Menstrual cycles - how much do you know?

The length of a Menstrual cycle is different for every woman; it is normal to have a period every 28 days. However, if your cycle is 21-40 days this is perfectly normal as well!

For some of you that may not know, the menstrual cycle is the first day of your period to the day before your next period. On average a woman will have around 480 periods in her lifetime.

What is a period?

A period is made up of blood and lining of the womb. A period should last between 2-7 days, most women experience a period for 5 days. During this time most women will lose 3-5 tablespoons of blood.

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is when one of the eggs is released from one of your ovaries. Once an egg has left the ovary, it will live for up to 24-hour hours. During this time, if sperm meets the egg then it will become fertile.

Here are some abnormal signs to look out for

  • Periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart

  • Missing three or more periods in a row

  • Menstrual flow that is much heavier or lighter than usual

  • Periods that last longer than seven days

  • Periods that are accompanied by pain, cramping, nausea or vomiting

  • Bleeding or spotting that happens between periods, after menopause or following sex


What could be causing my abnormal menstrual cycle?

  • Stress and lifestyle factors

  • Birth control pills

  • Endometriosis

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Uterine polyps


If you have any concerns about your menstrual cycle or think that there is an abnormality contact a gynaecologist.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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