How Long Should a Period Last?

It’s may not be something you talk about every day. But asking some important questions about menstruation can give you some insight into your reproductive health.

 

 

 

 

How Long Should a Normal Period be?

When it comes to the frequency, length and flow of your monthly visitor, a general rule of thumb is that normal periods are defined as what’s normal for you. But being knowledgeable about your menstrual cycle can help you identify when normal goes awry.

You get your period when your uterus sheds its lining. Part of your menstrual flow is blood and part of it is that lining called endometrium. Most women get their period about 12 to 16 days after ovulation.

The menstrual cycle is 28 days on average, and a normal period lasts anywhere from two to seven days with three to five days being average.

 

First Periods

If you’re a teenager and are experiencing your first period, it may take up to two years for your menstrual cycle to become predictable and regular. Your cycle also may run longer than the 28-day average seen in adults.

If you keep track of your periods, marking the start date on the calendar, then counting 28 days ahead, or however many days your typical cycle is, you can plan ahead. This way you’ll have pads and tampons on hand (or your menstrual cup, if you’ve gone that route). Many women try to avoid scheduling vacations or other important days during the time they’ll have their periods.

 

Factors That Can Affect Your Period’s Length

Some lifestyle and medical factors can affect the number of days you have your period. They can also have an impact on the amount of bleeding and severity of cramps that you experience.

Your age can affect the amount of hormones in your body; for example, as we get older, we produce less estrogen. This can lead to a lighter and shorter period. However, if a woman has a polyp or fibroid in her uterus, she may experience heavier bleeding for a longer number of days.

 

Lighter Periods With Birth Control Pills

Women who use birth control pills often have shorter periods with lighter flow. Traditional pill packs feature several “non-active” or placebo pills that trigger your period. Even before the advent of pills like Seasonale that were specifically designed to allow women to skip their periods, many women would skip taking the non-active pills to avoid having their period during inconvenient times.

Since the introduction of Seasonale in 2003, scads of new birth control pill formulations have come onto the market that allow you to skip your period. And when you do have a period, you can have a lighter, shorter one.

It might take a few months after you first start taking birth control pills until your periods normalize. In fact, the most common cause of irregular bleeding is missed pills.

 

Long Periods

If your period runs longer than usual, it’s often the result of normal hormonal fluctuations and not something to worry about. If you’ve experienced a sudden change in the number of days you menstruate, it’s always wise to check with a doctor to find out if there’s a medical issue behind it. If your period has always run long, mention it at your next gyno exam.

 

Short Periods

What makes a period “too short”? As long as a short menstrual period is part of a regular pattern and fits within a range of two to seven days, you’re considered to have normal periods.

The length of your period all depends on how much estrogen you produce. If your body doesn’t make a lot of it, your uterine lining won’t be very thick and, when it sheds, the bleeding is light and only lasts for a few days.

Younger women may have short and irregular periods, and older women approaching menopause may also experience irregular or short menstrual periods.

 

When to Get Checked Out

Normal cycles last between 24 to 35 days. Some teens might have shorter cycles of only 21 days, and others might go as long as 45 days between periods. Adults can have a range of between 21 to 35 days. See a doctor if your cycle falls outside of those ranges. Also, if you’ve been menstruating for more than two years and your period hasn’t become regular, visit a health care provider.

Being sick or under stress can cause you to skip your period. However, if you miss a period and are sexually active, definitely get checked out for a possible pregnancy. Also, visit a healthcare professional about your period if:

  • You haven’t gotten your first period by age 15.
  • You don’t menstruate for more than 90 days.
  • Your periods start to be very irregular after having previously been regular.
  • Your period lasts for more than seven days.
  • Your menstrual flow is more heavy than usual.
  • You experience bleeding between periods.
  • You experience horrible pain during menstruation.
  • You suddenly get a fever and feel ill after using tampons.

If your irregular or short menstrual cycle is a new development and not your typical pattern, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor.

What’s your normal? Are you blessed with naturally lighter, shorter periods? Or are you changing out pads for seven days straight? Let us know in the comments!

59 Comments
  1. Hello im 21 i have my 2 yr old daughter but im concerned about my period . I got my period on 12/29/17-till this day 1/11/18 its 14 days straight n still going on . Is that normal?. i dont take care of myself and i do want to get pregnant. I been trying to get pregnant for the past year but no luck. But my period is not normal for me . I have had my period last long till 9 days but this one is pretty long.
    ANy advice if its normal? or ??

    • Hi Rosalinda!

      I was kind of in the same boat as you at about the same age. However, my bleeding was “regularly” about 14 days or more. Sometimes up to six weeks or longer 🙁

      My hubby and I were trying to conceive for a few years so I didn’t take anything to regulate it. It’s when we stopped “trying” did it happen. Although, it doesn’t happen this way for everyone.

      Side note….my periods are still very irregular at (42 years old) and I’m back at the doctors (next week) to see if they have anything new to tell me.

      Irregularities in your period are caused by changes in your hormone levels, especially estrogen. So if you have too much estrogen, it can be causing you to have heavier or longer periods.

      Sometimes it’s just an imbalance and will correct itself in a couple to few months. These hormonal changes are common and rarely mean something more serious.

      If you do have “Estrogen Dominance”, there are a few things you can do to help.

      Take care of your liver – It breaks down estrogen among other things.
      Eat healthy bacteria – Probiotics foods
      Foods with fibre – reduces the build-up of free-floating estrogen. Foods like wheat/corn/rice bran, the skins of fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, some types of beans and whole grain foods.
      Vitamins supplements – Zinc, magnesium, vitamin b6 and others help breakdown and elimination excess estrogen.

      Stress and poor sleep can also contribute to “Estrogen Dominance”. High stress levels “steals” progesterone, leaving excess estrogen. And poor sleep habits causes a reduction in the hormone melatonin, which help protect against estrogen dominance.

      Take care of yourself so that you can take care of your babies 🙂
      Since we’re not doctors on this site, we can only speculate. The best thing to do is to visit your OB-GYN and check what they have to say. Be sure to tell them that you’re trying to get pregnant so that they know NOT to suggest hormonal birth control to regulate your period. They can also determine if you need supplements for anemia (iron deficiency) if you have one.

      Good Luck!! <3

  2. Hi please my period has come 3 time this month please is it normal?

  3. I have 28 days cycle but I used to see little cloth of blood on the last day ie the fourth day.
    And after the period,I still see stain of blood for about two days after period.I only notice it whenever I cleaned up after urinating.So is it normal?

  4. Reply
    Yasmine Ouldtoumi May 1, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Hey there. My period comes every 17 days for 5 days… My doctor gave me DUPHASTON to eat from day 16 to 25.. But I heard its bad for me.. Please advice me and thanks 😘

    • Hi Yasmine!

      First of all, I’m not a doctor and this site should not be used to replace one. If you have concerns, your doctor should be willing to explain why they recommended the prescription and what it does. If you’re not comfortable with the treatment, they should be able to give you an alternative option.

      I do know what you’re going through. My period used to be every 15 days, like clockwork. I remember when I knew I was pregnant for the first time. It was 18 days and I hadn’t started my flow.

      Anyhow, not too long after I gave birth my periods were still very irregular even for my irregular period! I was put on a pill that was a higher dosage of progesterone (similar to what you’re taking now). Then again several years later, I was prescribed something similar to stop my unusually long periods.

      Currently, my daughter is also having some issues and was prescribed with the same to start her period again.

      Duphaston is used to treat several conditions in which there is a hormonal imbalance that progesterone is lacking. It’s a synthetic progesterone.

      There are several hormones that are present during menstruation. They “kick in” at different times for different reasons.

      Progesterone tells the body to create a thick lining in the uterus (endometrium) to prepare the uterus for implantation (of an egg).
      If there is no pregnancy, progesterone levels decrease and the lining is shed (menstruation).

      If any hormone is out of balance, the menstrual cycle can become irregular.

      Many people find the synthetic hormone to be helpful in regulating their cycle. Others feel that any type of synthetic hormone is bad.

      It’s up to you to weigh your options. For myself, the long, heavy, irregular periods were too much for me to handle. For my daughter, missing several periods in consecutive months made her worry.
      Therefore we both chose to try the synthetic hormone.

      As with anything, people may or may not experience side effects. They can include but are not limited to, headaches, spotting between periods, tender breasts, rash, nausea, and dizziness.

      I know it’s frustrating 🙁 I hope that your period becomes regular again and that you can stop taking Duphaston, or that your doctor is understanding in your concerns and has an alternative option.

      Good Luck!

  5. Hi, I am 14 years old and I got my period in 6th grade. It has been over 2 years now and I’m still not regular. I skip my periods most of the time and when they do come,sometimes i get lucky and they are normal and other times they can last A LONG time. My longest is 2 months, but it wasn’t heavy, it was pretty light. I don’t experience any pain while I’m on my periods, but should I be worried? Is it time to see a doctor? I heard it can be a while before you become normal while you are going through puberty, but I don’t know if this is normal.

    • Hi KB,
      “Normal” is different for everyone, and since none of us are doctors on this site, I can only speculate.
      You’re still young and your hormones are still out of wack even if it’s been over two years since you’ve started your period.

      If you’re concerned, I would definitely check with a doctor. They can tell you for sure if and what is going on and to put your mind at peace.
      They may also be able to suggest or prescribe something to regulate your cycle.

      Good Luck!! <3

  6. at the end of my period there is a brown or yellow substance, does that mean that that’s it or??

  7. hi plz i want to consult .. i am on my periods and it is prolong then usual.. i am still on my periods and it lasted for about 24 days .. i am worried plzz tell me is there any chance if it is abnormal in any way ?

  8. Hi,

    I am 31 years old. I have been experiencing a shorter period of maximum 4 days, the first two days comes heavy and the two days it come light or just spots. I am wondering if this is normal or not because I have started experiencing this at the beginning of 2017 to date. Need your advice.

  9. I am 30 years old now ,I had my ectopic pregnancy surgery (left follopian tube removed) 2013, when I was 25years, and my period do change at times,like 22, 24,25,26 circle length… The one I did last from oct 23 to Nov 17, 2018.. was 25 circle length and 3days period length, 1st days iwas medium and severe pains,2nd day was heavy flow severe pains, 3rd day was medium and pains was moderate , what am bordering about is I still see a little blood on 4th day, my question is am going to count it as 4th period or i will Ieave it as a stain ? Since 5 years now we are trying for a baby but no avail I have done so series of test since 2013 till early 2018 (HGC) and d rest !!!!. What they were telling me was I am ok to concieve.. The last test I did dis November 2018 they ask me to hold one dictector and I shouldn’t talk , after the test was done. This is d reference test 1)cholesterol, 2)low tissue blood supply, 3) low female hormone, 4)constant headache 5) low insulin (good sugar & urine sugar) can these caused my delayed? ..what can I do ? Or do u have drug u can prescribe for me to use or any of ur advice will be acceptable… I will look forward to hear from you. Thanks

    • I’m so sorry to hear about all of your medical issues 🙁 and your loss.
      I really can’t say what is happening with your cycle and/or your period. But, I will say that the short period and spotting might be because of your medical issues and stress! Stress can play a BIG part of sending your body out of whack.
      Since none of us are doctors here we can’t give you any medical advice or prescribe you with any medications. You’ll have to seek medical attention for that.
      I wish you the best and hope that you and a doctor can figure things out.

      Good Luck & Warm thoughts <3

  10. Hi I am 21 and early this year I had a delay in my period and a pharmacist prescribed a drug for me which I took to the hospital and the doctor said the drug was too harsh for me that its an abortion pills bt not to worry I shld jst relax that I have hormonal imbalance so I relaxed and it came.Bt since den my period has been irregular,last month it started on d 20th and ended on the25th bt this month I have not seen it and today 27 so I am worried bcuz in run pregnancy test each time it delays and is always negative so pls help me out,am I okay?

    • Hello There!

      Did that change in your period just start or has it been unpredictible for a while? I find it very strange that they would prescribe something so strong if this isn’t a normal thing for you.

      My period was very irregular for over a year before my doctor prescribed anything for me to take to try to “correct” it. And even then, they started with birth control pills to regulate my cycle and flow.

      Since I am not a medical physician, I would suggest seeking out an ob-gyn. They are specilized in the reproductive system and would be best to set of plan of action in correcting what (if anything) is wrong.

      Good Luck <3

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