menstrual irregularities lead to cancer?

Menstrual irregularities that are anovulatory (absent, infrequent periods, and irregular periods associated with estrogen production but no progesterone production) can lead to cancer in about 14% of women if the problem is recurrent.3 Menstrual irregularities that are ovulatory (heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding) rarely lead to cancer.3


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Adolescent Health Care. (2006). ACOG Committee Opinion No. 349. Menstruation in girls and adolescents: Using the menstrual cycle as a vital sign. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 108, 1323-1328. [top]
  2. Master-Hunter, T., & Heiman, D. L. (2006). Amenorrhea: Evaluation and treatment. American Family Physician, 73, 1374-1382. [top]
  3. Sweet, M. G., Schmidt-Dalton, T. A., Weiss, P. M., & Madsen, K. P. (2012). Evaluation and management of abnormal uterine bleeding in premenopausal women. American Family Physician, 85, 35-43. [top]
  4. Sweet, M. G., Schmidt-Dalton, T. A., Weiss, P. M., & Madsen, K. P. (2012). Evaluation and management of abnormal uterine bleeding in premenopausal women. American Family Physician, 85, 35-43. [top]

Last Updated Date: 06/27/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 04/16/2013
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