While there is no such thing as a one size fits all ‘normal’ period for all women – some of us may get painful cramps while other escape cramp-free; some may be blessed with a two day bleed where it drags on for a week for others. Flows can run the gambit from light to heavy – there are indeed some irregularities or symptoms; however, that may be caused to consult your doctor. If you experience inconsistencies in your menstruation such as the ones below, it can never hurt to reach out to a medical professional.
Abnormalities in Flow (Duration & Intensity)
After having been through the bleeding cycle a number of times, every woman has a general idea of just what her period is like in terms of typical length and heaviness of the flow.
If you are suddenly experiencing abnormally heavy flows, you may want to reach out to your doctor. A spike in intensity is rather common at some point in most women’s experiences, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a symptom of something larger. There are many possible culprits of this increase including:
Hormone Imbalance: A possible indicator of an underlying thyroid gland issue.
Polyps: Noncancerous growths in the uterus.
Endometriosis: Uterine tissue expanding its growth to other areas of the pelvis.
IUD Issues: If you have an IUD, it is possible the device has migrated or is simply causing heavier than expected bleeding in your first year.
Cancer: Not a fun one to think about, but cervical cancer can cause heavy bleeding.
If you need a little extra help during a heavier flow, too, some leak-proof underwear may be a blessing.
Additionally, if your periods are suddenly markedly longer or shorter, you may want to bring it up. Keep in mind that using hormonal birth control can affect your cycles too and that long or short periods may be normal for some. However, if you are noticing a significant and sudden difference, reach out to your doctor as a number of the same causes of the bleeding abnormalities may be the culprits here, too.
Skipped or Missed Periods
Again, the duration between periods varies from woman to woman, but the average length of time is about 28 days. If you have a good idea of when to usually expect your period and you find it taking much longer, or you are not getting your period at all, there could be a few reasons (aside from pregnancy, of course):
Noticeable fluctuations in weight: Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight in a short time can throw off hormonal balance and affect your period.
Stress: Always lurking insidiously, having high levels of stress in your life can throw you off.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This is a condition stemming from a hormonal balance that leads to both irregular periods and the growth of cysts in the ovaries.
Bleeding Between Periods
While the occasional spotting may not be cause for alarm (or may be the result of birth control effects) if the bleeding in between your periods is irregularly heavy or happening too frequently, it may be a symptom of: