There can be a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to what’s considered a “normal period”. The beauty of our bodies is that we are all built divinely different, our flow included, but it’s still good to understand the guidelines of a typical period.
Let us take you through a few of them to help you feel informed and empowered when it comes to caring for your mind, body and flow.
What is considered a normal menstrual cycle?
You may have heard that a normal healthy period is 28 days long, but did you know that “normal” is actually considered anywhere between 21-35 days? Not all of our bleeds work like clockwork either, your period can still be considered normal even if it fluctuates by 7 days.
Your flow should typically last between 3-7 days with anywhere from 30ml to 50ml of blood loss during a single cycle. That’s 2-4 tablespoons.
Symptoms are caused by fluctuating hormone levels before and during your period. This can typically cause any or all of these annoyances:
- Headache, dizziness or light-headedness
- Sleep disruptions
- Food cravings
- Cramps in the lower abdomen and back
- Breast tenderness
A good way to get to know your cycle better is to track it every month. Noting down not only your flow length and symptoms but also other things throughout the month like ovulation pain, discharge and mood swings lets you know the full spectrum of your cycle.
Why is my period irregular?
Did you know that some innocent lifestyle changes can messed up your period cycle? Things like diet, exercise and changes in stress levels can change your flow drastically! Let us unpack these things a little for you:
Life Stages like:
After menarche, perimenopause, pregnancy, postpartum, breastfeeding and recurrent miscarriages can throw off your typical cycle.
Sleep-Wake Cycles like:
Shift work, sleep disorders, jet lag and other sleep disruptions can change your melatonin and hormone levels, this can put your flow into a funk.
Physical / Emotional changes like:
Chronic stress, emotional trauma, substance abuse, quick weight changes, eating disorders, certain medications and PCOS all can affect our pituitary gland which is responsible for our reproductive hormones.
When should I be concerned about my menstrual cycle?
It might be a good idea to scoot to your physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Your period stops suddenly
- You are bleeding noticeably longer
- You are bleeding noticeably heavier
- You have severe pain during your period
- You spot or bleed in between periods
- You suddenly feel sick after using tampons
- You think you might be pregnant
- Your period has not returned within three months after stopping birth control and you know you’re not pregnant
- You have questions or concerns about your period
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