Have you seen that old cartoon that has a drawing of a mother and daughter? The daughter asks, “Mom, what’s normal?” The mother answers, “A setting on the dryer.” When it comes to your menstrual cycle, “normal” is what’s normal for you.
Dr. Parisa Pourzand has treated thousands of women, and has observed that what is a normal period for one woman would be considered out of the ordinary for another. However, if you notice that your period has become irregular for you, you may need to seek medical treatment.
You’ve probably read or been told that a normal menstrual cycle lasts 28 days and that a period lasts about five days. There are a few problems with that.
Your cycle may only be 21 days, or it could be as long as 35 days, and still be considered in the normal range. And you may bleed anywhere from two to eight days, and be within a normal range.
The important thing is to determine what is normal for you. If your cycle is usually 25-28 days, and then one month it lasts 35 days, you’ve had an irregular period. If you usually bleed for four days, and then one month you bleed for 7, you’ve experienced irregularity.
Another way your period can be irregular is if you experience a large variation in the amount you bleed month to month. You most likely will have about the same amount of blood each month. If you have a light period one month, then an exceptionally heavy one the next, you’re experiencing irregularity.
If you’re worried about having an irregular period, the first step is to track your cycle for a few months, if you don’t already. Note how long your cycle lasts, how long you bleed, and how heavy or light your flow is. That way, when you see Dr. Pourzand, you’ll be able to describe the irregularity to her.
Possible causes of irregularity
There are lots of things that can cause your period to be irregular. Pregnancy, obviously, but also stress, birth control, some medications, hormone issues like a thyroid disorder, benign growths like fibroids, and more serious medical conditions.
If you’ve gained or lost weight recently, that could have an impact on your menstrual cycle. Additionally, disruptions to your daily routine like travel or illness can cause menstrual irregularity.
Endometriosis is a condition that can cause painful and irregular periods. If you have endometriosis, the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterus, and so it can’t break down and bleed away during your period.
If your period is irregular, and you’re not pregnant or recently started a new type of birth control, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. She can help you determine the reason for the irregularity.
Because you’re a unique individual, it’s important to discuss what’s normal for you with Dr. Pourzand, as well as what’s not. Dr. Pourzand considers your circumstances, medical history, and concerns during your evaluation and in making treatment suggestions. She provides the kind of highly personalized care you can trust.
You can schedule your appointment using our online tools, or you’re welcome to call the location that’s most convenient for you.