Is Your Period Normal? Here’s What You Need to Know

Makeba Giles

Makeba Giles

Content Creator and Curator at MELISASource
Makeba Giles is an Health, Family, and Lifestyle Blogger. She is also a Midwest Mother of four, and the Founder and Creative Director of MELISASource.com. |

EMAIL: [email protected]
Makeba Giles

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Change The Cycle. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

”I tried to dance it away

I tried to change it with my hair

I ran my credit card up

Thought a new dress make it better

I tried to work it away

But that just made me even sadder

I tried to keep myself busy

I ran around circles

Think I made myself dizzy….

 

… Well it’s like cranes in the sky

Sometimes I don’t wanna feel those metal clouds.”

 

~Cranes in the Sky – Solange

 Is Your Period Normal? What You Need to Know

As a woman, I know that the dealing with the ups and downs of your period while managing day-to-day life can feel exactly like the song lyrics above.

Some aspects of the menstrual cycle are normal, and there is no way to avoid them. However, there are some symptoms that are far from normal, and may be an indication that there is a problem with your menstrual health.

Is Your Period Normal? What You Need to Know

Maybe you have never thought about the possibility of your period being abnormal. Or, maybe you have noticed some changes in your period, but you have done all you could to ignore them or make them go away on your own. It’s okay: there is no better time than now to face reality and conduct a self-analysis of what is going on with your body.

Truth is, menstrual health is just as important as your mental and physical health. Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or beyond, keeping a close eye on how your body is acting during your period can be the difference between living a life of burden or freedom.

What Is a Normal Period?

While everyone’s definition of a normal period may be different, typical menstrual cycles occur every 21 to 35 days and the duration of your flow can range between two to five days. 2

How to Tell If Your Period Is Abnormal

It is certainly true that every woman’s body is different. It is also true that there are other factors that can affect your period, such as stress, medication, diet, physical activity, childbirth, and aging. So, exactly how do you determine if your period is abnormal?

Here are some things to consider:

Period Normal

You may have abnormal uterine bleeding if you experience the following: 2

  • Have a menstrual flow that soaks through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row.
  • Need to double up on pads to control your menstrual flow.
  • Need to change pads or tampons during the night.
  • Have menstrual periods lasting more than 7 days.
  • Have a menstrual flow with blood clots the size of a quarter or larger.
  • Have a heavy menstrual flow that keeps you from doing the things you would do normally.
  • Have constant pain in the lower part of the stomach during your periods.
  • Are tired, lack energy, or are short of breath.

Studies show that heavy periods can mean much more than heavy bleeding. They can affect you in a number of ways:

Physically

  • Feeling tired and nauseated
  • Bad cramps
  • Headaches

Socially

  • Missing social or athletic events3
  • Avoiding sex4
  • Missing work3

 Emotionally

  • Depression or moodiness4
  • Feeling anxious3
  • A lack of confidence during your period3

Is Your Period Normal? What You Need to Know

The next time you are on your period, keep a daily journal of everything that you experience. If you notice one or more of the symptoms listed above, fill out this quick checklist to bring to your next OBGYN appointment. It may be time to talk to your doctor about AUB.

Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) can occur at any age and is common among women of reproductive age.  1 in 5 women will experience AUB at some point in their life.1 As the name suggests, AUB is any bleeding that differs from your normal cycle — whether in amount, frequency, timing (such as between your regular periods) or after menopause.2

Many women do not know they are experiencing AUB, or they suffer in silence because they are not aware of the treatment options. I know all-too-well because I was that woman a few years ago.

I noticed changes in my menstrual cycle in my late thirties after the birth of my fourth child. Initially, I did not suspect that something could be wrong. Instead of addressing the problem, I tried to ignore the discomfort, fatigue, and heavy bleeding I was experiencing by engaging in other activities to help shift my focus in hopes that it all would go away.

But it wasn’t long before suffering from pain and heavy periods kept me from fully enjoying my daily activities. Not only was I embarrassed about it, I was too scared to discuss my period problems with my OBGYN, afraid that they would say that my experiences were normal.

After I finally mustered up the courage to visit my doctor outside of my routine annual exam, I was surprised (and relieved) to know that I no longer had to suffer. My doctor advised me that there were treatment options available to relieve me from the symptoms of my heavy periods, including my iron-deficiency anemia. I was also given the tools and tips I needed to help manage my menstrual health and get me back to living a higher quality of life. The weight was lifted and I was finally free!

So there is good news about heavy periods after all. Fortunately, minimally invasive options do exist to effectively treat heavy bleeding, hysterectomy is not the ONLY option and shouldn’t be the first.

If you are nervous about visiting your healthcare provider to discuss possible treatment options for abnormal periods, you can find out more about the options on Change the Cycle, here5

Do what I did: outsmart your abnormal period by monitoring your symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your OBGYN to discuss them. Learn about various treatment options available, and share the happenings of your menstrual health with your loved ones so that they can offer you their support. Communicate with other women online who are living with—and want to manage—their heavy periods on the Change the Cycle website here, and with the social media hashtag, #WhyIWearWhite

You don’t have to try to avoid what is happening with your body, and you certainly do not have to go through it alone. The more you know about your menstrual health and the sooner you speak up to their doctor, the closer you will be to making sure that your period doesn’t get in the way of life.

Is Your Period Normal? What You Need to Know

Period Normal

Change the Cyclechange the cycle logo encourages women to take control of their heavy periods and feel empowered to Wear White. White is a color often associated with fear and embarrassment for women who suffer from accidents resulting from heavy bleeding. Our goal is to transform the color white into an emblem of strength.

Whether you experience heavy periods personally or have friends and/or family impacted, Change the Cycle would love for you to share a personal story and your reason for wearing white on social media, using the hashtag #WhyIWearWhite to empower women everywhere to stop letting heavy periods control their life.

Learn more by visiting the Change The Cycle website here, or by connecting with @Changethecycle on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And join the conversation using the social media hashtag, #WhyIWearWhite.

Is Your Period Normal? What You Need to Know

REFERENCES

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Blood disorders in women: heavy menstrual bleeding. Accessed January 4, 2017. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html.
  2. Centers for Disease Control, Heavy Menstrual Bleeding. Accessed October 24, 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html
  3. Cooper J, et al. A randomized, multicenter trial of safety and efficacy of the NovaSure system in the treatment of menorrhagia. J Am Assoc Gynecol Laparosc. 2002; 9:418-428
  4. National Women’s Health Resource Center. Survey of women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding. Data on file; 2005
  5. Uterine fibroids: Overview Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/home/ovc-20212509. Accessed April 25, 2017

Is Your Period Normal? What You Need to Know

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