The menstrual cycle occurs in all females from the onset to puberty (average age 11 or 12 years) to the menopause in middle age (average age between 45-55). The lining of the uterus is shed via vaginal bleeding when a girl or woman has not conceived a pregnancy.
The menstrual period lasts between two days and seven days, usually occurring once every 28 days, although anything from once every 24 days to once every 35 days is considered normal.
If you are having a period more than once every 24 days, it is considered an irregular cycle.
Having a period once every two weeks, or twice a month is abnormal and you should see your doctor because you may become anemic if you are having very frequent periods. They are sometimes a sign of infection or other medical problem that would need treatment.
Reasons for a period every two weeks could be:
• Dramatic weight loss or gain -- This changes the hormones in the body and these are responsible for directing when the period will start.
• Excessive exercise -- This too disrupts hormones.
• Stress -- Exams, family argument, financial worries, divorce, even a holiday can cause a temporary change in your menstrual cycle.
• Illness and/or medications -- Some medications can affect your cycle. Talk to your doctor about altering or stopping your medication if you think this is happening.
• Uterine problems such as polyps, cysts, fibroids or tumors (either benign or cancerous).
• Sexually transmitted infections -- These can cause bleeding in between periods which can be mistaken for a period.
• Thyroid problems -- Thyroid disease could cause a thickening of the uterine lining, resulting in more bleeding than normal.
• Reactions to contraceptive methods -- Sometimes the pill, depo provera injections or the copper-only IUD can result in a change in your cycle.
~ The pill and IUD can make you bleed in between periods, known as "breakthrough bleeding" and this may be mistaken for a period.
~ The IUD can also make your periods heavier.
~ The depo-provera injection can make your cycle irregular, however, it often stops your period altogether instead of making it more frequent.