Long Menstrual Cycle – When Is It Time To Worry?
The menstrual cycle of women is often a perplexing and confusing monthly occurrence. It almost seems as if more women fall victim to an irregular menstrual cycle than have a normal monthly menses. It can be scary to have a period that seems largely out of whack whether you are experiencing excessive pain and discomfort, a short menstrual cycle that comes and goes more than once a month, excessively heavy bleeding or very light bleeding, or skipping or missing periods entirely. One rather common complaint is that of a long menstrual cycle, or one that lasts more than 7 or 10 days. The typical period hangs around for about 4 days; however this varies quite greatly from person to person. Really, defining “normal” when it comes to periods is an undertaking in itself as everything from a female hormone imbalance to stress can cause your period to seem off kilter.
You can lay your fears to rest because typically, a long menstrual cycle is nothing more than you simply getting the short end of the stick and getting saddled with a quarter of a month headache that can keep you out of the pool or white jeans for longer than your girlfriends. However, there are times when a long menstrual cycle can be abnormal and you may want to see a health care provider. Under normal circumstances, a long menstrual cycle will entail a few days of regular flow and a few days of very light flow. In some cases, women experiencing a long menstrual cycle will find that all of their flow is very light. You should consider an appointment with your health care provider however, if you are experiencing a very heavy flow along with an extended duration. Are you soaking a tampon every hour? Is how much you are bleeding interfering with your daily life or activities? Long and heavy flow can indicate an abnormal menstrual cycle and there could be underlying causes that need to be evaluated by a gynecologist.
Both PID and ectopic pregnancy can create some duration and flow irregularities in the menses, and this is why an evaluation with a health care provider is worthwhile. You may need medicine to treat these conditions or other treatment up to and including surgery. However, even if you don’t have a serious underlying cause of your problems, it’s not uncommon for medications to be used to treat irregular periods for various symptoms, and you will find that you can kick the menstrual cycle calculator after just a couple of months of use of some of these medications. Remember also that lifestyle causes such as obesity can contribute to long and heavy periods and if you are overweight or under active, it is likely worthwhile to correct these issues as well as doing so can potentially treat your condition without medication. You know your body best, and you will have to decide if your long menstrual cycle is something you can live with, something that you don’t want to be burdened with, or something that you need to seek medical care for.