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.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | britta@vulvani.com | 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.