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What exactly is a “normal” period?

Most women understand the menstrual cramps that come along with periods. They’re caused by an excess of a chemical called prostaglandin [PRAHST-uh-GLAND-in]. But, if debilitating menstrual pain is interfering with your daily activities, like work or school, it’s time to talk to a gynecologist. 

Here’s a rundown of what’s considered normal, and when you should talk to your doctor.

  • Periods usually last between 3 and 5 days, but anything between 2 and 7 days is okay. If you are bleeding for more than 7 days, you should talk to your gynecologist
  • For most women, periods are between 21 and 35 days apart. If your period occurs more often than this, you should talk to your gynecologist
  • If you are bleeding more heavily than usual or using more than 1 pad or tampon every 1 to 2 hours, you should talk to your gynecologist 

There are a lot of possible reasons why your periods might fall outside of this “normal” range. Talk it over with your gynecologist, and bring up any other symptoms you might have. 


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