You’re Super Stressed Out
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.
Your Period Has Slowed Or Stopped
The big question if you’re not getting your period is — how old are you?
The cause of a missing menstrual period varies by age. “To quit having periods at age 25 is a significantly different issue than quitting at age 50,” Loffer says.
For a woman in their 20s or 30s who is sexually active, pregnancy is always a possibility. “Even if a woman thinks she’s protected, that’s not an absolute guarantee,” Loffer says.
On the other hand, women in their 40s or 50s could be in perimenopause — the period surrounding menopause. As your ovaries slow their estrogen production, periods become less frequent. Periods also can get shorter or lighter during perimenopause. Once your periods stop for a full 12 months in a row, you’re in menopause. The average age for menopause is 51.
Another possible cause of missed periods is excessive exercise. Anywhere from 5% to 25% of female athletes work out so hard that they stop getting their periods. Called exercise-induced amenorrhea, this phenomenon is particularly common among ballet dancers and runners. Intense exercise affects the production and regulation of reproductive hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.
For similar reasons, women who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa can also stop getting their period. Severely restricting the amount of calories you eat suppresses the release of hormones your body needs for ovulation.
Other possible causes of missed periods include:
What Causes A Long Period 11 Possibilities
There are many conditions that may contribute to a long period. These may include the following developments:
Beyond that, extreme exercise and weight loss, breastfeeding, Premature ovarian failure and Polycystic ovary syndrome may be linked to shorter or missed menstruation rather than long periods. If you believe you’re at risk for any of these conditions, please speak with your medical professional.
Additionally, it is extremely important that someone who may be suffering from heavy periods or discharging a large amount of blood/blood clots see their doctor. Fever and lightheadedness are also symptoms that may accompany abnormally heavy or long periods.
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Is There Such A Thing As A Normal Period
Not really. The average woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days long, and the average period lasts for three to five days, but there can be huge menstrual cycle variations from woman to woman.
“Three days is normal for some women, seven days is normal for others,” says Franklin Loffer, MD, executive vice president and medical director of AAGL . Similarly, the normal period flow can be heavier in some women than in others.
Rather than worrying about the length or frequency of your period, you need to consider whether anything has changed.
“A woman should really be tracking her own menstrual cycle, because it provides huge numbers of clues about whether something’s not right,” says Frances Ginsburg, MD, director of reproductive endocrinology at Stamford Hospital in Stamford, Conn., and assistant professor of clinical obstetrics/gynecology in the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Here are some common menstrual period changes, and what they might mean.
When Do Periods Stop
Your periods will continue until you reach the menopause, which usually happens when you are in your late 40s to mid-50s. In the UK the average age of menopause is 51.
Your periods may start to become less frequent over a few months or years before stopping altogether. In some cases they can stop suddenly.
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What Are Possible Complications From A Long Period
Delaying a diagnosis could result in a more invasive procedure or intensive treatment for the underlying cause.
Additionally, if your long period causes heavier blood loss, you could be at risk of developing anemia. This may contribute to feelings of tiredness and weakness.
Your doctor can use results from a blood test to diagnose anemia. If your iron levels are low, your doctor may recommend boosting your diet with iron-rich foods and a possible iron supplement to get your levels back to normal.
Long periods may also be painful and interfere with your well-being and quality of life. You may miss days of school or work, or withdraw from activities you enjoy because of your long period.
You Have An Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroidalso known as hyperthyroidismbegins producing too many thyroid hormones, which can cause serious issues for your heart, blood pressure, muscles, and more. Abnormally light periods and missing periods are also a symptom of hyperthyroidism. If youre experiencing some of the other symptoms of an overactive thyroid, make an appointment to see your doctor.
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Is It Normal To Have Cramps Before Your Period
Pregnancy cramps are very mild and due to implantation. You can quickly confirm pregnancy by its early symptoms. Very common pregnancy symptoms are fatigue, body weakness, feeling like vomiting and light bleeding before your period. Bonus Tip: You may be pregnant without knowing.
Having increased emotions before period is a sign your period is coming soon. Mood changes that occur after ovulation is a sign your period will start soon. If you are persistently having mood changes throughout your menstrual cycle, then it may be due to other causes. You should inform your doctor.
My Period Came Early Am I Normal
Your menstrual cycle started too early, too late. There’s too much, too littleit’s irregular. Women’s health expert Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones describes the conditions of a “normal” period, what’s not normal, and when you may need to see a physician.
Dr. Jones, so I don’t think my period is normal. Let me explain…
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How Much Bleeding Is Too Much
Heavy menstrual bleeding is characterized by experiencing any of the following:
- Bleeding that lasts more than 7 days.
- Bleeding that soaks through one or more tampons or pads every hour for several hours in a row.
- Needing to wear more than one pad at a time to control menstrual flow.
- Needing to change pads or tampons during the night.
- Menstrual flow with blood clots that are as big as a quarter or larger.
You can learn about the causes of HMB here.
If you are concerned about your menstrual bleeding, or other bleeding tendencies, you can use the self-administered bleeding assessment tool available at the Lets Talk Period website . This tool is designed to evaluate menstrual and other bleeding tendencies and tell you if you should be screened for a bleeding disorder.
Hormone And Ovulation Changes
Changes to your hormones or ovulation may cause a long period. You may notice hormonal changes when you first get your period during puberty or in perimenopause. You may also experience a hormonal imbalance from different health conditions, such as thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome.
If your hormones arent at a normal level or if your body doesnt ovulate during your menstrual cycle, the uterine lining can become very thick. When your body finally sheds the lining, you may experience a period thats longer than normal.
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Is It Normal To Have Longer And Heavier Periods During Perimenopause
Excessive bleeding and long periods are fairly common during perimenopause. Many women experience an increased flow and extended perimenopause periods before entering menopause.
In fact, one in four women say that their periods are heavy enough to interfere with day-to-day activities, such as going to work or attending social events. According to University of Michigan researchers, 91 percent of women aged 4252 surveyed reported heavy menstruation for 10 or more days during their transition to menopause. This phenomenon occurred one to three times within a three-year period.
There are various other health factors which come into play, including body mass index , use of hormones, and the presence of uterine fibroids.
What Is Best Treatment For Fibroids
For women who have fibroid symptoms and want to have children in the future, myomectomy is the best treatment option. Myomectomy is very effective, but fibroids can re-grow. The younger you are and the more fibroids you have at the time of myomectomy, the more likely you are to develop fibroids again in the future.
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Why Do You Bleed More With Fibroids
Uterine fibroids may put pressure against the uterine lining, which can cause more bleeding than usual. The uterus may not contract properly, which means it cant stop the bleeding. Fibroids may stimulate the growth of blood vessels, which contributes to heavier or irregular periods and spotting between periods.
When To See A Doctor
If your period lasts longer than a week, consider calling a doctor for advice. Depending on your symptoms, they may suggest setting up an in-person appointment for a physical exam.
On the other hand, if you think youre showing symptoms of a rare cause or if youre pregnant, see a doctor immediately.
If you experience severe heavy bleeding and youre soaking through four or more pads and tampons in a 2-hour period, go to an emergency room right away.
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Reasons Your Period Is Heavier Than Usual
From no-biggie birth control changes to serious medical problems.
When it comes to menstruation, not all periods are created equal. Any Mean Girls fan knows that some women just have a heavy flow and wide-set vagina! And while you shouldnt worry if you typically use super tampons while your friends always grabbing the light ones, something might be up if your flow has dramatically changed and is now heavier than it usually is.
Women are definitely aware of whats normal for them, says ob-gyn Jennifer Ashton, M.D. If one of my patients is experiencing something irregular and it happens three months in a row, I like to see her.
From no-biggie birth control changes to serious medical problems, here are seven reasons why you might be bleeding more than usual.
Considering that hormonal birth-control pills often regulate and lessen periodsin fact, some doctors prescribe it specifically to lighten up heavy flowsit makes sense that if you switch to a non-hormonal pill or stop taking oral contraception completely, youre going to be going through your tampons faster. And although IUDs like Mirena also lighten periods, Ashton says that non-hormonal IUDs tend to cause heavier periods in most women. While this is generally normal, see a healthcare professional if your heavy bleeding continues three months after insertion.
When Should You See A Healthcare Professional For A Long Menstrual Period
If you have a long period for only one month, theres probably no need to worry. But if you notice a change for two or three cycles, thats the time to seek out your doctor, Thielen says.
Any significant bleeding between periods without an explanation such as a recently placed IUD should be evaluated. And a woman past menopause should have no bleeding at all and so should see her doctor immediately if she does.
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The Source Of The Issue
Long periods can be the result of a variety of factors such as health conditions, your age and your lifestyle.
Underlying health conditions that can cause long periods include uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, adenomyosis, or more rarely, a precancerous or cancerous lesion of the uterus. A long period can also result from hormonal imbalances or a bleeding disorder.
Many women struggle with long and heavy periods for years without knowing there are ways to manage and improve their symptoms. I encourage all patients to seek out medical care if they have questions about their menstrual cycle or other gynecologic issues.
The first step to managing long periods due to a specific condition is to treat it. This can include things like removing an endometrial polyp or correcting hypothyroidism. Hormonal contraceptives are commonly used to help regulate abnormal cycles resulting from a wide variety of causes. Most of these methods take three to six months before youll notice some improvement.
What If My Period Is Irregular
Its really common to have irregular menstrual cycles at some point in your life especially when you first start getting your period.
Examples of irregular periods include:
Missing a period altogether
Heavier or lighter bleeding than usual
Bleeding longer than usual
Unpredictable timing of periods from month to month
Keeping track of your periods and symptoms on a menstrual cycle calendar or in an app is a good way to learn whats normal for your body, and help you know if anything changes.
Some peoples periods are irregular a lot. It may just be the way their body naturally works, or it can be caused by a health problem. If many of your periods are irregular, unpredictable, or abnormal, talk with a doctor to make sure everythings okay. They can also help you find a hormonal birth control method that may help make your period lighter and/or more regular.
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Can Pcos Cause Large Blood Clots
PCOS can also cause heavy, fast-flowing periods, and sometimes, they come with large blood clots. As the uterus sheds its lining, the anticoagulants that the body releases to keep blood from clotting cannot keep up with the quick pace of bleeding, so blood clots are passed during menstruation.
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Yes, this includes infections of the sexually transmitted variety. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, or any infection on the lining of the uterus can cause heavy bleeding, Wysocki says. So if you have been having unprotected sex and are noticing unusual menstruation, its a good idea to see a doctor ASAP. If you do have an STD, there are many medications that can help you out.
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Why Do I Have Period For 2 Weeks
A normal period is between 2 days and a week. If your period lasts more than a week, then its abnormal. Also, if you continue to see your periods for two weeks, then it is prolonged. Inform your doctor. Common causes of prolonged bleeding depend on your age. A uterine fibroid is common in young women while endometrial hyperplasia and cancer are common in older women.