If problems with your periods are affecting your life, there’s help and support for you.
Before you see your GP about period problems, it can be useful to keep a diary of your symptoms throughout the menstrual cycle. This can give your doctor a detailed idea of what happens, and when, during your cycle.
It’s usually caused by the womb contracting to push out the blood
Exercise may help relieve the pain, as well as taking over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Hormonal contraception (such as the contraceptive pill, the intrauterine system (IUS), the contraceptive patch or the contraceptive injection) can reduce period pain.
See your GP if the pain is so severe that it affects your daily life.
Read more about period pain.
Some women naturally have heavier periods than others, but if your periods are so heavy that they impact your life, there is help available.
Talk to your GP about your bleeding, including how often you have to change your sanitary protection (towels, tampons or menstrual cup).
Your GP can investigate why you’re experiencing heavy bleeding. These investigations may include a physical examination, blood tests or scans.
Treatments for heavy periods can include
some types of hormonal contraception, such as the intrauterine system (IUS) or the contraceptive pill
tranexamic acid tablets
anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen or mefenamic acid
surgery (depending on the cause)
A period usually lasts 2 to 7 days, with the average period lasting 5 days.
The length of the menstrual cycle varies from woman to woman, but the average is to have periods every 28 days..
But some women have an irregular menstrual cycle.
This is where there is a wide variation in:
the time between your periods (they may arrive early or late)
the amount of blood you lose (periods may be heavy or light)
the number of days the period lasts
Irregular periods can be common during puberty and just before the menopause. Changing your method of contraception can also disturb your normal menstrual cycle.
Stopped or missed periods
There are many reasons why you may miss your period, or why periods may stop altogether.
Some common reasons are:
sudden weight loss
reaching the menopause