Periods - what's normal?
Is your period about as predictable as Lindsey Lohan’s career choices? You’re not alone. In fact lots of young women experience irregular periods. The good news is that after a few years your period or menstruation cycle should sort itself out. Here’s what’s normal and what’s not.
That time of the month explained
When a girl gets to a certain, child bearing age her uterus starts preparing for a baby by lining itself. If no pregnancy occurs the body sheds this lining (also known as endometrium) once a month (or every 28 days) – this is your period or menstruation.
The lining or menstrual blood passes through the vagina and this bleeding can last for 3 to 5 days. When you’re younger it takes a while for your body to figure things out so your period may not come every 28 days like clockwork and it may last longer or shorter than the average.
Most girls get their first period between the ages of 11 and 14.
How long should my period last?
Most periods last from 3 to 5 days. But, anywhere from 2 to 7 days is normal.
How long is a regular menstrual cycle?
A woman’s menstrual cycle can be between 25 – 35 days so don’t stress too much if flow doesn’t come to town every 28 days.
What does it mean if I haven’t had my period?
A missed period can be caused by a number of factors, namely:
- Excessive weight gain or loss
- Eating disorders
- Increased exercise
- Drug use
- Breast feeding
Issues with pelvic organs or diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and diabetes can also cause missed periods but in most cases, your period will return to normal if you take care of your health. If you pregnancy is a concern, take a pregnancy test. If problems persist, visit your doctor.
When should I consult a doctor?
In some cases it may be necessary to visit your doc over an unruly period. Seek help if you:
- have to change the pad very often (soaking more than one pad every 1-2 hours)
- go longer than 3 months between periods
- have bleeding in between periods
- have an unusual amount of pain before or during your period
- have periods were regular then became irregular
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