Experiencing various symptoms during your menstrual cycle and wondering if they are normal? Read on to learn the 5 key factors to evaluate the health of your menstrual cycle.
What is a normal period cycle? And how can you tell if your periods are normal or not?
Based on my research and personal experiences, I’ve discovered that you can identify most any menstrual irregularity simply by observation. And there are five key factors to watch for.
5 Key Aspects of Your Menstrual Cycle
I’ll briefly discuss what’s considered a normal period cycle based on each of these factors, and the common types of menstrual irregularities.
1. Regularity of Your Cycle
If your menstrual cycle occurs every 21-35 days, it’s considered normal, as long as it’s consistent from month to month.
Not every woman has her period every 28 days like clockwork.
However, if your cycle varies from month to month, it would be considered irregular, even if it falls within the 21-35 day range.
If your periods come consistently early, so that your cycle is less than 21 days, it would be considered an early period.
It would be considered a late period if your periods come consistently late, so that your period cycle is longer than 35 days.
Bleeding Between Periods:
One irregularity is menstrual bleeding that occurs consistently at about the mid-point of the cycle, around the ovulation time. The bleeding may last 1-2 days or longer.
2. The Duration of Your Periods
The average duration of menstruation lasts between 3 to 7 days, with the most common duration lasting 5 and 6 days.
If your menstruation lasts longer than 7 days, it’s considered a long period.
If it lasts less than 3 days, especially with only a small amount of blood, it would be considered a scanty period.
3. The Amount of Bleeding
We don’t lose as much blood as many of us may think. The average blood loss during a menstrual cycle is 30-80ml, which is about 2-6 tablespoons.
Heavy Periods (Menorrhagia):
If you have a regular period but your bleeding is heavier than normal, it indicates you are suffering from what is known as menorrhagia (a heavy period).
There are several reasons that can cause heavy bleeding. Some are more serious than others.
If your heavy bleeding is severe enough to interrupt your normal life, I recommend that you see your gynecologist and get a pelvic ultrasound scan to rule out the possibility of fibroids or other more serious menstrual conditions.
Scanty/No Periods (Amenorrhea):
If your bleeding is very light or lasts less than 3 days, it would be considered a scanty period.
And if you miss your period for at least three months, you have what is called amenorrhea (no period).
4. The Quality of Your Blood
The normal color of menstrual blood is dark red, lighter at the beginning, deep in the middle, and pinkish at the end of the period. The normal flow is neither too thick nor too thin, and contains no clots.
If your blood is bright red, pale red, or purplish red with dark clots, it may indicate various conditions of to your blood and hormones.
For more info, read Blood Clots During Period: Is it Normal, What Causes It, and What to Do About It.
5. The Degree of Pain
Some mild cramps in the lower abdomen on the first day of your cycle are considered normal.
And you should enjoy a free low of energy, and relatively stable mental and emotional states throughout your menstrual cycle (i.e., no wide swings).
Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhea):
However, if your period cramps are severe and hinder your ability to function, and if they occur before, during, and even after your menstruation, you are likely suffering from what is called dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
For more info, learn the 7 primary causes of painful period and what to do about it.
Prementrual Syndrome (PMS):
If you experience a range of physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral changes in the 1-2 weeks before your menstruation, you may be suffering from a specific pattern of hormonal imbalance called PMS.
So why am I tell you all this? And what can you do with this information?
The first step to healing is to become aware.
And I want to give you some simple yet important parameters to pay attention to when observing your own menstrual cycles.
They will enable you to establish the basis for what’s normal for you and help identify irregularities when they occur.
From there, you’ll be more equipped to seek out relevant resources and professional care to help heal your menstrual disharmonies.
So, is your period cycle normal?
I encourage you to learn to listen to the signals your body has been sending you, identify the causes of the imbalance, and take steps to restore balance in your system.
1. Start tracking your menstrual cycles.
2. Score your menstrual health and get recommendations based on your score.
3. Identify the underlying causes.
Estrogen and progestrone are responsible for regulating your menstrual cycles.
When they are out of balance, you’ll begin to notice abnormality in one or more of these five factors mentioned above.
The imbalance could be due to estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, or progesterone deficiency.