Is there a such thing as a perfectly regular menstrual cycle?
How many times have you heard someone tell you that they have a perfectly regular menstrual cycle? How often do you find that your period comes at the exact same time every single month? For most women, having a completely regularly scheduled menstrual cycle is not the norm. Only about 15% of women have the perfect 28-day menstrual cycle! So, if you’ve ever felt abnormal for not getting your period at the exact same predicted time every month, don’t be so hard on yourself-- you’re perfectly normal. In fact, the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle can change constantly throughout her life, making irregularities a common occurrence amongst women.
Most menstrual cycles last between 23 and 36 days.
Also, it’s important to remember that “anything that affects the balance of your reproductive hormones can affect your cycle’s length as well as your symptoms and the length and heaviness of your period.” The length of typical cycles is determined by age, genes, health, body mass index (BMI), behaviors and birth control methods. What may be one woman’s normal menstrual cycle won’t be another woman’s normal menstrual cycle based on those things! At least 30% of women have reported to have an irregular cycle.
Some qualifications of an irregular period can include it coming more frequently than 21 days, going 35 days or more in between periods and the length of your cycle always varies greatly. When talking about irregular periods, you’re referring to the length of your cycle. It can be too short, too long or just inconsistent. As previously stated, having a completely perfect menstrual cycle is not the cast for most women, but you should still see your gynecologist if you feel that there has been heavier bleeding, prolonged bleeding and even never having your period.
You may be wondering, what are some of the most common signs and reasons for a cycle varying in length? Four of the most common reasons are life stages/pregnancy (after menarche years after menstruation begins and perimenopause when the cycle comes to an ed), contraceptives (changing or stopping birth control, intrauterine devices, emergency contraception), sleep/wake cycles ( sleep changes, traveling over long periods of time) and physical/emotional changes (stress, changes in your diet, intense exercise or training and substance use).
All in all, as women continue to get older their menstrual cycles will continue to vary. Their menstrual cycle in their 20s won’t be the same in their 40s, and that’s okay! Ladies, take advantage of all of the great tracker apps that are out there, that way you can always keep track of the length of your menstrual cycle. You get to see when changes occur and more importantly why they occur.
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