Our practice helps a lot of women who struggle with abnormal periods. Sometimes these women have menstrual flows that last a week or more, sometimes the pain is so unbearable they miss school or work. And whether they have hormone imbalances, Endometriosis, fibroids, Adenomyosis, or are simply need their birth control changed, we assess their individual situation and find a solution.
But what about women who aren’t sure whether or not their periods are normal? What if you’re a teenager and you’re not really sure what periods are “supposed to” feel like? What if sometimes your period feel normal but other times they feel like something is wrong? With the help of a couple of my patients, we’ve put together a list of signs that your periods are abnormal. And although some of these might be comical, these patients tell me, “I wish I would have known these were signs something was wrong.” Please note that every once in a while women have an abnormal period. What we’re looking for is a consistent trend of abnormal symptoms that indicate there might be a problem.
Here’s the list:
1) On average, your periods last more than 7 days
2) Your period happens more than once a month
3) You have spotting in between periods that feels or looks like another period
4) When doctor’s ask you the date of your last period you don’t know because they are so infrequent
5) You only buy “super” tampons because nothing else works
6) Your regular tampons fill up so quickly they have to be changed every hour or two
7) You have cramping that is no longer “discomfort”– it is now outright painful
8) You stay home from school or call in sick to work because of menstrual pain
9) You have a prescription for painkillers because of your periods
10) You miss outings with friends or dates because of your periods
11) If your periods come regularly, you clear your schedule ahead of time
12) Your family, friends, or husband are tired of hearing about your periods
13) Your young kids know “Mommy’s in bed”…. again
14) Your periods leave you nauseated, vomiting, or dizzy
15) During your period you have constipation, diarrhea, or painful bowel movements
16) People tell you that the pain is in your head, or you must be exaggerating
17) It feels like your menstrual cycle runs and ruins your life
18) (Especially for teens) You find yourself in the bathroom between every class, or you have fears around your period and being teased due to excessive flow or the possibility of leaking
19) The severity of your periods leave you depressed, anxious, or fearful to a point that interrupts your life
Do any of these sound familiar? If so, you don’t have to suffer— make an appointment to come see me and get your life back. If you are a teen talk to your parents about the severity of your symptoms and ask them to make you an appointment. If you feel uncomfortable bringing up your menstrual cycle with your parents or don’t know how to approach them, send them a link to this blog topic to get the conversation started.