Your menstrual cycle can reveal quite a bit about your reproductive health. Keeping track of when each of your periods starts and ends puts you in a better position to spot any irregularities in your menstrual cycle more quickly. It can also help you understand exactly how your cycle changes as you age. Board-certified gynecologist Dr. Julia Raber in New Hyde Park, New York, specializes in diagnosing and treating women with irregular menses. To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Your menstrual cycle is a series of changes your body goes through each month to prepare for a possible pregnancy. A normal menstrual cycle lasts somewhere between 24 and 38 days, from start to finish.
During this time, one of your ovaries releases an egg (ovulation) and hormonal changes prepare your uterus for the possibility of embryo implantation. If your egg isn’t fertilized within a certain number of days, your uterus sheds its lining, causing you to experience a “period” of bleeding.
While the length of a normal menstrual period, or menses, can range from two to seven days, most women have periods that last four or five days.
Your period can fall within a broad range and still be considered normal: A normal period may be light or heavy, short or long, and painful or pain-free.
There are certain times in your reproductive life when irregular menses are more likely. Periods are often longer and less regular when they first begin, usually between the ages of 9-14. They can also be irregular starting in a woman’s 40s, as menstruation begins to wind down in preparation for menopause.
Although menstrual cycle irregularities are often harmless and short-lived, they can sometimes be symptomatic of an underlying gynecological problem, such as:
After the underlying cause of a concerning menstrual cycle irregularity is properly diagnosed through a physical exam and any necessary lab and imaging tests, Dr. Raber can recommend the best course of treatment.
To get a better idea of what’s normal for you, use a calendar to keep track of the start and end dates of each period. By noting the start date, you can see how regular your periods are, while recording the end date allows you to notice if your periods are usually the same, or if they’re getting shorter or longer over time.
If you’re concerned about your menstrual cycle, it’s a good idea to also keep track of the heaviness of your flow, the presence of any blood clots, any pain you experience during your period, and any spotting you experience between normal periods.
If you’re concerned about irregular menses, call Dr. Raber’s office or schedule an appointment online today.