Menstrual Cycle Alterations During Adolescence

Menstrual cycle alterations during adolescence are quite common and aren't considered dangerous. However, you must still consult a gynecologist to make sure that you're not suffering from any associated health problems.
Menstrual Cycle Alterations During Adolescence
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Written by Yamila Papa

Last update: 27 December, 2022

When a girl first gets her period, she usually suffers from menstrual cycle imbalances. This is because her body is getting used to this new condition. In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about menstrual cycle alterations during adolescence.

Is it normal to have irregular periods?

A lot of women see their gynecologist because they have irregular periods. However, in most cases, this isn’t a sign of a health problem or illness.

Periods last between three to eight days, with an average of five days. The interval between each menstrual cycle is 28 days. However, only 15% of adult women have regular menstrual cycles.

A woman’s menstrual cycle can be considered irregular if she doesn’t get it every 28 days, if it lasts for only one day or more than seven days, when she doesn’t get her period for a month or longer, or when she gets her period more than once in the same month.

Irregular menstrual cycles can be caused by anemia, hormonal problems, stress, excessive weight loss, eating disorders, postpartum, or serious illness such as cervical cancer.

It can also be caused by organic lesions, genital tract disorders, or endocrine diseases. Also, some women suffer from menstrual cycle alterations before menopause.

If you have any doubts, you should go see your gynecologist, who may suggest several tests to determine if the alteration is innocuous or not. You can also ask your gynecologist about your flow.

A teenager with her period.

Your period flow is abnormal if you need more than eight pads or tampons a day. This can cause anemia due to heavy blood loss.

Are menstrual cycle alterations during adolescence common?

The answer is a resounding yes. A teenager may have a period every two months, twice in one month, or experience amenorrhea (absence of a menstrual period) for several months without any possibility of pregnancy.

Her period may also last between two days to an entire week. The first periods tend to be the most irregular and, in most cases, the cycles normalize as of the first or second year. However, they may continue to be irregular throughout the woman’s entire life.

What influences a teenager’s menstrual cycle?

Menstrual cycles in adolescents are influenced by development and overall growth. Therefore, irregularity is more common than you may believe.

In addition, you can’t ignore the fact that hormone levels fluctuate at this stage, which directly affects the frequency and duration of menstruation, as well as the flow.

Certain habits can also lead to menstrual cycle alterations during adolescence. There’s no doubt that this stage is characterized by many changes… and that it’s also sometimes accompanied by not-so-healthy habits.

For example, if a teenager exercises excessively, follows strict diets, takes diet pills, uses drugs, or is continuously depressed and stressed, she may experience menstrual cycle alterations.

One can’t determine when irregular cycles will become regular (if they ever do).

It’s estimated that women are irregular until the age of 20. At that stage, amenorrhea is normal since the body and hormones are changing to allow the woman to become a mother.

“One thing that must be taken into account is the duration and heaviness of periods, as well as the symptoms experienced during the period and after it goes away.”


A teenager with doubts about her period.

As it’s normal for periods to be irregular during the first years, you shouldn’t worry. However, it’s always best to consult a gynecologist when in doubt, especially if you suffer from intense lower abdomen and back pain, weakness, nausea, headaches, fatigue, severe cramps, or excessive sweating during your period.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Serret Montoya, J., Hernández Cabezza, A., Mendoza Rojas, O., Cárdenas Navarrete, R., Ángel, M., & Keever, V. (2012). Alteraciones menstruales en adolescentes. Bol Med Hosp Infant Mex.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.