Feel like every period hits a little differently? You’re not alone. In a study, 72% of women reported that their PMS symptoms fluctuate in intensity throughout a single year.
Your menstrual cycle can say a lot about your health, so this month we’re talking about what deviations are “normal”, what can cause irregularities, and what might need some extra attention.
The menstrual cycle, aka the time between the first day of your period and the day before the next one starts, can range from 21 to 35 days and your flow can last anywhere from two to seven days. Flows that fully soak through 6 to 12 regular pads or tampons over the course of the entire period is considered normal. For our menstrual cup babes, normal flows can range from five to 25 mL of blood per day.
It’s important to know your normal by keeping track of your cycles, especially if you’re concerned about any anomalies. Track the following information for a few months to get a good understanding of your cycle:
- Flow start and end dates
- Flow heaviness on each day & how often you need to change your tampon, pad, or cup
- Size, number, and color of blood clots
- Frequency and heaviness of abnormal bleeding or spotting in between periods
- Symptom intensity and occurrence
Tracking your periods will help your doctor know when you’re ovulating (most likely to get pregnant) and when you can expect your next period.
Irregularities in your cycle length and the intensity of symptoms can be caused by intense exercise, diet, stress, sudden weight change, hormonal shifts from birth control or the morning-after pill, and even jet-lag. Other irregularities and severe symptoms can be caused by medical conditions that can overlap with pre-period hormone changes. These conditions deserve their own spotlight, so they’re getting their own blog (stay tuned!).
So what justifies a doctor’s appointment?
- Missing more than three periods in a row (when not on hormonal birth control)
- Bleeding for more than seven days
- Chronically heavy bleeding (consistently losing more than 25 mL of blood per day, approx. six or more pads/tampons per day)
- Excessive bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain that occurs outside of PMS and period
- Severe pain that cannot be treated (with FLO or over-the-counter medication) and causes you to miss regular activities
If you notice anything else abnormal about your cycle or health, take note of it. We always recommend advocating for your health and consulting a medical professional when needed.
FLO has empowered thousands of women to alleviate their PMS and join a community to discuss all things PMS, periods, and overall well-being. Learn more about FLO and what its ingredients can do for you here.