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What's causing my period problems?

Posted on June 03, 2024

We know it can be uncomfortable to discuss period problems, but if you don't, you could delay diagnosing an underlying condition. However, you may be keeping quiet because you think your problems are normal. So, to help you know when a menstrual symptom might be unusual, we’re explaining what’s normal and what’s not during your monthly cycle. Just remember, every woman is different, so be sure to mention any cycle changes to your OBGYN, even if they seem like they may be normal. Now, keep reading to learn more about how your period can paint a window into your overall health.

menstrual hygiene products

What is your period?

During your period, you shed the uterine lining that builds up throughout the month, preparing for the possibility of pregnancy. If pregnancy doesn't occur, the hormone levels in your body will drop, allowing the lining to separate from your uterus, and starting the process of bleeding that is your period.

Painful Period Problems

Sometimes, your monthly cycle is painful. So, it's...

Normal to have stomach pain or cramps that originate in your stomach, possibly spreading to your thighs or back. For most women, this pain lasts around three days, resolving as your flow lightens.

But, it's not normal to experience mild to severe pain, or for your period to become more painful over time.  It's also abnormal for your pain to intensify during your period, or to pop up between periods.

Blood Flow

What's normal? Typically, women’s periods are heavier at the start of the cycle, gradually becoming lighter. However, when you have to change your pad or tampon more than every few hours; if you bleed through protection or have to wake at night to change your pad; this may be a sign of heavy bleeding that's considered abnormal. And, if that's the case, you're at an increased risk for anemia. Plus, it could mean you're suffering from an underlying condition such as fibroids.

That's what celebrity makeup artist Kym Lee learned when she complained of heavy periods and painful menstrual cramps, discovering she had fibroids. Unfortunately, she decided not to seek treatment until heavy bleeding caused her to faint; she was rushed to the hospital and received an emergency hysterectomy, an outcome she might have avoided if she sought earlier treatment.

Clotting During Your Period

It's normal to pass small clumps of blood during your cycle, especially on heavy flow days. But it's not normal to pass clots that are larger than a quarter, or to frequently pass clumps of blood.

Could Timing Be a Period Problem?

The typical menstrual cycle is between 21 and 35 days, measured from the first day of one period to the first day of the next month's cycle. Normal bleeding lasts anywhere between 3 and 8 days. But if you miss cycles and aren't pregnant, or get a period twice a month, it's worth mentioning your cycle disruptions to a healthcare provider.

Luckily, if you discuss period problems with your doctor, you can usually determine their cause...and find a solution that provides relief. Then, if you receive a fibroids diagnosis,

click here to request a treatment consultation

with our specialists in Dallas.

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