I’d only been menstruating for a few years when I realized my period lasted longer than usual, not just for me, but just in general.
Instead of bleeding for 2 – 7 days, I was bleeding for 7 – 12 days.
As an adult, it’s a nightmare. As a teenager, it was torture!
Because my periods were (are) difficult, my schedule would be affected because of cramps and discomfort.
We anticipate our menstrual cycles to be a certain length and duration,
When our periods last longer than usual, it can be concerning.
Let’s look at a few of the reasons why a period might be long, and what you can do about it.
Why your period is longer than usual
First, I want to be clear that a normal period varies from person to person.
The average length of a period is three to seven days.
Generally, a period that lasts longer than seven days is considered a long period.
- Hormonal imbalances
Hormonal imbalances can affect your cycle, making your period longer or shorter. If you have an imbalance in estrogen or progesterone, it can cause your period to be longer than usual.
- Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths that can develop in the uterus. They can cause heavy bleeding during menstruation and, as a result, make your period last longer. I’ve had fibroids for years, and know that this is the cause of my long and heavy periods.
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it. It can cause painful, heavy, and long periods.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. It can cause irregular periods, heavy bleeding, pain, and longer periods.
- Blood clotting disorders
Certain blood clotting disorders (like Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) can cause heavy bleeding during periods.
Managing your period length
If you notice that your period is longer than usual, it’s essential to speak with your doctor.
They’ll help determine the underlying cause of your long period and provide appropriate treatment.
In addition to seeing your doctor, there are some other steps you can take to help manage your period and reduce its length.
- Practice good self-care. Eat a balanced diet, get enough rest, and manage stress to help keep your hormones in balance and reduce the likelihood of a long period.
- Use menstrual products with the right absorbency. Use the appropriate absorbency level for your flow to prevent leaks and reduce the need for frequent changes.
- Take over-the-counter period pain medication. Pain relievers like ibuprofen can help relieve cramps and reduce the length of your period.
- Consider hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control, such as the pill or IUD, can help regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce the length of your period.
- Try a menstrual cup. When I started using a menstrual cup instead of tampons, I noticed my periods get lighter and shorter. These are the best menstrual cups, including the ones I use.
- Heat therapy. I have found that regularly using a heating pad during my period reduces cramps and keeps my bleeding days down.
Every person’s menstrual cycle is unique, and it’s important to pay attention to changes in your period.
Talk to your doctor, and together you can find a solution that works perfectly for you.