Just as no two women are exactly the same, no two menstrual cycles are the same. But there are some guidelines when it comes to the length of your periods and other factors, like flow and frequency.
At the private practice of OB/GYN Kelly Morales, MD, we diagnose and treat abnormal periods, including periods that are too long, too heavy, or infrequent. Keep reading to learn more about the typical length of periods and the signs that it’s time to seek medical help.
Before considering whether your period is too long or too short, you need to understand how doctors think about normal periods. What’s normal for one woman might be unusual for another, making it more difficult to know when something’s wrong.
On average, we consider normal menstrual cycles to last 21-35 days, and normal periods to last as few as three days or as long as seven days. With such a wide range of what’s considered normal, we also take into account what has been normal for you historically.
It’s time to schedule an exam with Dr. Morales if your periods are:
Many different conditions can cause long or short periods, making it even more important to see Dr. Morales for an expert diagnosis. Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of long and short periods:
If your periods last longer than a week, schedule an appointment, since long periods can be the result of a wide range of conditions, including:
Dr. Morales reviews your medical history, conducts a physical exam, and may order lab work or imaging, like an ultrasound, to get to the root cause. Depending on what she determines, treatment may involve birth control, hormone replacement therapy, minimally invasive procedures like ablation, or surgery.
While very short periods, those lasting a day or two, may sound like a dream to some women, they could be the sign of an underlying health condition, especially if your cycle suddenly becomes shorter.
As with long periods, there are many possible causes of very short periods. Some reasons women experience very short periods include:
While one short period probably isn’t cause for concern, contact Dr. Morales if your period becomes short after being regular or if you experience other symptoms with a short period, like heavy bleeding or skipping several periods.
To learn more about normal menstrual cycles or for help with long or short periods, schedule an appointment today with Dr. Morales in San Antonio, Texas.