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Get to know YOUR period!

It is surprising to think that even in this day and age, a woman’s period is still something that some of us are uncomfortable to talk about! It is okay to be grossed out by it, BUT it is important that know your body, your cycle and your period.

As young women we are told that periods are uncomfortable, crampy and painful and that there will be blood. However we are not always told explicitly how much, how long or how painful..

These are super important details in differentiating what is a “normal” period and what is something that may need further investigation.       

So, what are some things you should look out for?

Cycle

  • How long is your cycle (from 1st day of period to 1st day of next period)?
  • Do you get any spotting between periods?
  • How long are your periods lasting?

Flow

  • How many times are you changing your pad, tampon or cup?
  • What colour is your flow?
  • Is there any clotting?

Pain

  • What lengths do you have to go to to relieve the pain?
  • Do you have to take pain relief?
  • Where is the pain located?
  • Is the pain debilitating?
  • Have you had to take time off work or school due to the pain?

PMS

  • Do you experience any breast swelling or tenderness before or during your period?
  • What is your mood like?

Digestion and bowel

  • Do you experience any changes in bowel movements just before or during your period (constipation, diarrhea)?
  • Do you experience bloating before or during your period? 
  • Do you experience cravings for curtain food around or during your period?

Your Family History

  • What were your mother’s periods like?
  • What are your sister’s periods like?   

So, what is a “normal” period?

Although it is hard to say what is and isn’t a ‘normal’ period there are some symptoms that should be looked into further. It can take a number of years (usually with in 3) for your period to regulate, so some of these symptoms may rectify themselves with time however it is still a good idea to get any checked out.   

It often takes around 3 years, for your period to “regulate”

Things that you should NOT be experiencing!

  • Pain that does not subside with pain relief
  • Pain the leaves you incapacitated or taking days off work or school
  • Pain the extends to the thighs, legs and back
  • Heavy bleeding (changing a full sanitary product every 1-2 hours)
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days
  • Irregular cycle less than 21 day and more than 35 or if they stop altogether
  • Passing blood clots frequently or that are larger than a 10c piece
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods  
  • Change in bowel movements before or during your period
  • Extreme change in moods around or during your period 
  • Fatigue around or during your period   

Remember, your period pain should NOT be debilitating!

Tracking Apps

Or if you would like a handout for tracking your period – check this out!

Useful Weblinks 

Have a question about your period?

We are here to help!