What is a period?

A period, also known as menstruation, is when a woman sheds blood and tissue from the lining of her uterus through her vagina.

How often should I expect to get my period?

Periods vary from woman to woman but usually occur monthly. Some women have their period every 21 days and some have it every 35 days. Although there is considerable variation in periods, if you are getting your period more frequently than every 3 weeks or less frequently than every 5-6 weeks, you may want to check in with your doctor.

How many days should I expect to have my period?

Not only is every woman different but every period can be different too. Some periods are longer or shorter than others. Typically, bleeding lasts anywhere from 2 to 7 days.

What are some of the symptoms that can happen when I have my period?

Sometimes periods cause symptoms such as cramps, mood changes, tender breasts, acne, bloating, and fatigue. Again, these symptoms are normal, however, if they are severe, consult with your doctor about how best to control them.

Why is my period late?

It is especially common to have an irregular menstrual cycle for a few years after your first period. Your body just needs some time to adjust. But if your period doesn’t regulate itself within a few years, or suddenly becomes more irregular, you should check in with your doctor to discuss if it could be one of the problems below.

Top ten reasons your period may be missing or late (unrelated to pregnancy and menopause)

  1. Stress

  2. Travel

  3. Illness

  4. Birth control

  5. Low body weight

  6. Extreme exercise

  7. Obesity

  8. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

  9. Uncontrolled diabetes or celiac disease

  10. Thyroid problems

Of course, your period will naturally stop when you start menopause or become pregnant. Breastfeeding also sometimes causes your period to stop.

Reproductive HealthAmy Fan