So, what is period flow supposed to look like? According to ob-gyn Jennifer Ashton, M.D. the best way to describe “normal” menstrual flow is that it shouldn’t be thin like Kool Aid, and it shouldn’t be thick like ketchup. Your period blood’s consistency should ideally be somewhere in between.
Also, in a perfect world your period would come a-knockin’ at the same time each month, without all the crappy symptoms, and hang around for a few days before quietly bidding you adieu. But this isn’t a perfect world (alas), and menstruation – what it looks like, feels like, and how long it lasts – is different for every woman.
Let’s not be coy here: Bleeding from your vagina every single month is already kind of a pain, and when it’s heavier, or continues for longer than usual, it can be concerning.
Your period can be an important indicator of your health. Your menstrual cycle might be regular, about the same length every month – or somewhat irregular, and your period might be light or heavy, painful or pain-free, and still be considered normal. Within a broad range, “normal” is what’s normal for you.
The average cycle should occur every 21 to 35 days and last anywhere from 2 to 7 days. But there are times when it can be a day or two longer or shorter than usual, and that’s perfectly okay. However, when your period lasts longer than 8 days or if it changes significantly in length for 3 or more cycles in a row, it definitely warrants a call to your health care provider. It’s also worth seeing your doc if you’re soaking a pad or tampon every hour for several hours.
About a third of women complain to their gynaecologists about heavy flow. Heavy means changing your tampon or pad every hour or so as well as having periods that last for more than a week and sometimes passing blood clots. Problems with your reproductive organs or hormones, an infection, some blood disorders, blood thinning meds, uterine fibroids or polyps, or a copper IUD could be possible causes. Speak to your doctor.
If your flow is a little stickier and more mucusy than usual, it’s usually not a big deal and is probably because your menstrual blood has been mixed with some cervical mucus.
Abnormal bleeding - such as bleeding after vaginal sex or bleeding and spotting between periods – can however be a sign of cervical cancer. Cervical abnormalities can be detected through Pap and HPV tests. Make sure you stay on top of those.
When your flow is MIA the most common cause is pregnancy, but stress, a hormone imbalance, scar tissue as well as some meds, could be culprits. If you’ve skipped 3 periods in a row, see your doctor.
While some women just tend to have lighter periods, thin and watery blood could be the result of an ovarian or fallopian tumour, but there’s no point in speculating, book an appointment with your doctor if you notice that your period is noticeably thinner than usual.
You know your body best. So, if anything seems off, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Source: webmd.com, cosmopolitan.com, mayoclinic.org, womenshealthmag.com, helloclue.com, news24.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.