What is a normal period, you may be asking yourself? A “normal period” will be unique for each individual woman. In all honesty, your period can vary slightly from month to month, too.
What should your period look like?
For most of your life, a healthy period will produce 60 ml to 80 ml of fluid during menstruation. (around 4 to 5 1/2 tablespoons).
A normal cycle is every 21 to 35 days. There’s no reason to worry if you have up to 2-days difference in your cycle from month to month. It’s the norm for your period to last 3 to 5 days (and up to 7 days). Your menstrual cycle should settle into a pattern, a couple years after it starts. The pattern will remain similar through to your 40s.
How do you know if you suffer from menstrual disorders?
Let’s start with what a normal period is not. You shouldn’t:
- Need to use tampons and pads together, or double padding
- Need to change the tampon or pad hourly
- Flood through clothes or onto bed sheets overnight
- Have a period beyond 8 days
Speaking of pain, how much pain is normal?
It’s ok for pain or cramping during the first days of your period. But it’s not normal when you:
- Feel significant pain even after taking pain relievers recommended by your chemist
- Need to miss work due to pain or extreme tiredness during menstruation
- Feel pain days before the period
- Feel pain continuously throughout to the end of the period
- Feel pain beyond the end of the period.
How does stress and lifestyle impact a normal period?
Your body is a whole and a normal period can change due to stress. For example, the level of stress that causes you to lose sleep can cause changes in your period. It is also possible that new medications or dieting can alter your normal menstrual cycle.
When should you see a doctor about your periods?
I recommend you call a doctor when your period is not normal. Share all that is happening in your life, and relax, your conversations are strictly confidential.
So, openly chat about medications, when you drink alcohol, and any medical conditions. But also, don’t be afraid to discuss stress with your doctor — like the loss of a job, divorce or sleep problems. Stress can add to menstrual problems.
You don’t have to worry. I believe women don’t have to endure excessive bleeding or pain. Most women with menstrual disorders can have a normal period with help from their doctor.