A menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of a period to the first day of the next. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, but this can vary from woman to woman, and month to month (1).
Your periods are still considered regular if they come every 24 to 38 days (2). Your periods are considered irregular if the time between periods keeps changing and your periods come earlier or later.
Treatment depends on finding out what’s causing your irregular periods, but there are remedies you can try at home to get your cycle back on track. Read on to discover 8 science-backed home remedies for irregular periods.
1. Practice yoga
Yoga has been shown to be an effective treatment for different menstrual issues. A 2013 study with 126 participants found that 35 to 40 minutes of yoga, 5 days a week for 6 months lowered hormone levels related to irregular menstruation (3).
Yoga has also been shown to reduce menstrual pain and emotional symptoms associated with menstruation, such as depression and anxiety, and improve quality of life in women with primary dysmenorrhea. Women with primary dysmenorrhea experience extreme pain before and during their menstrual periods (4, 5).
If you’re new to yoga, look for a studio that offers beginner or level 1 yoga. Once you’ve learned how to properly do several moves, you can continue going to classes, or you can practice yoga from home using videos or routines you find online.
SUMMARYPracticing yoga 35 to 40 minutes a day, 5 times a week, may help regulate hormones and menstruation cycles. Yoga may also help reduce premenstrual symptoms.
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Changes in your weight can affect your periods. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight could help regulate your periods (6).
Alternatively, extreme weight loss or being underweight can cause irregular menstruation. That’s why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight.
Women who are overweight are also more likely to have irregular periods, and experience heavier bleeding and pain than women who are at a healthy weight. This is due to the impact that fat cells have on hormones and insulin (7, 8).
If you suspect your weight may be affecting your menstrual periods, talk to your doctor. They can help you identify a healthy target weight, and come up with a weight loss or gain strategy.
SUMMARYBeing underweight or overweight can cause irregular periods. Work with your doctor to maintain a healthy weight.
3. Exercise regularly
Exercise has many health benefits that can help your periods. It can help you reach or maintain a healthy weight and is commonly recommended as part of a treatment plan for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS can cause menstrual irregularity.
Results from a recent clinical trial showed that exercise can effectively treat primary dysmenorrhea. Seventy college students with primary dysmenorrhea participated in the trial. The intervention group performed 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 3 times a week, for 8 weeks. At the end of the trial, the women who performed the exercises reported less pain associated with their menstrual periods (9).
More research is needed to understand how exercise affects menstruation, and what direct effects, if any, it can have on regulating your period.
SUMMARYExercise can help control weight, which may, in turn, help to regulate your menstrual periods. It may also reduce pain before and during your period.
4. Spice things up with ginger
Ginger is used as a home remedy for treating irregular periods, but there isn’t any scientific evidence to show that it works. Ginger does seem to have other benefits related to menstruation.
Results from one study of 92 women with heavy menstrual bleeding showed that daily ginger supplements may help reduce the amount of blood lost during menstruation. This was a small study that only looked at high-school-aged girls, so more research is needed (10).
Taking 750 to 2,000 mg of ginger powder during the first 3 or 4 days of your period has been shown to be an effective treatment for painful periods (11).
Another study found taking ginger for seven days before a period relieved mood, physical, and behavioral symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (12).
SUMMARYAlthough it’s often used as a home remedy for irregular periods, there’s no scientific evidence to support claims that ginger can treat irregular periods. However, it has been found to help relieve PMS symptoms.
5. Add some cinnamon
Cinnamon appears to be beneficial for a variety of menstrual issues.
A 2014 study found it helped regulate menstrual cycles and was an effective treatment option for women with PCOS, though the study was limited by a small number of participants (13).
It has also been shown to significantly reduce menstrual pain and bleeding, and relieve nausea and vomiting associated with primary dysmenorrhea (14).
SUMMARYCinnamon may help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce menstrual bleeding and pain. It may also help treat PCOS.
6. Get your daily dose of vitamins
A study published in 2015 linked low levels of vitamin D to irregular periods and suggested that taking vitamin D may help regulate menstruation (15).
Another study also found it effective in treating menstrual irregularity in women with PCOS (16).
Vitamin D is often added to some foods, including milk and other dairy products, and cereal. You can also get vitamin D from sun exposure or through supplementation.
Another study from 2016 shows that women who took 40 mg of vitamin B-6 and 500 mg of calcium daily experienced a reduction in PMS symptoms (27).
When using a supplement, follow the instructions on the packaging, and only buy supplements from reputable sources.
SUMMARYLow levels of vitamin D may increase your risk for period irregularity. Taking a daily vitamin D supplement may help regulate your menstrual cycle. B vitamins may also help reduce PMS and regulate menstrual cycles.
7. Drink apple cider vinegar daily
The results of a study published in 2013 showed that drinking 0.53 oz (15 ml) of apple cider vinegar daily may restore ovulatory menstruation in women with PCOS. More research is needed to validate these results, as this particular study involved only seven participants (28).
Apple cider has a bitter taste, which may be difficult for some people to consume. If you want to try taking it but have a hard time with the flavor, you can try diluting it with water and adding a tablespoon of honey.
SUMMARYDrinking 1/8 cup (15 grams) of apple cider vinegar a day may help regulate menstruation in women with PCOS.
8. Eat pineapple
Pineapple is a popular home remedy for menstrual issues. It contains bromelain, an enzyme that is claimed to soften the lining of the uterus and regulate your periods, though this hasn’t been proven.
Eating pineapple can help you to get your recommended daily servings of fruit. One cup (80 grams) of pineapple may be counted as one serving of fruit. The general recommendation is to eat a minimum of 5, 1-cup (80-gram) servings of fruit a day (33).
SUMMARYPineapple is believed to help regulate periods, though there’s little scientific evidence to support this claim. An enzyme in pineapple may help relieve some premenstrual symptoms, such as cramps and headaches.
When to seek help
You’ll likely experience some irregularity in your periods at some point in your life. You won’t always need to see a doctor for this symptom.
You should see your doctor if:
- your period suddenly becomes irregular
- you haven’t had a period for three months
- you have a period more than once every 21 days
- you have a period less than once every 35 days
- your periods are unusually heavy or painful
- your periods last longer than a week
Your doctor may recommend medication or some other type of treatment depending on the cause of your irregular periods. Some possible causes include:
SUMMARYTalk to a doctor if you suddenly experience menstrual irregularity, or regularly have short or long cycles. You should also see your doctor if your period is heavy and painful, or lasts longer than a week.
The bottom line
You may be able to get your menstrual cycle back on track with some lifestyle changes and home remedies. Scientific evidence is limited, however, and only a few natural remedies have been scientifically proven to regulate your menstrual period.
If you’re concerned about your irregular periods, speak to your doctor.