Things to Know About Menstrual Delay
Menstruation usually runs on a monthly cycle. This is the process a woman’s body goes through as it prepares for possible pregnancy. During this process, an egg will be released from the ovaries. If this egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus is shed from the vagina during a woman’s menstrual period.
Your menstrual period, also known as a period, usually lasts two to eight days.
Many women experience symptoms during their periods. Some symptoms, such as cramping or mood changes, may begin before the menstrual period. This is often called premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Most women’s menstrual symptoms go away after their period ends.
How Long Does a Full Menstrual Cycle Take?
The full menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of another. It usually takes 21 to 35 days. There are different stages in the menstrual cycle. These:
The follicular phase begins on the first day of menstruation and ends when ovulation begins. At this stage, the ovaries produce follicles that then house eggs. This stimulates the thickening of the lining of the uterus. During this time, there is an increase in estrogen.
The mature egg is released into the fallopian tube and then into the uterus. This typically occurs in about two weeks or about halfway through a woman’s cycle (the day that is mid-cycle).
The body maintains its preparation for pregnancy. This includes an increase in progesterone and a small amount of estrogen. If a fertilized egg is not implanted in the uterus, this stage will end and menstruation will begin. In a 28-day cycle, this phase ends around day 22.
At this stage, the thickened lining of the uterus is shed.
How Do You Know If Your Period Is Irregular?
Many women will experience irregular periods at some point in their lives. It is particularly common for young women to experience highly irregular periods, including very long periods, during the first few years of menstruation. One to three years after their menstrual period starts, their periods usually shorten and stabilize.
Irregular periods; It includes periods that are lighter, heavier, arrive unpredictably, or last longer or shorter than average. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, it is estimated that between 14 and 25 percent of women have what is classified as “irregular” cycles.
However, if your periods are less than 21 days or more than 35 days, there may be another underlying cause of the irregularity. In this case, you should make an appointment with your doctor.
What Affects How Long Your Period Lasts?
There are a number of different factors that affect your cycle. For example, as you get older, your period will become lighter and more regular.
Using a new contraceptive, including birth control pills, vaginal rings, and IUDs, may make you irregular at first. Many birth control methods can cause long, symptomatic periods for the first one to three months after you start taking them, in some cases these may even appear over time.
Other factors that can make you irregular or cause changes in your menstrual cycle include:
- extreme weight loss
- extreme exercise
- infections to the reproductive organs, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- increased stress
- dietary changes
How is the menstrual period regulated?
Many women like to regulate their menstrual cycle. Regulating the menstrual cycle focuses on strategies and treatments to ensure that a woman’s period is within a specific time frame and lasts between “normal” for a period of two to eight days.
The most common way to regulate the menstrual cycle is with birth control pills or other similar hormonal contraceptives such as the patch or NuvaRing. Some of these contraceptive methods will trigger a woman’s period once a month, while others may give her a period every three or six months.
Other methods of regulating the menstrual cycle may include treating eating disorders that cause severe weight loss or changing diet and lifestyle. If you can reduce stress, that can also reduce the irregularity of your period.
When Should You See a Doctor?
While every woman is a little different and her “normal” will be unique, there are situations where you should talk to your healthcare provider. These situations include:
- If your period becomes irregular after being stable and regular for a long time.
- If you are not pregnant but have not had a period for more than 90 days.
- If you think you may be pregnant.
- If your period lasts more than eight days.
- If you bleed much more than usual.
- If you need to change more than one tampon or pad every two hours.
- If you feel severe pain during menstrual period.
- If your menstrual periods last more than 35 days or less than 21 days.
If you suddenly get a fever and experience flu-like symptoms after using tampons, seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms may indicate a dangerous complication called toxic shock syndrome.
When you ask how long your menstrual period lasts, it’s easy for women to give a definitive answer. However, every woman is different and has her own normal. Tracking your unique cycle each month will help you spot trends and patterns so you can spot any changes as soon as they happen.
You should make an appointment with your gynecologist, especially if you experience sudden changes in your period that you don’t believe are stress related, among other new symptoms.
Healthline, How Long Does Your Period Last?, 2017
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- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2016). Women’s health: Menstrual cycle: What’s normal, what’s not.
- Menstruation and the menstrual cycle. (2017).
- What are menstrual irregularities? (n.d.).