Frequent Periods or Polymenorrhea: Definition and Causes

Frequent Periods Or Polymenorrhea

Frequent periods or polymenorrhea might be frustrating and cumbersome to handle.However, it is hardly a symptom of a terrible disease as many woman often think it is.

The Normal Period Length

The average length of the cycle is 28 days and this is the length often used in textbooks.  Normal menstrual cycle length can be anyway from 21 to 35 days. If your cycle length is within this range, and that is what you have every month, then that is  what is normal for you.

If your cycle is 21 days, then in 365days of the year, you will have about 17 periods ( 365/21=17). Similarly, if your cycle is 35 days, you will have  10 periods in a year( 365/35= 10).  We therefore expect that women with normal cycle length between 21 to 35 days should have 10 to 17 periods a year.

Frequent Periods

If your cycle length is less than 21 days, you will have periods more  than the normal number of periods a year. A woman with a cycle length of 17 days will have 21 periods ( 365/17=21).  Therefore by definition, periods occur frequently when they occur at an interval less than 21 days. The medical name is polymenorrhea, meaning many( poly-) menstrual cycles.
The opposite  scenario occurs when there are fewer than the expected number of periods in a year. Those with cycles more than 35 days will have less than 13 periods in a year.This is called oligomenorrhea.

Causes Of Polymenorrhea

The causes of polymenorrhea overlap with many of the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding or those of  irregular periods. Common, simple causes  include stress, excessive exercise, medications or perimenopause. More serious causes include diseases of the pelvic organs especially those with hormonal disturbances like polycystic ovarian disease.

Two causes worth mentioning are

  1. Dysfuncitonal uterine bleeding. This occurs during the extremes of the  years of menstruation, that is menarche and menopause  because of hormonal changes.
  2. Short luteal phase. This occurs when the luteal phase is abnormally short and leads to menses occurring fasting than it should. Read more on the luteal phase defect.

Polymenorrhea Treatment

There is no specific treatment directed at increasing the cycle length to stop  polymenorrhea. The main treatment is correcting the underlying condition whenever  possible. Treatment should not be attempted at home without proper medical evaluation to know  the precise underlying cause

Some specific cause-directed  therapies include oral contraceptive pills, medication adjustments, lifestyle changes such as exercise reduction, stress management, proper weight and others.

Review  the potential causes of irregular periods.

If you are not  what next to do,  Ask Doc!

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Return from Frequent Periods To Menstruation Home

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Spud

    How frequent is too frequent? I seem to be menstruating every other week for the past few months.

    • Tara Ferrell

      That is most definitely too frequent! Check with your Dr and get a transvaginal ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts. Also make sure to get your iron levels checked because if you are menstruating that often you could be deficient in iron.

    • YourDoc

      Please see above in under the Headline “what are frequent periods” to understand the meaning of the word “frequent” used here. I would also encourage you to see a doctor if you have this.

  • BP123

    I started my period at age 13. During my first year of menstruation I would have weeks long of periods. I would have 2 week long periods and have only one week or even a few days off of a period. At age 17 I got on birth control and my periods regulated. However I found out that I had HPV. I have pre cervical cancer. I ended up getting off birth control and my periods disappeared for 6 months. I got the depo shot about 2 times and my periods were still unregulated so I gave up on the shots when I was 19. I am now 25. I met my boyfriend 6 years ago and we have never used protection and I now have between 14 and 19 day cycle length and I want to be able to have children. My gyno said there is nothing to worry about and that things seem fine. I am below stage one pre cancer and I still do not understand or know when and if I ovulate or if I will ever have children or a normal period. I just do not know what to do. I also currently do not have insurance due to lack of hours at my jobs. I have depression, adhd, anxiety and wonder if I have a complete mental disorder that causes so many periods. Please help me… I am so confused. Thanks.

    • YourDoc

      Hello. so sorry to hear of the enormous difficulties you are facing there. From what you have written, it seems you have been evaluated by a Gyne before, which is a good step. If the Gyne told you nothing is wrong, hopefully after appropriate testing, it means no known abnormality has been found which in some way might be a good sign that nothing serious might be going on. You will need to learn about the menstrual cycle carefully. And then work closely with your doctor for best medical advice adapted to you. And then do your best to avoid the worries you can. Relax, be calm, smile often, exercise do the things that get you relaxed. If you pray, do! And then keep trying each month. Again, please work closely with your Gyne. This is a page that will help you Read similar pages and follow the links to other pages on the website to read more and understand the menstrual cycle for yourself. That is the minimum you can do to help in this. If there are questions, do not hesitate to ask us. You can use the Contact doc link above on the right

      • Sue

        In my opinion if you are not married and have no insurance and are depressed have adhd and anxiety she should NOT be trying to get pregnant! That would be another stress on her already stressed situation, take care of the stress, seek counseling ( there are some clinics that are free or low cost) for the depression and anxiety then go to the gyne and get the information or pill etc that will help you to get regulated, then plan your wedding and the starting of your family. Trust me if you do this process backwards it will be twice as hard on your bodies health. Good Luck and take care!

  • raji

    i’m 19 years old and have been having periods twice a month for nearly 1 year. I’m really worried. Is it due to stress? I used to be in a hostel with my room in the top most floor( 4th floor) when this irregular period cycle started. at that time, i thought the irregularity was may due to stress factor. But now, i’m at home without any flight of stairs to be climbed, but still i’m having the same problem. Is it due to hormonal imbalance?

    • YourDoc

      If you had regular periods before and now it is twice a month for the past one year, it may not be normal for you. To be sure, I will suggest you visit a doctor just to be sure nothing else might be going on

  • anon

    The math here is not correct, 365/35 is about 10 per year and not 13.

    • YourDoc

      Great pick!

  • sham

    I get my period every 18 days is that normal.I went to a doctor and he said I have an enlarged uterus..what does that mean..I am always in pain.

    • YourDoc

      That means your uterus is bigger than normal! Now is for you to know why it is as such and you will need to have an ultrasound or some other imaging test of your uterus. Please work closely with your doctor to find out what is going on and treat it promptly

  • chyann143

    Hi i’m 33 I been having my period within the past year for about 31/2 months then I did a emergency dnc then didn’t have it for almost 2 months after the dnc they gave me the depo shot u take 4x a year I didn’t want to take it in the first place but the dr recommended it so I was like whatever so after not having it for that few months I am now going on the 5th week I really want have a hysterectomy procedure done but my husband wants more children I do but if this is what I have to go through then I HAD Enough *:(

  • Belinda

    I have been having frequent periods, but they’re not all “normal.” I normally have my regular one 10 days after the full moon and it lasts around 6-8 days, heavy bleeding that gets lighter as the week wears on, bright or dark red, blood clots… all the normal stuff. Then, around 9 days later, I will have all of my normal symptoms (cramps, backache, migraines, nausea, fatigue, cravings, mood swings, hot and cold flashes, sore breasts, darkening of areolas) and then 2-3 days of brown (sometimes brownish-red) spotting, not like my normal periods. Is this also polymenorrhea or is it something else?

    • Belinda

      I forgot to mention I am 32, I have been pregnant twice, and both were successful, but there were complications with the last one and I had to have an emergency C-section at 35 weeks, my pregnancies were 12 years apart, I am not on any hormonal birth control, because it is one of my migraine triggers, and I am technically obese.

      • Belinda

        I promise this is the last edit of info I will make on this. The second pregnancy was a gestational surrogacy, their embryo implanted into my uterus. The complication was preeclampsia. I had the C-section in December. Also, I have been having my period since I was 12, but this weird cycle is a recent occurance.

        • YourDoc

          That is OK Belinda. It is our delight to be able to help you as much as we could. As I mentioned above, you have irregular bleeding that could best be described as metrorrhagia, bleeding between your periods. At the minimum, you will need a pelvic ultrasound to see your uterus, tubes and ovaries. You want to ensure you promptly know if something is not right and get it treated promptly. I will encourage you to contact your doctor’s office at your earliest convenience. This will be my first and most recommended step for you

    • YourDoc

      That is best called metrorrhagia, bleeding between periods. Belinda, I will strongly encourage you to have a medical check up to know what might be going on.

  • Leslie

    I’m 13 and I got my period when I was 11. I’ve had my period once every two weeks (i.e. A 14 day cycle) I go through a super plus tampon in 2 hours. I’m really concerned about my health. Possible diagnosis?

    • YourDoc

      Hello Leslie. That would sound like you are having heavy and frequent bleeding. It may sometimes take up to two years for the cycles to stabilize after your first. This kind of bleeding for young girls is called dysfunctional uterine bleeding.Since the bleeding you describe sounds heavy, I would suggest you talk with your doctor about this, if that is possible. You can also discuss this with your parents or guardian. If you have any further questions about this, do not hesitate to ask. You can use the Contact Doc page here

  • LeeLee4UNC

    So, I just moved to a different time zone less than a month ago. On July 20, 2014 I moved about 5000 miles away to Hawaii from North Carolina. Today is August 16, 2014. My issue is that I was on my menstrual cycle when I flew here (started July 19, flew out July 20), on for about 5-6 days and then I was off for about a week. Then I started to bleed again and had another period for about 5 days. Now, it’s been about a week since the 2nd one and I started bleeding again yesterday mid-day on August 15. Is this because of the time zone differences and my sleep-wake cycle being changed? I have also been under some stress, but overall, it’s been a fun experience. = Unless I’m stressing subconsciously. Someone please help. Also, I have no health insurance right now bc with my new job my insurance doesn’t start immediately. Therefore, I have no PCP or GYN right now.


  • Kim

    I’m 19 and I’ve been menstruating every three weeks since last month? It’s never happened before, but it’s also stopped hurting, so I don’t know what the problem is…

  • winnie123

    Hi. I’m 25 and I’m having period issue since end of Dec. In Oct last year (2014) I was quite sick that I have taken in a lot of medication (fever, cough, flu, and some medications for lungs). After that, I stopped period for one month. I tot it was normal due to too many medicines in my body. Things happen in Dec. I have periods every two weeks until now January 2015. I used to consult normal clinical doctor but they either said it is due to medications or said ntg about it. Although my period is frequent, the volume is getting lesser and lesser. The volume is not the normal volume. Sometimes I just put panty liner to avoid getting underwear dirty. I was sick again three days ago, high fever to about 39 degree Celsius. Recovered and period come again. This time is 9 days apart from the last period. I’m worried, is it due to medication just like the doctor said or should I consult a gynea?

  • Christina

    This was helpful, however my periods have been coming for three days every WEEK . I’m 21 and never had these kind of problems before so I’m not really sure what it could be

  • ASmith

    Is this normal for someone /after/ having two children? I’m experiencing a 17 day cycle after my two boys (both were emergency cesarian).

  • Angie

    Mine are every two weeks and then normal and then two weeks again. Going to the doctor next week.

  • Katherine

    I’ve been getting heavy periods lasting for 7+ days and only get 3-5 day reprieve between each one. 5 months ago, it started out only being every 7-10 days between each period, but has been increasing in frequency since then to being the current 3-5 days between each one now. I’ve mentioned in passing that my periods have become irregular and have been happening more frequently a few months ago, but nothing was really done about it and now it’s starting to really freak me out.

    • Katherine

      I should add that I am currently 28. I have been on Nexplanon since Nov 2013 and didn’t have my period at all for an entire year and then all of a sudden in Nov 2014, I started having two 7+ day heavy periods a month and now I’m actually having three 7+ day heavy periods a month with only 3-5 days between each one. Like I said, it’s really starting to freak me out.

      • Sarah

        I am in the same boat. I have the Nexplanon implant too and I was fine for a year. Dec was 1 yr. This,month I got my period which lasted 7 plus days and I got a 2 day break and it’s back! I don’t know if this is normal. I hate this. I’m going on a vacation and hoped itd be gone by now but nope.

  • Bondie

    Not sure if anyone will see this but anyways heres my issue…. So Im 19 years old, started on the pill (Yasmin) 5 months ago and it has been working fine, no problems but lately I’ve gotten my period. I did forget to take the pill for 2 or 3 days but made up for it and i got my period when i forgot it to take it. (i know that’s supposed to happen) but i bled for 3 weeks. No matter how many times i took the pill after, it didn’t stop the bleeding. It then stopped after the 3rd week and 5 days later I’ve gotten it again whilst taking the pill without stopping. Should i go to the doctor or wait?

  • VinymD

    I’m 20 and for the last couple months (or so), I’ve noticed an increase how often I bleed. I did have a period last month, but even though that ended, I still need to place a liner in my underwear. There is no “flow” between periods, but it is like I am spotting all the time now.
    In the past, I was notified of my irregular periods- due to being underweight, so I figured maybe that could be the issue here. I’ve been exercising for 5 days a week since last September, but also haven’t changed my diet. Also, 3 years ago I had agreed to receive a Mirena (IUD), but when I had returned for the “check up”, the physician couldn’t find the threads and assumed that I had accidentally removed it.
    I would really like to understand what is going on right now, should I stop/reduce exercising? (I can’t afford insurance; seeing a doctor will be tough.)
    -Thank you for your time.

  • Cecille

    I’m 27, I’ve been having irregular periods before of long duration of which my aunt told me to take pills for 6months. After the 6th month it went well then suddenly I realized my period’s interval are shorter and so I started logging it. I’ve noticed that my period interval is between 18 to 24 with an average of 20days. Now I am starting to worry and even scared of seeking an OB. I was exercising almost daily before as well but recently I slowed down.. I need help! What can I do?

  • Jennifer Chaffee

    I bled nonstop for a year i went to hospital four times before they diagnosed me with fibroids i went to obgyn they ran test for over 6 months my energy was so depleated so much i couldnt climb a small hillbiwent to my many trip to emergency room where my blood level was at bleeding to death i had a dand c which i bled month then bleeding stop 3 then it seemed normal now im bleeding for last eight months i stop going to obgyn because after surgery my primary doc said they were still concerned. With the anemia i told obgyn this is what obgyn doc said you want to have blood transfusion with an oncologist i know that blood specialist is hematology and could not sleep after she told me that. You got a sample from d and c that would be more accurate than any test . i call doc who own practice and told him i was upset. The way she talked to me thats how you tell someone. They have cancer they said i didnt have it i dont belive after d and c im bleeding same like i never had surgery i work standing i can feel blood clots come out. Like a flood. I just started going to another doctor im so desperate to get this over this. To be continued

  • Emily

    So i got my period in a 18 day cycle this month, is it normal?

  • Ali Khan

    Modern world has explored many new techniques for controlling periods. This article will help Skip, Delay or Postpone Your Period Naturally.