How Long Is a "Normal" Period?

How Long Is a "Normal" Period?

Your menstrual cycle says a lot about your reproductive health, but before you can understand what your body is saying, it’s important to know what a “normal” period is 一 so you can quickly spot the signs of any abnormal bleeding.

Here, Dr. Essam Taymour of Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group in Long Beach, California, explains what’s considered a normal period 一 and what’s not.

Understanding what a “normal” period is

Menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman, so it’s important to know that what’s normal for you may not be what’s normal for your sister or friend. When women ask how long their period should be, there are two time ranges to consider: how long bleeding lasts and the length of time between periods. 

Length of bleeding

The average length of bleeding lasts approximately five days, but it can range from 3-8 days. It’s smart to keep track of what’s normal for you. If your bleeding normally lasts about four days, but then your average shifts closer to eight days, take note. These 一 and any other symptoms such as heavier bleeding 一 are important details to share with your gynecologist.

Length of entire menstrual cycle

Periods start, on average, every 21-35 days for most women. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, teens’ menstrual cycles can range from 21-45 days. 

If you’re not sure of your normal cycle stats, consider using a menstrual cycle tracking app. Period tracking apps help identify your average number of bleeding days and your average cycle length. Once you have this data, you can recognize when your period deviates from your normal. If you’re helping your teen daughter navigate her first few periods, empower her to track her cycle as well.

What if your period isn’t “normal”?

Abnormal vaginal bleeding, officially known as menometrorrhagia, is any vaginal bleeding that happens outside of your “normal” menstrual cycle. Abnormal periods can be described as:

There are some cases in which your periods might not be normal. Hormonal imbalances account for many abnormal periods, especially if you’re starting 一 or nearing the end of 一 monthly periods. You might find that your periods are longer or shorter than your average during these times of change.

Additionally, breakthrough bleeding can happen if you use birth control pills to skip periods, which understandably can make your periods seem abnormal. Your first few postpartum periods can be abnormal, too, especially as your body gets back into the flow of regular periods. 

In addition to hormonal imbalances, there are many other types of underlying conditions that contribute to abnormal periods. This includes infections, polyps, uterine fibroidsendometriosis, and blood clotting disorders.

What can you do about abnormal bleeding?

There are many causes of abnormal periods, and it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the cause of an abnormal period without a physical exam. Dr. Taymour also reviews any other symptoms you may have 一 cramping, back pain, abdominal pain, and fatigue can also accompany abnormal periods 一 and analyzes any blood tests or hormone panels to make an official diagnosis. 

Depending on what’s contributing to your abnormal periods, you may benefit from: 

You may also find that lifestyle modifications, such as stress management, can help regulate your menstrual cycles.

If you’re concerned about your period, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Schedule your appointment with Gynecology and Obstetrics Medical Group by calling 562-247-3038 or by using our online scheduling tool.

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