It’s rare that a woman doesn’t experience a missed or irregular period at some point in her life. It can be disconcerting when you skip a month or have an abnormally heavy period, but at what point should you see your doctor?
A normal menstrual cycle lasts anywhere from 21 to 35 days, with the average being 28. The actual bleeding (shedding of the uterine lining) typically lasts between 4 and 8 days. Every woman is unique, so tracking your period and knowing what symptoms are normal for you can help you and your OB/GYN determine when something isn’t right.
Common Signs of Irregular Periods
Here are some common signs and symptoms that may warrant making an appointment with your OB/GYN:
- Unusually heavy flow or clotting – Your first period after pregnancy or a miscarriage can be heavier or cause you to pass bigger clots, but other than those two instances, it isn’t normal to have a sudden difference in flow.
- Spotting in between cycles – Sometimes bleeding or spotting in between your cycles is insignificant, but it can also be a symptom of uterine polyps or other reproductive conditions.
- Missing more than one period – Stress and other environmental factors can lead to a missed period, but if you consistently skip them, you may have a more serious issue like PCOS.
- Severe pain during your cycle – Cramping is normal and often uncomfortable, but more extreme pain can signal concerns such as endometriosis or fibroids.
The bottom line is that you should never hesitate to see your OB/GYN if you have concerns or questions about your menstrual cycle. It’s better to bring up and address an issue when it first begins than to wait until you have a more serious health problem.
At All About Women, we want you to feel at ease about all women’s health issues. Call and make an appointment with an obstetrician or gynecologist at our Gainesville or Lake City office today.