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Health

How long should my period be? A GP explains

February 15th 2021 / 0 comment

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Dr Johanna Ward explains why there's no such thing as a 'normal-length' period

When you're taught about puberty in school it's often believer that periods last around seven days, but for most people this isn't the case, with periods lasting between three and five days for some, seven and eight for others and even two or three for some people, according to GP Dr Johanna Ward.

To dispel any confusion around how long your period should last, Dr Johanna recorded a video for us answering some of your most asked period questions, including 'how long should my period be?'

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"A normal length period is what is normal for you," says Dr Johanna. "Every single woman will have a different cycle, different duration and a different flow. As long as you're regular in your own way that's a reassuring sign."

"Most people's cycles vary," she tells us. "Some people have a 20-day cycle, some have a 35-day cycle. If you don't know your cycle length it's worth tracking either via an app or manually noting it down. Monitor your flow, duration, period symptoms and mood changes throughout your cycle and see what you discover."

When you first start your period it takes a while for them to get settled because it requires complex communication between the brain, hormones and the ovaries, says Dr Johanna. Once your periods are regular, unless you go on contraception or have a baby, most people maintain a certain kind of regularity until their early 40s when women are perimenopausal and the ovaries start to decline in their production of oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, meaning your periods might become shorter, lighter and more unpredictable. This may go on until you're 51, the average age of menopause in the UK.

There are a variety of things that can change the length of your period, explains Dr Johanna, including contraception, excessive exercise, excessive weightloss, thyroid problems or polycystic ovaries. If you're concerned about irregularities in your period, Dr Johanna recommends making an appointment with your GP.

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MORE GLOSS: 14 unexpected things you should never do on your period

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