Are Your Periods Normal?

Menstrual problems are one of the most common symptoms of gynaecological conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis. However, these issues too often go missed because they are so common that we often consider them to be normal. Too many women put up with these symptoms for years or find them being dismissed by GPs because of these misconceptions about how periods should be.

How Long Should Your Menstrual Cycle Be?

The average menstrual cycle lasts for about 28 days but there can be a lot of variation around this. Most women will have cycles somewhere between 21 and 35 days, but yours could be longer or shorter than this. You might also find that there is some variation in how long your period lasts and how regular the cycle is over the months. If your cycle is usually shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days then you might want to consult a gynaecologist to find out if there’s a reason why.

How Long Should Your Period Last?

The first day of your period is counted as the first day of each cycle. Most women will bleed for the first three to seven days. You will probably notice that your flow is heavier on some days than on others. If your periods are very short or long then it’s a good idea to check with a gynaecologist.

How Regular Should Your Menstrual Cycle Be?

It’s a good idea to keep track of your menstrual cycle so that you know when to expect your period. You may also be able to tell when you will be ovulating, especially if you use an app that helps you to keep track of the changes in your body. Knowing how your menstrual cycle changes over time can also help you to identify any irregularities.

Most women will have a period every month if they are not pregnant, breastfeeding or reaching menopause. The timing of your period will usually be fairly predictable if you are keeping track of your cycle. It is normal for the length of the menstrual cycle to vary a bit, but you shouldn’t usually miss periods, bleed in between periods, or be out by more than a few days. If this happens you should see a doctor as it could be a sign of a condition like PCOS.

How Heavy is a Normal Period?

The amount of blood that you lose during your period can vary. For example, you might have heavier flow on the second or third day than on other days. Some women also have heavier periods than others. Most women lose about 6-8 teaspoons of blood over their period, but it can be difficult to know exactly how much you are losing. Some easier to spot signs that your periods are heavier than normal are that you have to change pads or tampons every hour or two, you often bleed though your clothes, or you have to use both pads and tampons at the same time. If your periods are this heavy then you should see a gynaecologist as there may be an underlying condition such as fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease. Treating these conditions could help to lighten your periods.

Is Period Pain Normal?

A certain amount of cramping and discomfort is normal just before and during your period as your uterus will be contracting to expel its contents. However, if the pain is bad enough to interfere with your usual activities, it doesn’t respond to over the counter painkillers, or it lasts longer than a few days, then it could be a sign of a gynaecological problem. You might have a condition such as endometriosis, fibroids or PCOS that can be treated to free you from your severe period pain.

Periods can vary from month to month and between individuals, but it is best to see a gynaecologist if your menstrual cycle doesn’t fit within these normal ranges. It’s also a good idea to talk to a doctor if you notice anything that is unusual for you. Suddenly getting heavier or less regular periods could be a sign that something has changed. Menstrual symptoms and changes should never be ignored as they can be caused by treatable conditions. You shouldn’t put up with painful or inconvenient periods if there is a treatment that can help.

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