Period Problems: What's Normal and What's Not?
Doesn’t matter how long you’ve had your period, you’re probably real familiar with the issues your period can bring. Cramping, heavy bleeding, migraines, irregular periods, or even missing your period altogether (scary times)…Aunt Flo can be intense. And when it comes to period problems, it’s hard to tell what’s normal - and when it’s something you should consider talking to your doctor about. With most period problems, as long as they’re manageable and not really getting in the way of your life, you’re good.
But if you’re still not sure, here are some tips:
• Pain - Cramps aren’t fun, but they’re pretty normal. Cramps can be anywhere from kinda uncomfortable to seriously painful. Hit up the nearest pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens and get a pain reliever like Midol or Tylenol (look for the drug acetaminophen), or Motrin (look for the drug ibuprofen). If that doesn’t help or your cramps are so bad you can’t go to school, or you throw up, definitely talk to your doctor.
• Heavy bleeding - So, we should probably clear up what’s “heavy,” because all women bleed different amounts. Just because your bestie has a super light period, doesn’t mean you should worry about using heavy duty tampons. Some periods might be heavier than others, or you’ll bleed more the first couple days - and that’s totally fine. But, if you’re going through pads or tampons every hour or you’re bleeding WAY more than normal, you should talk to your doctor to rule out any weird issues and help manage the bleeding.
• Irregular Periods - Not all surprises are good surprises. You know what I mean, if you’ve ever had your period show up on the wrong day, at the worst time. Irregular periods happen for a whole bunch of reasons (stress, exercise, travel) and even girls whose periods run like clockwork can have a surprise visit or two. But, if you NEVER know when it’s coming, that can be a sign of something bigger - so make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is okay.
• PMS – So…about those lovely little symptoms that give us the heads up that Aunt Flo is on the way. PMS is real, girl. Some of us get lucky and get off with sore boobs and a short temper, while the rest us might feel intense mood swings, migraines, bloating, and tiredness. You probably don’t want to hear this but... PMS is just part of life. But - if you’re feeling like your PMS symptoms are seriously affecting your life, you should bring it up with your doc to see if there’s anything you can do.
And - here’s some real good news. Some types of birth control can help your period problems. Hormonal birth control options like the pill, ring, and patch can help regulate your period, manage the flow, and even reduce cramps. And others, like the IUD and the implant might make your period go away altogether (totally ok, girls).
Talk to your doctor about your period issues to see which birth control type can help you out!
Or – ask Layla. She’s always got you.