What exactly is a normal period?
Have you ever wondered if your period is on-track and normal? Do you think it is normal to have heavy cramping and flow on the first few days, and that PMS is just par for the course? Are your curious what a “normal” period should be like?
I dislike the word normal, but for the ease of it, let’s use it here to refer to a healthy, well-functioning, don’t even really notice I have it type of period. I also prefer to use the term menses, or “moon-time,” but if that’s too oovey-groovey for you, period is fine as well!
Ok, here’s the deal ladies! A normal period should come around the same time every month, approximately every 26-32 days, with a steady, even-colored flow, and no cramps! You heard me correctly—no cramping!
Being a women’s health care provider for over a decade, primarily providing well-woman care in my practice, I’ve had a fair share of women look at me as though I have two heads when I’ve said that.
Here are the other deets that represent a good monthly flow:
1) It should start with a good flow of red color—menstrual blood is not just blood—it is a mixture of blood shed from the uterine lining as well as mucus, tissue, and other cells. The color should be bright, and start and finish that way, no long days of brown or blackish spotting on either end of the cycle.
2) The flow shouldn’t be overly heavy—meaning you are running to the bathroom every hour or so to change a pad, tampon, diva cup or menstrual products of choice. There shouldn’t be many clots, a few is OK, but smaller than a dime-size.
3) It should last around 4-5 days, no longer than 7, and not shorter than 3.
4) You should be able to feel some “action” of the uterus contracting in your lower pelvis, and maybe the slightest twinge now and then, especially as the cycle starts, but pain means something is not ideal. This is usually a sign that your uterus is displaced. More on that in the next blog. Lots of extreme cramping can also indicate fibroids, benign growths in the uterus or other things that should be checked out by your health care provider.
5) You should hardly notice when it is going to begin—meaning your breasts aren’t untouchable a few days to a week prior and you feel like a different personal altogether in the week leading up to your period (i.e., severe irritability, moodiness, and the like).
What to do if your period doesn’t resemble this, or kinda does, or in no way shape or form is in the same family? I’ve got your back, or your uterus and ovaries my friend.
Stay tuned for the next couple of weeks to dive deeper into periods, and all things related, including when periods go haywire.
Struggling with a particular issue related to your moon-time? Respond in the comments section or shoot me an email at email@example.com and I’ll respond and perhaps feature a blog tailored to you!