In most cases, getting a period every two weeks has a simple explanation behind it and isn’t reason to worry. If it happens repeatedly, however, it’s important to take notice of the signs your body is giving you. Read on to learn why two periods may happen in the same month.
Two periods in one month for the first time
If you have short menstrual cycle naturally, you may have menses at the beginning and the end of a month more often than not. If your menstrual cycle is usually about 28 days or so, then a significant change like having a period twice a month may be a bit surprising and seem unusual. While in many cases it’s simply an anomaly, it’s important to remember that vaginal bleeding can indicate a medical concern— and it’s easy to mistake for menses. Bleeding could indicate any of the following:
- Pregnancy — Since pregnancy can cause spotting, talk to your doctor if you notice bleeding and you’re pregnant (or there’s a chance you could be pregnant).
- A sexually transmitted infection — STIs may cause bleeding and vaginal discharge.
- Miscarriage — Miscarriages are often accompanied by heavy vaginal bleeding. If you suspect that you are pregnant and notice vaginal bleeding similar to menses, visit your doctor immediately.
If you experience bleeding when you’re not expecting your period, you initially need to find out if the bleeding is due to menses or spotting:
- If you are bleeding due to menses or having two periods in one month, you’ll soak through a tampon or pad every few hours. The blood is usually bright or dark red, brown, or pink.
- If you are spotting, the bleeding won’t be enough to soak through a tampon or pad. The blood is usually brown or dark red in color.
What causes two periods in one month? It may be due to a short menstrual cycle or a health condition that results in vaginal bleeding.
Some of the causes of having a period twice in one month are:
1. Endometriosis: This condition results in growth of tissue similar to uterine tissue in other regions of your body. Symptoms of endometriosis include pain and cramping in the abdomen and irregular vaginal bleeding. Sometimes the bleeding may be so heavy that it resembles menses. Your doctor may diagnose the condition by doing a pelvic examination and ultrasound, but the definitive method for diagnosing endometriosis is a laparoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure.
2. Perimenopause: Perimenopause can also be an underlying cause of having two periods in one month. It’s the period leading up to menopause, during which your hormones begin to change. The duration of perimenopause varies among women and may last for up to ten years. During these years, you may experience shorter or longer menstrual cycles, lighter or heavier bleeding, or even skip periods completely. When you don’t have menses for 12 months straight, you are in menopause.
3. Uterine fibroids: These are growths in the uterus. They are usually not malignant or cancerous, but may cause particularly heavy bleeding during menses. Additional symptoms of uterine fibroids include:
- Frequent urination
- A feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area
- Pain in the low back
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Your doctor can diagnose uterine fibroids by performing a pelvic exam or ultrasound.
4. Thyroid issues: Thyroid issues like hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can also cause 2 periods in one month, as they may contribute to the irregularity of the menstrual cycle. In hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland is underactive and it isn’t able to make sufficient thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
- Feeling cold all the time
- Always feeling tired
- Heavy bleeding during menses
- Pale skin
- Slow heart rate
- Puffy face
- Weight gain
In hyperthyroidism, your thyroid gland is overactive and it makes too much thyroid hormone. Signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Feeling hot all the time
- Bulging eyes
- Difficulty sleeping
- Weight loss
- Rapid heart rate
You should see your physician if you have symptoms of either of the conditions, as both of them are treatable.
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If there is a family history of early onset menopause or uterine fibroids or cysts, you may be more prone to having two periods in one month. One of the complications of having frequent vaginal bleeding is anemia, which is an iron deficiency and is common among women. Some of the signs and symptoms of anemia include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
The occasional double period is usually nothing to stress about. However, you should see your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- 2 periods in a month for two to three consecutive months
- Heavy menses
- Lower abdominal pain, especially if it doesn’t get better within one to two days
- Bleeding or spotting between menses that you may often mistake as 2 periods in a month
- Pain during sex
- Large blood clots during menses (the size of a quarter or bigger)
- Severe menstrual cramps
The treatment for two periods in one month depends on the cause of the bleeding. Women who have a short menstrual cycle naturally or who are in the early stages of puberty don’t require treatment.
Your doctor may suggest hormonal birth control as a possible treatment for multiple periods in a month, as it can help regulate menses and resolve anemia that occurs due to heavy bleeding. If you’re already taking hormonal birth control and it’s causing you to have a period twice in one month, then be sure to talk to your physician about using a different method of birth control.
For hypothyroidism, your doctor may prescribe an oral thyroid hormone replacement therapy. For hyperthyroidism, several treatment options are available and your doctor will suggest the one that is best for your condition.
During perimenopause, your physician may suggest menopausal therapy to regulate your menses until they disappear when you enter menopause.
If you have uterine fibroids, your doctor may recommend different therapies, including an intrauterine device, uterine artery embolization, or surgery.
You may make certain lifestyle changes to reduce your stress levels, as stress certainly impacts your menstrual cycle. Possible changes include exercising regularly, practicing meditation, reducing your intake of caffeine, and listening to soothing music.
While having a period every two weeks may be somewhat normal for women with a short menstrual cycle, it can be surprising for women who tend to have a cycle that’s more regular in length.
In many cases there’s no reason to worry about having your period twice a month, but sometimes it can indicate an underlying medical problem.
Since there are many different reasons that you could have two periods in one month, the best course of action is to mention it to your doctor. They can help figure out the reason behind the double periods and together you can decide on an action plan.