How Long Should Your Period Last

Changes To The Cervix

How often should I have my period, and how long should it last?

Bleeding between your periods may be caused by changes in the cells of your cervix. This may be due to inflammation, hormonal changes, a Human Papilloma Virus infection or cervical cancer. If you have bleeding between your periods, your doctor will be able to examine your cervix using a speculum and can take a sample of cells for a cervical screening test.

How Much Blood Is Lost During A Period

The amount of blood lost during a period will vary from woman to woman, but, on average, a woman will lose about 6 – 8 teaspoons of blood per period. A loss of 80 ml or more, having a period longer than 7 days, or both, is considered heavy. However, most women have a good idea of whether or not their bleeding is within the normal range for them.

When Its Time To See A Doctor

Signs that you should contact your doctor include:

  • Menstrual bleeding that last longer than 7 days
  • Passing clots larger than a quarter
  • Changing pads or tampons more than every hour
  • Changing pads in the middle of the night
  • Feeling more tired than usual or feeling lightheaded

If you suspect your period is lasting longer than usual or you have heavy bleeding with your periods, dont hesitate to contact your doctor. Its important to find the cause of longer or heavier periods to not only rule out more concerning medical conditions but to improve your overall quality of life.

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What Is Bleeding Between Periods

After puberty and before menopause, women experience normal vaginal bleeding each month during their menstrual period. Normal vaginal bleeding, or a period, varies widely between women and can be different for you at different stages of your life. Generally, all women experience a menstrual period around once a month, approximately every 21 to 35 days, and it can last anywhere between 1 and 7 days.

Bleeding between periods is any vaginal bleeding that occurs outside of a normal period. Bleeding between periods may be similar to a normal period, may be heavier with a larger blood loss, or may be a very light blood loss . Bleeding between periods may be once off or may last for a number of days.

How Long Are Normal Perimenopause Periods

How Long Should Your Period Last For

Ordinarily, your menstrual cycle occurs every 21 to 35 days and lasts from 2 to 7 days. However, perimenopause periods can last much longer. Some months, the ovaries might not produce sufficient levels of estrogen and progesterone, preventing menstruation altogether. Other months, the imbalance might cause the uterine lining to become overly thick, which means it will take longer to be shed by your body to shed.

Excessive bleeding and long periods are fairly common during perimenopause. Many women experience an increased flow and extended perimenopause periods before entering menopause.

If youve had periods that are several days longer or more frequent or heavier than usual, its a good idea to see your doctor.

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You’re Being Exposed To Environmental Estrogens

Long periods typically occur due to a dominance of estrogen over progesterone in the body, explains physician Lorraine Maita, M.D. But estrogens outside your body, like those found in plastics, pesticides, and meat with added hormones, can have the same effect. To curb the effects of environmental estrogens, eat a diet high in fiber, which prevents excess estrogen from being absorbed, and go for produce without pesticides and hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat and dairy when possible.

If you’re still wondering, Why is my period so damn long? Dr. Maita recommends downloading a period-tracking app so you’re aware of what’s normal for you. If you spot anything off, it’s most likely not a serious problem, but it still can’t hurt to get it checked out. Even if there’s no underlying issue, the blood loss can leads to anemia or exhaustion, says Dr. Ross, so it’s important to make whatever adjustments are necessary.

These 6 Facts May Affect How Long A Period Lasts

Burgess Powell|03 October, 2019

How long does a period last and what is considered normal? Keeping track of your menstrual flow and cycle can help you better understand your symptoms, ovulation, and if and when youre experiencing an irregular cycle. Answering, how long does a period last, varies between women based on genetics, birth control, age, personal menstrual cycle, and much more. Before we get started, here are a few takeaways:

Disclaimer: You know your body best. The following is not medical advice. If you believe youre experiencing irregularities, please contact your physician.

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How To Regulate Your Period

Many women prefer to regulate their menstrual cycle. Doctors may even recommend it for women whose periods are consistently irregular.

Regulating the menstrual cycle focuses on strategies and treatments to ensure that a womans period comes within a set frame of time and lasts for a time frame between the normal two to eight days.

The most common way to regulate your menstrual cycle is through birth control pills, or other similar hormonal contraceptives like the patch or the NuvaRing. Some of these contraceptive methods will trigger a womans period once a month, while others may only give her a period once every three or six months.

Other methods of regulating the menstrual cycle could involve treatment for eating disorders that are causing severe weight loss, or modifying diet and lifestyle. If youre able to reduce stress, that could also reduce irregularity of your period, too.

While every woman is a little different and her normal will be unique, there are symptoms that indicate its a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider. These symptoms include:

If you suddenly get a fever and experience flu-like symptoms after using tampons, seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms could indicate a dangerous complication called toxic shock syndrome.

Youre Taking Certain Medications


Medications such as anti-inflammatories, aspirin, or other blood thinners can also affect your menstrual cycle, says Dr. Horton.

Aspirin and blood thinners prevent blood clots but can increase the flow of your period, she explains. These medications can thin the blood so much that it causes your menstrual cycle to be heavy and last longer than usual.

As such, it is important to take medicines as directed and if your period becomes heavier or prolonged, to contact your doctor, says Dr. Horton. You may need blood work to determine if you are taking too much medicine, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories may be used to treat your heavy and prolonged periods.

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How Can I Keep Track Of My Menstrual Cycle

You can keep track of your menstrual cycle by marking the day you start your period on a calendar. After a few months, you can begin to see if your periods are regular or if your cycles are different each month.

You may want to track:

  • Premenstrual syndrome symptoms: Did you have cramping, headaches, moodiness, forgetfulness, bloating, or breast tenderness?
  • When your bleeding begins: Was it earlier or later than expected?
  • How heavy the bleeding was on your heaviest days: Was the bleeding heavier or lighter than usual? How many pads or tampons did you use?
  • Period symptoms: Did you have pain or bleeding on any days that caused you to miss work or school?
  • How many days your period lasted: Was your period shorter or longer than the month before?

You can also download apps for your phone to track your periods. Some include features to track your PMS symptoms, energy and activity levels, and more.

What Can Affect How Long Your Period Lasts

There are a number of different factors that affect your cycle. As you get older, for example, your period will get lighter and become more regular.

Using a new contraceptive, including birth control pills, vaginal rings, and IUDs, can make you irregular at first. Many birth control methods can cause long, symptomatic periods for the first one to three months after you start taking them, but these even out over time.

Other factors that can make you irregular, or cause changes to your menstrual cycle, include:

  • extreme weight loss
  • infections to the reproductive organs, like pelvic inflammatory disease
  • conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • increased stress

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Youre Experiencing An Ectopic Pregnancy

An unusually heavy period can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy , says Dr. Horton. Taking a pregnancy test can help you figure out if that’s what’s going on.

If you have a positive pregnancy test and have pain and vaginal bleeding, you should be evaluated, she says. Your doctor will get blood work and a pelvic ultrasound to see where the pregnancy is located and, if it is ectopic, treat it with medicine or surgery. Unfortunately, it’s not safe for a mother to carry an ectopic pregnancy.

Can You Get Pregnant On Your Period

Normal Menstruation: How Long Should Your Period Last?

You can get pregnant on your period, just as you can get pregnant at any time of the month if you have unprotected sex. You can also get pregnant if you have never had a period before, during your first period or after the first time you have sex. The changes of getting pregnant on your period are increased if your menstrual cycle is less than 28 days, as your ovulation day is closer to your period.

Also Check: Can You Get Period Cramps While Pregnant

You Have Uterine Polyps Or Fibroids

“Uterine abnormalities, such as polyps or fibroids, can cause prolonged periods because they distort the endometrial cavity which can lead to increased blood flow,” Dr. Toth explains. Basically, your body senses something in your uterus that isn’t supposed to be there, and tries extra hard to get rid of it.

Polyps and fibroids sound scary, but they’re pretty commonup to 80 percent of women will have at least one before they’re 50, per the OWH. On their own, they don’t indicate a serious disease, like cancer. Important to note: Black women are two to three times more likely to have fibroids than white women, and the reasons for their increased risk are not well understood or well studied due to lack of representation of Black women in research, notes Dr. Horton. Black women are also more likely to be hospitalized due to fibroids due to heavy, prolonged vaginal bleeding, pain, and symptoms from anemia.

But for many people, these benign growths don’t have any symptoms, and if they do, it’s usually prolonged periods, says Dr. Toth. Most likely your doc will just recommend keeping an eye on them, but if they cause pain or grow very large they can be surgically removed.

What Is Toxic Shock Syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but sometimes deadly condition caused by bacteria that make toxins or poisons. In 1980, 63 women died from TSS. A certain brand of super absorbency tampons was said to be the cause. These tampons were taken off the market.

Today, most cases of TSS are not caused by using tampons. But, you could be at risk for TSS if you use more absorbent tampons than you need for your bleeding or if you do not change your tampon often enough . Menstrual cups, cervical caps, sponges, or diaphragms may also increase your risk for TSS if they are left in place for too long . Remove sponges within 30 hours and cervical caps within 48 hours.9

If you have any symptoms of TSS, take out the tampon, menstrual cup, sponge, or diaphragm, and call 911 or go to the hospital right away.

Symptoms of TSS include:10

  • Sudden high fever

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Can You Remain Positive For Covid

Whether patients continue to have symptoms or not, sometimes COVID-19 sticks around longer than expected this is known as viral persistence. Viral persistence affects how long someone is contagious and, therefore, how long they should stay in isolation. Scientists are still trying to figure out why that happens in some patients, how it varies by individual, and exactly how long the virus stays alive inside the body.

“Viral clearance is the disappearance of an infecting virus, either in response to a therapeutic agent or as a result of the body’s immune response,” Charles Bailey, MD, medical director of infection prevention at St. Joseph Hospital and Mission Hospital in Orange County, California, told Health. “This implies recovery from infection and lack of ongoing contagiousness. On the other hand, viral persistence is the continued presence of a virus, usually within specific types of cells, after resolution of symptoms of the acute viral infection.”

Viral persistence is seen in HIV/AIDS, chronic hepatitis, chickenpox/shingles and herpes simplex, and Epstein-Barr virus infections. While they are not typically a characteristic of acute respiratory infections such as COVID-19, persistent SARS-CoV-2 infections occur in some people, according to research.

You’re Super Stressed Out

How Long Does your Period Last? Dr. Burns and Jonna Piira

Stress can affect your menstrual cycle in pretty much every way possible. It can sometimes lead your period to stop altogether. But other times, it can make your period longer or heavier or lead to mid-cycle bleeding. If you’ve noticed any changes in your period during a breakup, the death of a loved one, or another stressful event, talking to a mental health professional may be helpful.

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What Age Do Girls Get Their First Period

Girls generally get their first period around the age of 10 – 12, although it can happen as early as 8. A sign that you will begin your periods soon is the growth of underarm and pubic hair, and periods will typically begin 2 years after breasts begin to grow and 1 year after the appearance of white vaginal discharge.

What Is Menstruation

Menstruation is the monthly process during which a womans body prepares itself for the possibility of pregnancy.

When most women ask, how long does a period last, they are referencing the number of days a month when they bleed, rather than the menstrual cycle on a whole. However, its important for women to understand this biological process holistically.

During this process, the ovaries will release an egg. If that egg is not fertilized, the uterine liningalso called the endometriumwill shed through the vagina. The blood and lining that is discharged through the cervix and vagina is your menstrual cycle.

Keep in mind that the first day of bleeding is typically the first day of your menstrual cycle. If you’re wondering, can you get pregnant on your period, check out our guide.

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What Causes Longer

During a regularmenstrual cycle, your levels of estrogen and progesterone rise and fall in a relatively consistent pattern. However, while in perimenopause, your hormones dont follow a set pattern and your ovaries produce erratic and unpredictable perimenopause periods.

When youre about to enter menopause, youll ovulate less frequently, creating one of two possible scenarios. In the first scenario, your ovary doesnt release an egg, and the lining of the uterus doesnt shed, which causes a missed period.

In the second scenario, the lining of your uterus has grown extra thick and requires more time to shed. The excessive buildup of tissue means longer periods and intense menstrual flow.

Gradually, however, your periods will become less frequent and eventually stop altogether. Experts consider the transition to menopause complete once a woman has gone without having a period for at least 12 consecutive months.

Several uterine conditions become more prevalent during the perimenopausal phase. Be sure to pay close attention to any abnormal symptoms such as:

Have you noticed your menstrual symptoms growing more pronounced and uncomfortable during perimenopause? Consider the following remedies:

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy is capable of reducing bleeding, shortening periods, and alleviating PMS by hindering the buildup of your uterine lining.

Over-the-counter pain relievers

Intrauterine Device


Quality products

When To Seek Help

How long should your period last?

Dont ignore a long period. Its important to see your doctor to discuss why you might be experiencing this symptom. Delaying your diagnosis and treatment could lead to a worsening of the underlying condition responsible for the extended bleeding.

You may want to seek immediate care with a long period if you spike a fever or are losing an abnormally heavy amount of blood or large blood clots. A sign that youre losing a lot of blood is if you need to change a pad or tampon one to two times per hour for several hours. You may also begin to feel lightheaded if youre losing a lot of blood.

There are many causes for a long period, so your doctor will likely begin your appointment by asking you some questions. These may include:

  • when your period started
  • how many pads and tampons youve used in the last day
  • your sexual activity

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Factors That Can Affect Your Periods Length

Factors like biology, stress, and travel can affect when your period comes and the number of days it lasts. They can also have an impact on the amount of bleeding and severity of cramps that you experience.

Your age can affect the amount of hormones in your body for example, as we get older, we produce less estrogen. This can lead to a lighter and shorter period. However, if a woman has a polyp or fibroid in her uterus, she may experience heavier bleeding for a longer number of days.

Could You Be Pregnant

If you missed your period, answer these 4 questions:

  • Am I trying to get pregnant?
  • Have I had sex during my fertile days?
  • Have I not used contraception?
  • Did I ovulate?
  • If you answered “yes” to all questions, there is a high chance that you are pregnant. But only a positive pregnancy test will confirm your suspicion.

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