Let’s face it, having your period is no fun at the best of times…but when there is something wrong with it, it can be a whole lot worse. But sometimes it can be hard for women and girls to spot it when they are having a period problem: there is a wide range of what is considered to be normal! Below, to help you out, are 8 signs that show there is something wrong with your period.
Your Period is Irregular
Believe it or not, some women never achieve a 28 day cycle — and anything between 21 and 45 days is actually considered to be normal! Girls who have just begun to have their period may find that it is irregular for the first few years — and women who are on the brink of menopause will do the same. However, if you are used to, for example, having a 35-day cycle and suddenly you drop to a 22-day cycle instead, it is best to call your ob-gyn, as this could indicate a hormonal imbalance or other problem.
Your Periods are Too Close Together or Too Far Apart
If your periods are coming less than 21 days or more than 45 days apart, this could be a signal that something is going on with your health as well. Common causes for too long or too short a menstrual cycle include hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism (too much or too little thyroid hormone). Hard core diets and a too-rigorous exercise schedule can also make periods less frequent. Talking to your doctor about a thyroid function test and going over your diet and exercise routine can be very helpful.
Your Period Comes with Severe Cramps
Mild to moderate cramping during a period is considered normal. But when it is seriously inferring with your life — such as your ability to go to work or school — then there might be a problem. Sometimes severe cramps can be related to your uterus producing too high an amount of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that can be a sign of endometriosis or other serious reproductive problem. Talk to your doctor about this and in the meantime, consider using an anti-inflammatory product like Advil which will help block prostaglandin production before it even starts.
Your Period Comes with Abnormal Bleeding
Bleeding for 3-7 days, and going through 3-6 tampons on each of those days, is considered to be a normal period. However, if you bleed for longer than 7 days or are going through a tampon every hour, there is something wrong. Abnormal bleeding can be caused by many things, include hypothyroidism or uterine cysts or polyps or endometriosis. Your doctor will likely want to do a pelvic exam and other tests to figure out what is causing the abnormal blood flow. This is important to treat, as otherwise it can lead to iron deficiency anemia.
You’re Bleeding in Between Your Periods
It is not considered normal to bleed in between your periods under most circumstances. Be sure to report any unusual bleeding as this can be a sign of low progesterone levels or other hormonal imbalances, the beginnings of menopause (in older women) and is even a side effect of some contraceptives.
Your Period Comes with Excessive Clots
Some blood clotting during your period is normal, especially in the mornings if the blood has dried overnight. However, excessive blood clotting should be reported to your doctor, as it could be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid problems or even blood disorders such as von Willebrand’s disease.
Your Periods are Late in Starting
If you (or your daughter or sister) is 16 and has not yet had a period, going into an ob-gyn for an evaluation is a good idea. This delay in periods could be caused by an eating disorder, hormonal problems or excessive exercise. There are also conditions like genetic disorders or problems with the ovaries or the pituitary gland, which helps to regulate hormones throughout the body.
Your Period is Sometimes Absent
The most obvious cause of a missed period is pregnancy — and a simple at-home pregnancy test should be able to tell you if this is the case! If you have missed a period but are not pregnant, there are other reasons that this could be happening. These include hormonal disorders like PCOS, use of birth control, poor nutrition, depression or prolonged stress or illness. However, missed periods can also occur with something even more serious, such as ovarian cancer.
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