Every body is different, so it’s no surprise to learn that every period is different too. And as someone with a period, you might already know how all over the place they can be.
Some months it can seem like there’s more blood than usual. In other months, it might show up fashionably late – days past its routine arrival. And short of having psychic powers, our periods are the one thing we can’t predict (trust us, we’ve tried).
Although irregular periods can be totally normal, they can also be a cause for concern. And if what you’re after is finding out what ‘regular’ really means, you’re in the right place. Today we’re exploring the ins and outs of an irregular period, what can cause them and how to manage their unpredictability.
First things first: how do we define irregular? Typically your menstrual cycle involves the uterine lining shedding in response to various hormones. And as we’re all told, it should be pretty consistent. So an irregular period is a menstrual cycle that varies from the norm.
But how long is a period cycle? For most people, a menstrual cycle ranges from 21 to 35 days, with 28 days being the average. The length of your period can also differ, with most people bleeding anywhere from 3 to 7 days.
Dr Soma, from the Athena Women’s Clinic, is a GP obstetrician with 15 years of experience in gynaecology and obstetrics. As she explains, ‘regular’ can look different for everyone. Instead it’s about what’s regular for you.
“An irregular menstrual cycle can be anything that’s not normal for that person,” she says. “Normal variations can happen in anyone’s cycle.”
For some, their periods follow the same approximate cycles (where roughly every 28 days they’ll bleed for 5 of those days). Others will find that their cycles are slightly longer or shorter each month. Getting in tune with your body is the best way to determine your version of normal.
As well as the timing being out of whack, irregular periods are also those where you get unusual bleeding or abnormal symptoms. These symptoms can include:
It’s also worth noting that cycles change throughout our lives. For the first couple of years, periods can be wildly inconsistent, with some cases where they can take up to 6 years to settle down. If you’re currently going through puberty and are noticing unusual symptoms, just know that irregularities with your bleeding during this time are part and parcel of the experience.
Our bodies are clever things, sometimes tipping us off when other things might be going on. These common causes of an irregular cycle are worth checking out if your periods are changing.
A period that’s never on time is not what we had in mind when we asked for a surprise. But if yours is famous for being erratic, there are ways to manage it. Check out these tips that’ll help you deal with an irregular menstrual cycle.
As you’ve probably guessed, your period is pretty happy doing its own thing. But if the irregularity of your cycle is concerning or you just want to learn more, chat with your doctor. In the meantime, leave the surprises for the good stuff, and check out Modibodi’s range of period undies.
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