Signs and Symptoms of Normal and Abnormal Periods

Is My Period Normal?

Terrible belly-aches at the young women
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From time to time, every woman suspects that her menstrual cycle is abnormal for one reason or another. However, often what we think is an abnormal period is actually normal menstruation.

It's important to know when you are having an abnormal period because it can be a symptom of a health issue that needs attention, including pregnancy, uterine cancer, and uterine fibroid tumors. So the question becomes, how do you know when you're experiencing abnormal periods?

The Signs and Symptoms Of An Abnormal Period

You may be experiencing an abnormal period, abnormal uterine bleeding, or an abnormal menstrual cycle if:

  • the time between your menstrual cycles is longer than 21 to 35 days
  • you need to change tampons or sanitary pads after only one or two hours
  • your period lasts longer than 7 days
  • you suddenly begin experiencing severe menstrual cramps
  • you are younger than 11 or postmenopausal or younger and you have any amount of vaginal or uterine bleeding

What Else Is Considered Abnormal?

While it's normal to experience a small amount of cramping during your period, it's not normal to experience severe menstrual cramps. If you suddenly begin having severe cramps you should be evaluated by your health care provider to determine the cause of the increased pain you experience during your period. 

Some young women have more intense cramping during the first few years after their first period.

This typically decreases with age and after childbirth. 

If you are over 16 and haven't had a period yet, consult your health care provider to determine the cause and be sure and ask about the possibility of polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS.

Symptoms That May Seem Abnormal But Usually Aren't

The best thing to do when you suspect that you're experiencing abnormal bleeding or menstrual cycles is consult with your health care provider.

However, sometimes what appears to be an alarming symptom actually isn't. These symptoms may include:

  • Seeing blood clots, which are actually clots of tissue, in your menstruation. Don't worry, this is a normal occurrence and no cause for alarm. Blood clots such as these are perfectly normal because menstruation involves the shedding of the lining of the uterus.
  • Skipping periods or having irregular periods for the first few years of menstruation. This is a normal process that most young ladies experience.
  • You're extremely active in sports activities and often skip your menstruation for long periods of time. Nobody is sure why this occurs, but it's a normal occurrence for many women who regularly participate in intense sports or other activities.

Things to Remember About Menstruation

Here are some menstruation basics every woman should know to help determine if you're having an abnormal period:

  • Normal menstrual bleeding lasts about 5 days.
  • The typical amount of blood lost during menstruation is about 2 to 8 tablespoons, although it may seem like more than that.
  • The average menstrual cycle is 28 days from Day 1 to Day 1 of your period. However, anywhere from 21 to 35 days between periods is considered a normal menstrual cycle.

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