Periods can be different for everyone in terms of length and flow, but significant changes or severe symptoms could be a sign that there is something wrong.
Most women experience a period every 28 days or so, but it’s also very common for a period to start sooner or later than that, with the menstrual cycle ranging from 21 to 40 days, according to the NHS.
It’s also normal for your period to last anywhere between three and eight days – and it’s most common for it to last for around five days.
Heavy bleeding is normal, but usually this only lasts for a couple of days, and the blood will be red. It may turn to pink or brown on lighter days.
The average woman loses around five to 12 tablespoons of blood during a period, although it can be normal to bleed more than this.
It’s also normal to get other symptoms before your period, such as bloating – which may last while on your period – tender boobs, mood swings, irritability and a loss of interest in sex.
But when does your period show some warning signs?
While some people do have irregular periods, if you’re skipping periods entirely it’s important that you get checked out.
This could be down to a number of things including birth control medication, weight gain or loss, stress, or more intensive exercise – but it could also be down to conditions such as Polycystic ovary syndrome.
You should also see a doctor if you have an abnormally heavy flow. It’s normal for periods to be heavy but bleeding through one or more pads or tampons in an hour could be a sign of other complications, again including PCOS, a hormone imbalance, bleeding complications or even a sign of a miscarriage.
Intense stomach cramps that interfere with your daily life could also be a warning sign. Cramps are very normal during the menstrual flow, but they could also be the result of a gynecological condition.
Bowel changes during a period are also very common, but if you are experiencing diarrhoea and vomiting, you need to tell your doctor about your symptoms, as this could cause dehydration.
Often, these period symptoms can just be normal things that just suck to have. But other times they can be as the result of something more – with 10% of women worldwide having endometriosis and one in five people in the UK having PCOS.
If you notice any symptoms that don’t seem normal for you, you should go to your GP to let them know what’s going on – as they will be able to offer you treatment and investigations into the root cause of your problems.
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