This is a very common and perfectly normal question, but it’ s also somewhat taboo because, as we can all agree, it’ s difficult to talk about. Still, the phenomenon of menstruation has affected half the world’s population since the dawn of time. Rest assured, you’ re not the only one who has questions about periods!

In fact, all of us have at one time or another wondered about this often sudden and sometimes painful process where we lose blood from the most intimate part of our body!

A quick reminder... The mechanism of menstruation and vaginal bleeding

Periods: this is an inevitable stage that contributes to the transformation from girl to young woman through the physical evolution of our body.

 

Periods, or menstruation, involve the detachment of our endometrium, made up of endometrial cells, which causes vaginal bleeding for a period of 3 to 8 days. This phenomenon is complex and unique in the body, involving many mechanisms, notably inflammatory mechanisms (prostaglandins).

 

To renew the endometrium quickly, our uterus reduces blood flow, induces severe swelling, and increases the flow of white blood cells (releasing proteins from the inflammation). These three actions cause the prolonged inflammation necessary to shed the endometrium. Uterine contractions then facilitate the expulsion of this mucous membrane along with blood.

 

Periods are determined by the hormonal cycle, which is different for each woman and can also change throughout her life. These variations are connected to ovarian function and dependent on the ovarian reserve, which are features of the female body, but can also be due to the use of hormonal treatments.

So, ... normal or abnormal periods?

Normal periods

It’s important to note that so-called “normal” periods are difficult to define because they are so variable from woman to woman (age, weight, genetics, etc.).
In fact, as with any phenomenon in the human body, menstruation can be perceived and interpreted differently depending on how much you understand and your perception of pain and bleeding.

The good news is that there are standards for what is considered a ”normal” period:

1. The start of your period marks the beginning of the menstrual cycle: this is Day 0.. Bleeding should last between 3 and 8 days.  

2. Menstruation occurs every 28 days (length of the menstrual cycle). A variation of between 21 and 35 days is considered normal.  

3. Normal periods are regular .They are triggered according to the length of the menstrual cycle which is constant. 

4. Bleeding is limited to 80 ml per day (i.e., 1/3 of a coffee cup) and the first two days of the period are usually the heaviest. Important : The amount of bleeding varies over a lifetime and is difficult to assess. However, the presence of small clots and/or the overflow of blood from your sanitary pads should be taken as a warning sign (see our section on abnormal periods).

5. Period pains can also vary according to your age and time of life, BUT they are still considered normal if the intensity is < 6 out of 10, for short periods of time, and don’t cause discomfort or absence from school or work.   

LUNA advises you

In this situation, you can take simple and effective treatments such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (e.g., Antadys, Profenid) or antispasmodics (e.g, Spasfon) to limit the pain sensation.  

6.Finally, your period, even if normal, may be accompanied by migraines, minor digestive problems, a change in mood and/or fatigue. Don’t panic! These symptoms are considered normal if they don’t affect your quality of life. 

Abnormal periods

Despite the standards mentioned above, we need to remind you that it can be difficult to define abnormal periods.
One more thing: periods can vary from one cycle to the next! This means that you will need to experience several cycles of abnormal periods before you start to worry.
Medical advice is needed if:

1. You experience irregular periods, with a hormonal cycle that is sometimes short (less than 21 days) and sometimes long (more than 35 days).  

2. Your periods are heavy, requiring a very frequent change of sanitary protection during the day and/or if you detect clots and overflow.  

3. You have a period of less than 3 days or a period of more than 8 days.  

4. You have a pain rating of more than 6 on a scale of 10 during your period.  

5. Your period is accompanied by significant general symptoms (nausea, vomiting, discomfort, digestive problems, etc.) that affect your daily life: for example, if it prevents you from going to school or work.

LUNA helps you :

The LUNA and Me and Calendar features allow you to use the EVA scales to determinatethe extent and impact of your pain and other menstrual cycle abnormalities. They enable you to assess whether your experience is normal or not and refer you for medical attention.


Co-authored and scientifically validated by Dr Jean-Philippe Estrade,

Gynecological surgeon and expert in endometriosis at the Clairval Private Hospital and the Bouchard Clinic, in Marseille.


Lire aussi : LUNA explains : What Is The Endometriosis ?