What’s normal and what should alarm you? Make sure you understand what your body is saying.
Do you remember your first period? Even if you’d already been warned it was coming, it was still kind of crazy that it’s normal to let yourself bleed for a few days.
Yet as women we come to accept that once a month we will bleed for a few days and life must carry on as normal. But what if what you think is normal is actually a sign something is off? Here are a few things some women worry about (and things they don’t need to), and other symptoms women ignore (but should pay more attention to).
These things are normal during a period
#1. Seeing blood clots. Clots usually appear during the heaviest part of your flow, and you don’t need to worry about these clots unless they are larger than a quarter, according to WebMD.
#2. Getting your period every 21 to 35 days. You’ve probably heard 28 days is ‘normal’ for a period, and it is … for some women. Your cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days, so just because it doesn’t fit the 28-day average, don’t fret.
And if you’re one of those lucky women who has it come every 35 days instead of every 21, count yourself blessed.
#3. Infrequent periods as a teenager. It takes a bit for your body to figure out your whole menstrual cycle thing, so you may not have the most regular periods a few years after you start – that’s OK.
These signs are abnormal
#1. Severe cramping. Cramping is normal for women on their period, but if your cramps make it impossible to leave your bed, your body could be crying for help.
If you suddenly have intense menstrual cramps when you used to have light cramps, this could be an indicator you have endometriosis.
Endometriosis happens when the uterus lining is outside of the uterus and connected to things like your fallopian tubes, bladder and ovaries. It usually creates a lot of pain and can affect your fertility.
#2. Missing three periods in a row. If you haven’t had a period for more than 90 days (or three months), this is considered abnormal, according to the Cleveland Clinic. (Unless of course you started your period for the first time recently, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or going through menopause.)
There could be a lot of explanations for your period stopping. It ranges anywhere from gaining or losing a lot of weight to going off of birth control or having uterine or cervical cancer. If you’re period has stopped, be sure to visit your doctor.
#3. Bleeding for longer than seven days. On average, a period lasts about five days, although some women only bleed for one or two. If your period plows through eight days or longer, it’s time for a check up.
#4. Bleeding in between periods. Vaginal bleeding that happens when you aren’t on your period could come from a lot of different issues with your reproductive system, according to Mayo Clinic. Track your period so you’re aware of when bleeding is normal and when it is a concern.
#5. Difficulty or pain while peeing. This is one of the symptoms for cervical cancer, which research recently discovered is even more deadly than previously believed. Cervical cancer causes the cervix to swell, which compresses your bladder. As a result, you might have a lot of pain or a hard time emptying your bladder.
Your body knows when something is wrong and tries to alert you with certain symptoms. Don’t ignore these. If caught early enough, many of these symptoms can be treated without any fatal results.
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