A period is universal to women. For many of us, we were welcomed to womanhood when we first got our periods (though in truth, actual womanhood probably didn't come until years later). We may sometimes view our period as inconvenient or s a nuisance. But your period (and your whole menstrual cycle) can tell you much about the state of your health!
What do we mean when we say period? We're specifically talking about a bleed that follows ovulation. This is important because if a bleed doesn't follow ovulation, it isn't a true period. It is marked by specific hormones, and triggered by the withdrawal of other hormones.
For this reason, the majority of bleeds while on hormonal birth control aren't true periods - they don't follow ovulation and the hormones that balance out our cycles. These hormones - mainly estrogens (actually a group of hormones) and progesterone - are important to keep the rest of your body systems well-regulated and healthy.
So what does a natural, normal period look like?
While we universally accept that period pain is part of having a period, this isn't actually true. While it may be common to have period pain, it isn't normal. Discomfort and minor cramping are considered normal, but pain - especially the type that stops you from going about your normal activities - is something you should address with your provider. You can also check out this blog to learn about the possible ways to decrease cramps.
Contrary to what social media and Hollywood would have you believe, a slight variance in when your period appears is incredibly normal and expected. Your period should appear every 24-35 days in order to be considered normal, but your own period should be more predictable (such as starting every 24-26 days, or 30-33 days). A shorter or longer cycle may indicate a hormonal imbalance.
A typical period should last 3-6 days. You may experience some spotting before a full flow starts, but then it should be medium to heavy flow for the first day or two, then taper off. You may experience small clots, but you shouldn't have large clots.
Remember the first day of your period is the first day you have a full flow of blood (spotting is not considered the first day of your period).
As far as blood loss, with a heavy bleed, you shouldn't fill a pad or tampon more frequently than every 3-4 hours. Over the course of your period, you should bleed about 3 oz, although there is plenty of variance between individuals.
How Tempdrop Helps
Tempdrop can help you have a better experience with your period. When you track your cycle with Tempdrop, you'll be able to confirm if and when you are ovulating and know when to expect your next period. It will never surprise you again.
If you do experience severe period pain, you can prepare in davance but also have the data to know your cycle and use to address the underlying issues. (Remember period pain is common, but not normal).
The data you gather will be useful to help you get answers about anything abnormal in your cycle.