Remember: Everyones Cycle Is Different
No two menstrual cycles are exactly the same. Some periods can last one day while others last a week, and the time in between periods can vary too.
The average cycle lasts 28 days however, this doesnt mean that something is wrong if yours doesnt last that long.
Cycles can range in length from around 21 days to as long as 35 days.
Cycles shorter than 21 days typically signal that ovulation may have occurred earlier than normal or not at all.
Cycles longer than 35 days indicate that ovulation isnt occurring or its occurring irregularly.
A period thats longer than 7 days can also signal that ovulation hasnt occurred.
Now that you know the basics, youre probably wondering whats causing your period to be longer than usual. There are many different plausible causes, and theyre typically manageable.
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.
When Do You Call Your Healthcare Provider If You Suspect Heavy Period Bleeding
You should call your provider if you’re experiencing the symptoms of heavy menstrual bleeding or anemia, or if your period bleeding has become abnormal. Tracking your periods using a calendar or app can help you identify if your periods are heavier and longer-lasting than usual. Share these notes with your provider.
You should also schedule an appointment if you notice that you’re having to double-up on menstrual products or if you’re skipping activities you enjoy because of heavy bleeding.
Can heavy menstrual bleeding be life-threatening?
Heavy periods arent usually life-threatening, but they can be if you lose too much blood. Bleeding through two or more tampons or pads each hour for two hours in a row is a sign that you should see your provider or seek emergency care immediately.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Just because heavy periods are common doesn’t mean that you have to learn to live with the discomfort they cause. If managing your blood flow is getting in the way of your emotional and physical well-being, speak with your provider. They can provide a care path that will provide relief.
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What Is A Menstrual Cycle
Hint, it is more than just your period. The menstrual cycle is a series of changes a womans body goes through each month whereby the ovary releases an egg and the uterus prepares for pregnancy. The cycle can be divided into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
The first day of your menses or period is day 1 of your cycle and the start of the follicular phase. During this phase, follicle stimulating hormone , is released from the brain to stimulate the development of a single dominant follicle which contains one egg. During its maturation, the follicle releases estrogen which stimulates growth and thickening of the uterine lining. The follicular phase concludes at the start of ovulation the process of releasing a mature egg from the dominant follicle. The length of the follicular phase is variable between individuals, resulting in most variations of total cycle length.
The luteal phase starts after ovulation and continues until the onset of the next menses. During this phase, the ovary releases progesterone which changes the uterine lining and opens the window of implantation the time during which the embryo can attach to the uterus. If pregnancy does not occur, the progesterone level drops and bleeding occurs. The luteal phase is usually between 12-14 days.
Do Transgender Guys Get A Period
Not everybody who gets a period identifies as a girl or woman. Transgender men and genderqueer people who have uteruses, vaginas, fallopian tubes, and ovaries also get their periods.
Having a period can be a stressful experience for some trans folks because it’s a reminder that their bodies dont match their true gender identity this discomfort and anxiety is sometimes called gender dysphoria. Other trans people might not be too bothered by their periods. Either reaction is normal and okay.
Sometimes trans people who havent reached puberty yet take hormones to prevent all of the gendered body changes that happen during puberty, including periods. And people who already get periods can use certain types of birth control that help lighten or stop their periods. Hormone replacement therapy, like taking testosterone, may also stop your period.
If you start taking testosterone, your period will go away. But this is reversible if you stop taking testosterone, your period will come back. There can be some changes in your menstrual cycle before it stops for good. Periods get lighter and shorter over time, or come when you dont expect it. You may have spotting or cramping every once in a while until you stop getting your period, and sometimes even after it seems to have stopped this is normal. Testosterone injections make your periods go away faster than testosterone cream.
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Is There Any Way To Regular Long Periods
The best way to deal with heavy bleeding is to see a doctor. Not only may a medical professional have a much deeper understanding of the female body, but they also may have the ability to better understand long periods with tests, biopsies, family history, as well as questions answered by the patient.
A doctor may also be able to treat a long period’s underlying cause, if it is medical. If it is menorrhagia, meaning that bleeding is not associated with a separate condition, a doctor may recommend prescribing hormonal birth control, such as an IUD, birth control pill, vaginal ring, or shot.
In addition to birth control, a doctor may suggest assuaging symptoms such as cramps or discomfort with an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or Advil.
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Period Length And Perimenopause
In the years leading up to menopause, many women experience changes in their period flow and cycle length. This time of transition is called perimenopause. It can last a year or two or several years.
If youre in your 40s or 50s and your periods are suddenly unpredictable, perimenopause may be the reason. But play it safe and ask your doctor about any changes you notice.
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It Could Be Due To Pcos
PCOS or Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the main culprits behind almost every menstrual irregularity including prolonged periods. This is a condition where several cysts are developed inside the ovary of women that leads to hormonal imbalance. Due to this hormonal imbalance, your body doesnt get a proper signal to produce the right amount of eggs and relies at the right time.
It can be from the beginning. Even, some women with PCOS will have periods after a gap of three months as well. If you have high body weight, excessive hair growth and thyroid issues with your prolonged periods then chances are high that PCOS is the culprit. You need to take proper medical help for proper diagnosis and remedy.
You Have Suddenly Put On Some Body Weight
The body weight of a woman plays an important role in her menstrual cycle. Women with low body weight may experience delayed or fewer periods. However, with the sudden rise in the body weight the odds are high that you will have periods that last more than 3 weeks. High body fat increases the estrogen level in the body. Estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle at multiple levels. Higher levels of estrogen can lead to heavy and longer periods.
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How Does Ovulation Relate To Periods
Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries. The same hormones that cause the uterus lining to build up also cause an egg to leave one of the ovaries. The egg travels through a thin tube called a fallopian tube to the uterus.
If the egg is fertilized by a sperm cell, it attaches to the wall of the uterus, where over time it develops into a baby. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterus lining breaks down and bleeds, causing a period.
Youre Actually Pregnant And Have Placenta Previa
This type of heavy vaginal bleeding is actually unrelated to a period, though you might think it is one if you don’t yet know you’re pregnant. Placenta previa is a condition that happens during pregnancy where the placenta covers the cervix, explains Dr. Horton.
Patients will usually have heavy vaginal bleeding throughout their pregnancy and will need to deliver their baby by C-section. Take a pregnancy test and see your doctor to figure out the best treatment method.
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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.
How Is Heavy Menstrual Bleeding Treated
Treatment depends on what’s causing your bleeding, how severe your bleeding is, your health, age and medical history. Also, treatment depends on your response to certain medicines and your preferences. For instance, you may not want to have a period at all, or you may want to reduce your bleeding. In addition, your plans to get pregnant will affect your treatment options.
Talk with your provider about your health concerns and your goals for treatment.
Medications used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding
- Iron supplements improve your iron stores.
- Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs like Ibuprofen® or Aspirin® can ease your cramps and reduce your bleeding.
- Birth control may help make your periods more regular and lighten your blood flow.
- Hormone therapy can help balance the amount of estrogen and progesterone in your body so that your menstrual flow isn’t as heavy. HT is often recommended for heavy menstrual bleeding associated with perimenopause but comes with risks that you should discuss with your provider.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists can temporarily stop or reduce bleeding by preventing ovulation.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists can manage heavy period bleeding related to fibroids.
- Desmopressin nasal spray can stop bleeding associated with von Willebrand disease by helping your blood clot.
- Antifibrinolytic medicines, like tranexamic acid, prevent clots from breaking down and causing excessive bleeding.
Procedures used to treat heavy period bleeding
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When To See A Gp
You don’t need to get medical advice if you have always had slightly irregular periods or you’re still going through puberty.
But see a GP if:
- your periods suddenly become irregular and you’re under 45
- you have periods more often than every 21 days or less often than every 35 days
- your periods last longer than 7 days
- there’s a big difference between your shortest and longest menstrual cycle
- you have irregular periods and you’re struggling to get pregnant
There might not be anything wrong, but it’s a good idea to get checked out to see what the cause might be.
You might be referred to a specialist called a gynaecologist if you need any tests or treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hemophilia
The extent of your symptoms depends on the severity of your factor deficiency. People with a mild deficiency may bleed in the case of trauma. People with a severe deficiency may bleed for no reason. This is called spontaneous bleeding. In children with hemophilia, these symptoms may occur around age 2.
Spontaneous bleeding can cause the following:
- blood in the urine
- extreme sleepiness
- continuous bleeding from an injury
If youre pregnant, its important that you see a doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms.
If youre experiencing a medical emergency, you should seek emergency medical care through a local hospital. For follow-up care and condition management, you can connect to a primary care doctor in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.
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What Causes A Period
A period happens because of changes in in the body. Hormones are chemical messengers. The ovaries release the female hormones and . These hormones cause the lining of the uterus to build up. The built-up lining is ready for a fertilized egg to attach to and start developing. If there is no fertilized egg, the lining breaks down and bleeds. Then the same process happens all over again.
It usually takes about a month for the lining to build up, then break down. That is why most girls and women get their periods around once a month.
What Are The Signs Of Implantation
Implantation is the process when an embryo attaches itself to the uterine lining. It doesnt always cause symptoms. However, some people report feeling light cramping, headaches, and mood swings around the time of implantation. Implantation bleeding can occur around the date when you expect your period, but its usually lighter and only causes pink or brown spotting or discharge.
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Long Periods & The Menstrual Cycle
Menstruation, whether in the form of a normal or long period, is only part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is the process during which a woman’s ovaries produce eggs, release those eggs, and, in the absence of fertilization , results in a period approximately once a month. In other words, there’s a lot going on within the body before, after and during menstruation, much of which varies depending on the cycle and the person.
Why Is My Period Lasting So Long
Having a long, slow period is not uncommon in perimenopause. Because of fluctuating hormones, you may have some months where your period is perfectly normal, but others where you have a period lasting 8 days.
According to Dr. Wulf H. Utian, a women’s health expert: “You may go months with a normal period, or months with one that’s so heavy you can’t leave the house … You may find your period comes every 28 days or every 45 days. There just doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it.”
A lengthy period is nothing to be concerned about periods lasting 3 weeks have been reported by perimenopausal women, and it’s perfectly normal. Spotting, missed periods, light periods, and heavier periods are all common changes that occur to women’s cycles as they enter menopause.
Though having long lasting periods is common, it could also be a sign of other health concerns, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you’re concerned about your extra long menstrual cycle.
Other causes of irregular periods include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
It’s a good idea to mention your lengthy period to your doctor in case one of these issues are to blame.
You may find that lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, may help your irregular periods. If lifestyle changes don’t help, medications and surgery may be discussed. Once you enter menopause, your period will stop altogether and these menacing symptoms will cease.
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