Duration of periods and the periodic cycle in women

The average periods lasts 4 to 5 days, and the average menstrual cycle 28 days. For some women, however, these durations may be longer or, on the contrary, shorter. Blood flow can also be more or less abundant, depending on the individual. What are the reasons for this? When is there cause for concern? s Elia Lingerie answers your questions.


Duration of periods : what is a menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle corresponds to a precise period: it begins on the first day of the periods to end on the first day of the following periods , and so on. It continues in theabsence of fertilization. From one woman to another, this cycle can vary significantly. This variation can also be observed within the same woman, depending on the period. For example, instead of the usual 28 days, the menstrual cycle can fluctuate between 21 and 35 days. For a woman with a regular cycle, this is referred to as periods early or, conversely, periods late

How long does periods usually last?

The average duration of periods is between 3 and 7 days. However, it can be shortened or extended, depending on the stage of life.

Average duration of periods in adolescents

The duration of periods in adolescence is generally between 2 and 7 days, but can be shorter or longer. periods are often irregular in the early years. This means that one menstrual cycle is longer or shorter than the previous ones. Sometimes, teenagers may even experience an absence of periods (amenorrhea) for several months (in the event of risky sexual intercourse, pregnancy should still be ruled out). From one cycle to the next, periods can also vary considerably in terms of duration and quantity.

Only 13% of girls have or will have a 28-day menstrual cycle. Fortunately, with time, the duration of periods and cycles tends to become more regular, even if it does fluctuate somewhat. If, 3 years after menarche, periods are still very irregular, it's best to make an appointment with your GP or gynecologist to take stock of the situation. 

sHowever, there's rarely any cause for concern: in lteens, irregularperiods are, in most cases, linked to fluctuating hormone levels. The phenomenon can also be caused by stress, anxiety or depression l. In these cases, it is essential to take action.

Average duration of periods in adult women

In adults, periods can last up to 7 days, with bleeding often heavy during the first 2 days. This bleeding then gradually diminishes over the following days. As with teenagers, there are frequent variations in both the duration of periods and the length of the menstrual cycle. The cause? Hormonal changes during reproductive life. 

Does hormonal contraception affect the duration of periods ?

Certain contraceptive methods can have an influence on the duration of periods. There are three types of contraception: hormonal, progestin-only and non-hormonal.

Hormonal contraception

Hormonal contraceptives include :

  • the conventional contraceptive pill;
  • lvaginal ring ;
  • the contraceptive patch.

These contraceptives contain both a progestin and an estrogen. They work by blocking ovulation and keeping the cervical mucus (located at the cervix) impermeable, so as to block the passage of spermatozoa. In the absence of ovulation, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus responsible for periods) proliferates less, if at all. This means less bleeding and, potentially, shorter periods of bleeding. periods are also less painful.

Progestin-only contraception

Progestin-based contraceptives include :

  • the micropill or microprogestogen pill (contains a low dose of synthetic progestin);
  • injectable progestins ;
  • lcontraceptive implant;
  • hormonal IUDs (diffuse a synthetic hormone similar to progesterone).

SWhile they do not suppress ovulation, they do thicken cervical mucus to act as a barrier to spermatozoa.

The micropill is taken continuously. As a result, women no longer experience periods (some light bleeding may occur). Other progestin-only contraceptives often have the effect of shortening periods and making them less abundant. In 20-30% of women, the implant even stops periods in part or in its entirety in the first few years.

Non-hormonal contraception

The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is one of the main non-hormonal contraceptives. Copper acts by rendering sperm inactive. This is known as spermicide. With this type of contraceptive, the cycle is therefore natural. On the other hand, the copper IUD can cause periods long, heavy periods, particularly in the 6 months following insertion. The cause? Inflammation of the uterus. This usually resolves itself over time.

How to calculate the next date of your periods ?

The periods occur 14 days after ovulation. If you have a 32-day cycle, for example, ovulation will take place on the 18th day of the cycle (32 - 14). In the case of irregular periods , however, it's difficult to know your ovulation date. To estimate the date of your next periods, first calculate the average length of your menstrual cycle. Then add the number of days from the date of your last periods. Keep a menstrual calendar.

What should I do if periods is irregular?

An isolated disturbance is nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if your periods are irregular over several cycles, you need to look for the cause. This may be mechanical, psychological or hormonal.

periods less than 3 days old

Do you often have shortperiods , but aren't taking any contraceptives that might explain this phenomenon? There are many other causes:inadequate estrogen levels (this sis particularly true of slim women), over-intensive sports activities, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, certain medications (anti-epileptics and neuroleptics, in particular). Only your gynaecologist will be able to make a reliable diagnosis and suggest anappropriate course of treatment.

periods over 7 days

If, on the other hand, your periods regularly lasts longer than 7 days, it's even better to seek advice, especially if your periods are haemorrhagic. Again, in theabsence of contraception, this may conceal various health problems (hormonal imbalance, uterine fibroids...). Rest assured, most are benign.

When it comes to menstruation, every woman is different. So it's not necessarily a cause for concern if your menstrual period periods and/or longer-than-average menstrual cycles. Whatever the case, period pants remains your best ally! Safe, discreet and comfortable, it's also available in different absorption levels. On the Elia Lingerie e-shop, choose from a wide range of models, each more elegant than the last!

The FAQ for the duration of periods

What is the normal duration of periods ?

Red periods are normal. They generally take on this color towards the middle of the cycle, when losses are abundant and there is no time to s'oxidize. They are the most common.

When to consider the end of periods ?

The average periods lasts between 3 and 7 days. But for some women, they can be shorter or longer. Various factors can explain this phenomenon (age, contraception used, health problems, etc.).

Why do my periods only last 3 days?

periods can be short for a number of reasons: progestin-only contraception, high-performance sports, low estrogen levels linked, for example, to extreme slimming, thyroid disorders, anti-epileptic medication....

Why is periods shrinking?

lFrom one cycle to the next, periods can be more or less abundant. This is often the case with teenage girls, as their hormonal system is not yet sufficiently mature.

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