Is my period nor­mal? Many men­stru­at­ing people ask them­selves this ques­tion. And we have the answers for you!  But giv­ing a simple black-and-white answer is not that easy. Because the length, heav­i­ness or reg­u­lar­ity of men­stru­ation var­ies from per­son to per­son. So every period is dif­fer­ent and is exper­i­enced indi­vidu­ally. Nev­er­the­less, there are some aspects that typ­ic­ally char­ac­ter­ize a healthy period and we will have a look at dif­fer­ent men­strual irreg­u­lar­it­ies together. Here you will find the answers to five ques­tions that you have prob­ably asked your­self sev­eral times before.

1. How often should I get my period?

The irreg­u­lar­ity of the men­strual rhythm is dif­fer­en­ti­ated between men­stru­ation that occurs too often and men­stru­ation that hap­pens too infre­quent. Men­strual cycles that last less than 24 or more than 35 days are called irreg­u­lar cycles. If men­stru­ation fails to occur for three months or more, this is called sec­ond­ary amen­or­rhoea. Peri­ods that are too sel­dom are called oli­gomen­or­rhoea. The men­strual cycle is too long if it is longer than 35 days (max­imum 90). Oli­gomen­or­rhoea occurs mainly after men­arche or before men­o­pause due to changes in the hor­monal bal­ance and is nor­mal dur­ing this time. Too fre­quent men­stru­ation, on the other hand, is called poly­men­or­rhoea. This is the case when the total cycle is less than 24 days. Espe­cially if you have not had your men­stru­ation for too long, it is nor­mal that it is rather irreg­u­lar. But dis­eases can also be the reason for irreg­u­lar bleed­ing. To be on the safe side, you should dis­cuss your fluc­tu­ations in your cycle with your gynaecologist.

2. How long will my period last?

The monthly bleed­ing usu­ally lasts between three and seven days. The heav­i­ness of the men­strual flow changes dur­ing your men­stru­ation from rather heav­ier at the begin­ning to lighter bleed­ing at the end. Some­times the period before or after is also accom­pan­ied by slight spot­ting, but this is no longer coun­ted as part of the actual men­stru­ation. The dur­a­tion of bleed­ing is influ­enced by vari­ous factors, such as hor­mones, stress or age.

3. Can I bleed in between periods?

Weak bleed­ing that occurs between two peri­ods is called spot­ting or inter­mit­tent bleed­ing. They are a form of cycle dis­order. Regard­less of the actual men­stru­ation, spot­ting can start at any time and is nor­mal. It is often an unex­pec­ted brown­ish dis­charge that can last one to three days. The cause is usu­ally a hor­monal change. If the bleed­ing occurs at the time of ovu­la­tion, it is also referred to as ovu­lat­ory bleed­ing. Light bleed­ing shortly before or right after the actual men­stru­ation is called spotting.

4. How much blood is actu­ally too much or too little?

The irreg­u­lar­ity of the bleed­ing rhythm is dif­fer­en­ti­ated between a too strong and too light men­stru­ation. Excess­ive men­stru­ation is called hyper­men­or­rhoea. It is char­ac­ter­ised by increased blood loss dur­ing men­stru­ation. This is the case when the blood loss per men­stru­ation is more than 80ml. Men­stru­ation that is too light, on the other hand, is called hypo­men­or­rhoea. It is char­ac­ter­ised by a weak and short men­strual bleed­ing. This is the case when the blood loss per men­stru­ation is less than 25ml. Do you change your tam­pon or san­it­ary towel less fre­quently than every two hours? Then everything is prob­ably nor­mal. If you use a men­strual cup, you can check the amount of men­strual blood quite eas­ily. This is because men­strual cups usu­ally have a capa­city of up to 30ml and small ml-lines on the side.

5. What kind of men­strual pain is normal?

Mild dis­com­fort or pain that occurs before, dur­ing or after men­stru­ation is nor­mal for many men­stru­at­ing people. These include cramps, nausea, head­aches, a feel­ing of ten­sion in the breasts or gen­eral dis­com­fort. If the symp­toms are more severe and you are there­fore lim­ited in your every­day life, they can be a form of cycle dis­order. Pain­ful or dif­fi­cult peri­ods are called dys­men­or­rhoea. Com­plaints and mood swings a few days before men­stru­ation begins are known as pre­men­strual syn­drome (PMS). Pain that can occur at the time of ovu­la­tion and is usu­ally loc­al­ised on one side of the lower abdo­men is called middle pain. Endo­met­ri­osis is a chronic, very pain­ful and dif­fi­cult to treat dis­ease of people with a uterus. Out­side the uter­ine, uncon­trolled growths of the uter­ine lin­ing form. The causes for the devel­op­ment of the dis­ease are still unknown and often it takes years until a dia­gnosis is made. This is to be changed through a peti­tion in Ger­many.

So, is your period normal?

If you track your men­strual cycle and write down dif­fer­ent dates, you will have a bet­ter over­view and notice changes in your cycle or period imme­di­ately. Are you ask­ing your­self when you should dis­cuss your men­strual prob­lems with your gyn­ae­co­lo­gist? Ideally dur­ing your reg­u­lar check-ups. And if your period is par­tic­u­larly heavy, long or irreg­u­lar and you feel insec­ure, don’t make a quick google search. Bet­ter make an addi­tional gyn­ae­co­lo­gist appoint­ment and get a proper check-up and some qual­ity advice.

Are you curi­ous to try free bleed­ing and exper­i­ence your period in a new way? Then our online course "Men­stru­ation without products: Learn Free Bleed­ing" is per­fect for you

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Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Co-Founder Vul­vani | | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vul­vani. She loves research­ing, writ­ing and design­ing new art­icles or innov­at­ive edu­ca­tional con­cepts about men­stru­ation all day long. When she is not trav­el­ling the world, she enjoys spend­ing time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.