Irregular periods may not be a concern for most women unless they are accompanied by period pain or perhaps the woman is trying for a baby. Irregular periods do indicate that the menstrual cycle is out of balance and it may be a cause of infertility.
Within Chinese medicine there are three main reasons for irregular periods.
The first is stagnation of energy & blood in the uterus. Other signs of stagnation of Qi (energy) and blood are; period pains, lower abdominal bloating leading up to the period, irritability & mood swings, and blood clots in the menstrual bleed. When there is stagnation within the uterus, the menstrual cycle can become irregular as the smooth cyclic monthly flow is disrupted.
Irregular periods can also be caused by a condition called cold in the uterus. When cold lodges in the uterus it prevents the smooth movement of energy & blood and disrupts the menstrual cycle. With this condition the abdomen may feel cold leading up to the period, the woman may feel cold generally, and there may be intense period pain which is relieved by placing a hot water bottle on the lower abdomen. A hot water bottle may also bring relief for woman who suffer from Qi and Blood stagnation since the warmth will move the energy and reduce pain. Since Cold causes the energy and Blood of the uterus to stagnate there is often an overlap between this condition and the previous one.
Another common cause of irregular periods is due to a condition termed Liver Blood deficiency. In this case the Blood that goes to the uterus is reduced in quantity. In this condition the woman may miss periods all together, or the periods may be irregular but the blood flow is very small. It can also occur that the woman may miss one, two or more periods and then there is a heavy bleed. This category of irregular bleeds is very different from the pervious two since it is not based on stagnation but rather on a deficiency i.e. a lack of menstrual blood. There may be associated symptoms such as dizziness and tiredness that are notably worse after the menstrual bleed.