Duration of menstruation and the periodic cycle in women

The average period lasts 4 to 5 days and the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. But for some women, these periods can be longer or shorter. The blood flow can also be more or less abundant depending on each woman. What could be the reasons for this? When is there cause for concern? Elia Lingerie answers your questions.

Duration of menstruation: what is a menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle corresponds to a precise period: it begins on the first day of the period and ends on the first day of the next period, and so on. It continues when there isno fertilization. From one woman to another, this cycle can vary significantly. This variation can also be observed in the same woman, according to the periods. Thus, instead of the usual 28 days, the menstrual cycle can fluctuate between 21 and 35 days. In a woman with a regular cycle, this is called an early period or a late period.

How long does a period usually last?

The average period lasts between 3 and 7 days. However, it can be shortened or prolonged, depending on the period of life.

Average length of menstruation in teenagers

Menstruation in adolescence is usually between 2 and 7 days, but it can be shorter or longer. Often, periods are irregular in the early years. This means that one menstrual cycle is longer or shorter than the last. Sometimes teenagers may even have no periods (amenorrhea) for several months (if they have had unsafe sex, pregnancy should still be ruled out). Menstrual periods can also vary greatly from one cycle to the next in terms of duration and quantity.

Only 13% of girls have or will have a 28-day menstrual cycle. Fortunately, over time, the length of periods and cycles tend to become more regular, although they still fluctuate somewhat. If, 3 years after menarche, your periods are still very irregular, it is best to make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist to review the situation.

However, there is rarely any reason to worry: in teenagers, irregular periods are, most of the time, linked to a variation in hormone levels. It can also be due to stress, anxiety or depression. It is therefore essential to take care of this problem.

Average length of menstruation in adult women

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

Does hormonal contraception affect the length of menstruation?

Some contraceptive methods can indeed have an influence on the length of menstruation. There are three types of contraception: hormonal, progestin-only and non-hormonal.

Hormonal contraception

Hormonal contraceptives include

  • the traditional contraceptive pill ;
  • the vaginal 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 that sperm cannot pass through. Because of the absence of ovulation, the endometrium (the lining of the uterus responsible for menstruation) proliferates less, if at all. Bleeding is therefore less important and, potentially, less long. Periods are also less painful.

Progestin-only contraception

Progestin-based contraceptives include

  • the micropill or micro progestin pill (contains a low dose of synthetic progestin)
  • injectable progestins ;
  • the contraceptive implant;
  • the hormonal IUD (which diffuses a synthetic hormone similar to progesterone).

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

The micropill is taken continuously. As a result, women no longer have periods (some light bleeding is sometimes observed). Other progestin-only contraceptives often shorten periods and make them less abundant. In 20 to 30% of women, the implant even stops menstruation in part or in full during the first few years.

Non-hormonal contraception

The copper intrauterine device (IUD) is one of the main non-hormonal contraceptives. Copper works by making sperm inactive. This is called spermicide. With this type of contraceptive, the cycle is therefore natural. On the other hand, the copper IUD can be responsible for long and heavy periods, especially in the 6 months following its installation. The cause? An inflammation of the uterus. In principle, this inflammation disappears with time.

How to calculate the next date of your period?

Menstruation occurs 14 days after ovulation. If you have a 32-day cycle, for example, you will ovulate on the 18th day of the cycle (32 - 14). However, if you have irregular periods, it is difficult to know when you will ovulate. To estimate the date of your next period, first calculate the average length of your menstrual cycle. Then add the number of days from the date of your last period. Consider keeping a menstrual calendar.

What should I do if I have an irregular period?

An isolated irregularity is not a cause for concern. On the other hand, if your periods are irregular over several cycles, you should look for the cause. This can be mechanical, psychological or hormonal.

Periods lasting less than 3 days

Do you often have short periods, but are not taking a contraceptive that could explain this phenomenon? There are many other causes:insufficient estrogen levels (this is especially true for thin women), too much sports, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, certain medications (anti-epileptics and neuroleptics, in particular). Only your gynecologist will be able to make a reliable diagnosis and suggest anappropriate treatment.

Periods lasting more than 7 days

If, on the other hand, your periods regularly last longer than 7 days, it is better to consult your doctor, especially if your periods are hemorrhagic. Stillwithout contraception, this can hide different health problems (hormonal imbalance, uterine fibroids...). Rest assured, most of them are benign.

When it comes to menstruation, every woman is different. Therefore, it is not necessarily worrying to have a shorter or longer than average period and/or menstrual cycle. In any case, menstrual panties remain your best ally! Safe, discreet and comfortable, they are also available in different absorption levels. On the Elia Lingerie e-shop, you can choose among many models, each one more elegant than the other!

The FAQ of the duration of the period

What is the normal length of a period?

Red periods are normal. They usually take this color in the middle of the cycle, when the discharge is abundant and does not have time to oxidize. This is the most common type of period.

When to consider the end of the period?

On average, menstruation 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 is my period only 3 days long?

Menstruation can be short for several reasons: progestogen contraception, practicing a high-level sport, low estrogen levels linked, for example, to extreme thinness, thyroid disorder, taking anti-epileptic medication....

Why do periods decrease?

From one cycle to another, menstruation can be more or less abundant. This is often the case with teenagers, because their hormonal system is not yet mature enough.

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