Is it normal for your period to last longer than 10 days?
Sometimes your menstrual flow lasts longer than usual. This doesn't always mean you have a health problem. However, it is best to check with your gynecologist to be sure everything is okay.
- Some periods that last longer than 10 days are normal, while some indicate underlying medical conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory diseases.
- Medical conditions, hormones, stress and lifestyle can cause long periods. They are some of the possible reasons your period can last longer than 10 days.
- If your period lasts more than 10 days, the only way to be certain a medical issue is not the cause is by seeing a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Having long period is not as uncommon as you think. For some people and in certain situations, a period that lasts longer than 10 days is normal. Usually, menstrual flow lasts 2 to 8 days, and bleeding for more than eight days is sometimes considered long.
The duration of the period flow varies from person-to-person because of differences in lifestyle, medications a person takes, and changes in hormones. Reproductive hormones work in harmony to influence your period. As your cycle progresses, one hormone often triggers the other, which then triggers the next, moving the cycle through its different phases.
When one hormone doesn't do its job, things could slow down—or stop, thereby creating changes in the pace and timing of your cycle, causing your flow to either last longer or shorter.
Heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding is a common disorder known as menorrhagia. Even though heavy periods are common, most people don't lose enough blood to be diagnosed with menorrhagia.
If getting your period scares you because you have such heavy menstrual bleeding, talk with your doctor. There are many effective treatments for menorrhagia and heavy bleeding in general. In some cases, taking hormonal birth control pills or switching the type of hormonal medication with a doctor's prescription can help you find relief.
Is it normal for your period to last longer than 10 days? What medical conditions can cause long periods, and when should you see a healthcare professional? These are all areas we will cover in this article.
What it means when your period lasts longer than 10 days
It is important to know how long your period should last. The menstrual cycle runs for about 21 to 40 days, and menstrual bleeding can last 2 to 10 days during each cycle. However, what is normal for you may not be normal for someone else.
Periods that last longer than 10 days could be a sign of endometriosis, uterine fibroids, endometrial (uterine) polyps, adenomyosis, or, less often, a precancerous or cancerous lesion of the uterus. A long period can also result from hormonal imbalances, like hypothyroidism (the over or underproduction of the thyroid hormone) or a bleeding disorder.
Having longer periods doesn't always mean you have these conditions. It could be that your body is undergoing changes due to chemical and physical reactions. By keeping track of your menstrual cycle, you can figure out what's normal for you as well as identify and raise concerns that should be addressed.
Find out how to tell when your period is about to start.
If you also experience intense period flu symptoms in addition to prolonged bleeding, it will be much more necessary to see a doctor. If you feel unwell before or during your period, a doctor can help you determine the severity of symptoms, diagnose you, and recommend period flu treatment options.
For prolonged flow, supplementing or eating high-iron foods such as red meat, spinach, and eggs, or taking an iron supplement, may help prevent anemia and anemia symptoms like fatigue.
Why periods that last longer than 10 days is not considered normal
Periods lasting longer than 10 days are not always considered normal because most people see their period within 2–8 days. For some people, it may seem like the bleeding doesn't stop, continuing throughout the entire month. It is right for you to get examined when your menstrual flow lasts longer than your normal days.
However, people who have short cycles perceive longer periods differently. The time between cycles is counted from the first day of your period to the first day of the next. A woman with a 24-day cycle or less, with eight or 10 days of bleeding, will experience only 14–16 days period-free. This may make it seem like you're always having your period, even though you do not have a health issue.
But if your period lasts longer than 10 days, you should probably see a doctor, especially if you haven't always had longer periods.
Underlying health conditions that can cause longer periods
A visit to your gynecologist or general practitioner is the first step in determining why you're having more menstrual bleeding than usual.
A series of tests, such as blood tests to check hormone levels and look for signs of an iron deficiency, pap smears, endometrial biopsies, abdominal or transvaginal ultrasounds, hysteroscopy, laparoscopic surgery, and other procedures, would be conducted to be able to diagnose you.
There are a lot of medical conditions that can affect your menstrual cycle and cause your periods to come and go at odd times or not at all, including:
Adenomyosis causes the uterus to thicken and enlarge. It occurs when the endometrial tissue grows into the myometrium, the outer muscular walls of the uterus. This extra tissue can cause the uterus to be double or triple in size, leading to abnormal uterine bleeding and long and painful periods.
These are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They vary in size, from one speck to several bulky masses. These fibroids can lead to heavy bleeding and periods that last longer than a week.
This is a condition where uterine lining tissue grows where it shouldn't, like outside the uterus, in places like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. As your uterine lining thickens and sheds throughout your cycle, so does the lining tissue that grows outside the uterus. This can cause various symptoms, such as excessive bleeding and longer periods. In addition, endometriosis can cause significant pain.
These are small, noncancerous growths that appear on (not inside) the uterus wall, usually called endometrial polyps. Polyps are usually round or oval-shaped. Symptoms include irregular bleeding and sometimes bleeding after menopause.
5.Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that often includes excess levels of the male hormone androgen, which is usually present in women in small amounts. This is a hormone imbalance that can affect ovulation and periods. Unhealthy levels of this hormone can cause long, heavy, and irregular periods.
This is a condition in which the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, becomes too thick. An excess level of the hormone estrogen is often to blame.
Hypothyroidism, also called "underactive thyroid disease," happens when the thyroid gland doesn't make enough of its hormone. If this hormone is produced too much or too little, it can lead to long, heavy, and irregular periods. This is quite similar to PCOS.
This occurs when the blood does not clot properly, leading to heavy menstrual bleeding.
9.Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
PID is an infection in the female reproductive organs that is often transmitted during sex and is caused by different types of bacteria from a sexually transmitted infection (STI). But PID can also be caused by normal bacteria found in the vagina. You can get PID if the bacteria migrate from your vagina into your reproductive organs.
10.Intrauterine device (IUD)
A copper IUD can cause heavier menstrual bleeding, especially in the first year of use. Both hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs can cause heavy or irregular bleeding immediately after insertion.
Although rare, this cancer of the uterine lining is the most serious cause of prolonged menstrual bleeding. About 90% of people with endometrial cancer have abnormal and irregular vaginal bleeding. Non-cancer problems can also cause abnormal bleeding. But it's important to have a doctor check out any irregular bleeding right away.
If your doctor figures out what's going on, they may prescribe birth control pills or other hormones to get your hormones back in balance.
Other factors that can affect the duration of your period
Even though longer periods could be a sign of a serious health problem, the following factors can also affect the duration of your period:
As you grow older, your menstrual cycles change, especially during perimenopause (the time leading up to menopause). Some cycles may be skipped and then followed by a heavy cycle. Some people may also have intermittent menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.
The average menstrual cycle for women in their late 30s and 40s tends to be shorter cycles with heavier bleeding. There is also variation in the number of days of bleeding or the amount of flow during this period.
Lifestyle changes, such as suddenly starting intense workouts, can also affect your periods. Practice and maintain a healthy lifestyle by exercising moderately and eating nutritious foods. If you have to lose weight, do so gradually instead of limiting your food intake. Use birth control pills or other contraceptive methods as directed.
Every four to six hours, you should change your tampon or sanitary napkin to avoid toxic shock syndrome and infections. See a doctor for regular checkups.
Strenuous activities, such as excessive and strenuous exercise and sports, could cause irregular menstruation. Make sure you get enough rest. Practice stress reduction and relaxation techniques.
Pregnancy is another cause of long-lasting bleeding that might be mistaken for a long period, especially if the person has a miscarriage early in the pregnancy, unless tests show otherwise. It is important that you have an at-home pregnancy test, especially if you're sexually active.
Until you know for sure whether you're pregnant or not, you should treat yourself as though you are until you have gone to the doctor to confirm and know how far along you are. Even if you are not sexually active and have unusually long and heavy periods, see a doctor to find out why.
Is prolonged menstrual bleeding always a cause for concern?
Prolonged menstrual bleeding is not always a cause for concern, as it is normal for some people. Long-duration menstruation might be a mild issue that can be easily fixed or one that indicates a more serious underlying health issue, depending on a doctor's diagnosis.
Women vary greatly in the range of their cycles. Some people have long periods during some or all of their cycles, while others have shorter ones.
If you have prolonged bleeding, keep in mind that heavier or longer periods can increase your chances of anemia. You should seek medical attention when you notice any abnormal changes.
When to see your doctor for menstrual disorders
You should see a doctor if you notice changes in more than three cycles. But if you have a long period of only one month, there's probably no need to worry.
You should see your doctor if you just got an IUD and are bleeding a lot between your periods for no obvious reason.
Also, if you've passed menopause and notice that you bleed, especially regularly or heavily, you should see your doctor immediately. People who are going through menopause are usually past their ovulation years, so they shouldn't still be getting their periods.
Finally, nobody knows your body better than you do. If something doesn't feel right, contact your provider immediately to determine the next steps. You don't have to wait until things worsen before seeing a healthcare provider. It is a great opportunity to talk about the changes you have noticed with your menstrual cycle and body and get more informed about them.
Find out why you feel unwell in the days leading up to and during your period in this article on period flu.