Can we be honest with you? Sometimes, periods really suck. They’re uncomfortable, can be painful and having to keep up with proper protection can really put a damper on outings. But there’s a difference between the usual period struggles and signs that you need to check in with a doctor. We’ve gathered 5 signs that tell you your period may be irregular.
Keep in mind, having an irregular period doesn’t automatically mean something serious is going on with your body. It’s just a sign that you need to talk to a doctor because you don’t have to suffer through. There are solutions. Let’s dive in.
- Your period lasts longer than 7 days
First, let’s note that your “period” here means the time that you’re actually bleeding while your menstrual cycle is the length of time between the start of your period to the start of your next period. If you’re experiencing menstrual flow for 8 or more days, check with your doctor to ensure that this is normal for your body.
- Your cramps are debilitating
Cramps are cramps, right? They’re almost always a little painful in some ways, but they shouldn’t totally hinder your life. If you’re having cramps and choose to stay in bed one day for your comfort, that’s a lot different than not being able to get out of bed due to your pain level. Take note of which one is happening for you and how often. Sadly, many women suffer from severe cramps and don’t seek help because they think it’s normal. But debilitating cramps are not normal and more importantly, you don’t have to live with them. Talking to your doctor can help you find potential causes and solutions.
- Changing your pad or tampon every 1-2 hours
If for one day out of your entire period you find yourself changing your tampon (or period undies) more often, that’s probably normal for you and is 100% okay. But if you’re regularly having to change whatever protection you wear every 1-2 hours, that’s a sign of an irregularly heavy period and could be caused by complications like fibroids.
- Missing your period for more than 90 days
Having a healthy menstrual cycle is a good indicator that our bodies are healthy. So skipping a period is a pretty good indicator that something is off. However, a missed period doesn’t always mean that something serious is happening. Even stress can cause you to miss a period. However, if missing your period is concerning to you or if you don’t have your period for more than 90 days, it’s a good time to check in with your doctor and find out what’s causing it.
- Your menstrual cycle lasts more than 38 days
The average menstrual cycle is anywhere from 21-35 days and anywhere in that range can be “normal,” if it’s normal for you. If you notice your menstrual cycle is often changing in length or is lasting more than 38 days, that indicates an irregular period and could be a sign of a syndrome like PCOS.
Knowing what’s normal is important, but what’s even more important is knowing what’s normal for you. The good news is periods and cycles are subjective. There’s no perfect period, so if yours has been pretty similar for most of your life and you haven’t noticed any severe symptoms or big changes, it’s likely that all is well. We highly recommend tracking your period so you can catch these changes if/when they do occur, but even if you don’t, it’s important to take notice of what our bodies go through so we can be sure we’re listening if they tell us that something isn’t right.