Remember when you first learned about the menstrual cycle in health class?
Your teacher showed you a diagram of your female reproductive organs and explained in clinical terms how the ovary releases an egg once per cycle. If that egg isn't fertilized, the lining that built up inside the womb sheds — and that is the menstrual fluid.
You were probably told that a normal period is 28 days long, and they happen every month. But is the 28 day period truly the only “normal” cycle?
Actually, it’s not. You can have regular and normal periods that are either shorter or longer. So let’s look at why that is — and why we’ve been fed the myth of the 28 day cycle.
Why are menstrual periods different lengths?
There are many reasons why your regular menstrual cycle is shorter or longer than 28 days as we’ve been taught.
You have brown hair and blue eyes, and you’re 5 feet 6 inches tall. Your girlfriend has black hair and brown eyes, and she’s 5 feet 2 inches tall. Just like no two women are exactly alike in appearance (except for maybe twins), no two women have exactly the same periods.
The Hormonal Dance
Periods are influenced by the cascade of different hormones throughout the cycle. The menstrual cycle is influenced by follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) to help release an egg and help promote pregnancy, and varying levels of rising and falling estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone through the cycle. These hormones work together in a domino effect — which can sometimes start earlier or later, depending on what your normal cycle looks like.
We are unknowingly exposed to hundreds of different chemicals every day. They are in the household cleaners used in our kitchen and bathroom. They’re in cosmetics and personal care products we put on our skin. And they can even end up in foods and beverages stored in plastic containers. Some of these chemicals can impact our hormones and contribute to the duration of our “normal” cycle.
Ever notice that your period suddenly starts later than expected after you went on vacation? Or that it comes sooner than expected when you’ve been under a lot of pressure? Those subtle changes can influence the hormone cascade, which can shift when you get your period.
Your menstrual cycle is influenced by your stress levels, how well you sleep, what you’re eating, and other factors. An occasional shift due can be OK. But if your symptoms get worse or new ones pop up, it’s important to look at what lifestyle factors could be causing the symptoms.
What is a Typical “Normal” Period?
First of all, let’s talk about the stigma of a “normal” period. Just because your period isn’t a perfect 28 day cycle, doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with you. As you’ll see, when we refer to a normal menstrual cycle, it’s really a range of what is regular and unique to you.
According to the US Office of Women’s Health, a normal menstrual cycle is anywhere from 24 to 38 days long. According to the UK National Health Service, a normal menstrual cycle can range anywhere from 21 to 35 days long. According to the Mayo Clinic, a normal cycle lasts 21 to 35 days long, and the period of bleeding lasts for 2 to 7 days.
So if you fall in the range of 21 to 38 days long, and your period shows up consistently that way, you have a regular cycle that is unique to you.
When you first start menstruating, longer times between cycles is normal. That’s because your body is just getting used to having this new hormone cascade happening through it each month. It takes a while for the hormones to get in sync with each other.
And as you age, cycles tend to get shorter. The second phase of perimenopause, which is typically in your mid 40s, is when you may start to get irregular periods and unpredictable cycles.
Why Track Your Menstrual Cycle?
When you track your cycle, you get to know your own body better. Which means that you’ll be able to predict when you’re about to get your period.
Tracking your cycle will help you understand the different phases you go through in your cycle. Maybe you notice you have more energy in the first half of your cycle, and that your energy dips when you get closer to having your period. Or you get soreness or headaches before your period. All of these symptoms and signs will show you what is typical for you.
When you track your symptoms, you can rate how moderate or how severe they are. How much do they get in the way of your regular schedule? Are there environmental factors that are influencing how you feel throughout your period?
When your cycle goes off track, or when your symptoms suddenly get worse, you’ll know what happened because you have a record of your personal cycle. The more detail you track, the more you’ll understand what makes your period symptoms worse and what makes them better. So you can make conscious deliberate choices rather than blindly accepting “this must just be the way that it is.”
How to Start Getting a Better Period
Whatever your personal menstrual cycle length looks like, you were meant to get regular, problem-free periods. If you’re dealing with frustrating symptoms like bloating, cramps, heavy bleeding, mood swings, or unpredictable periods, there is something you can do to make it better naturally.
You can use the Perfect Period Detox Challenge to clear out any environmental toxins that are making your periods worse. It is free and instantly downloadable right here.
You can also order Perfect Period and start taking the tincture daily. This all-natural herbal formula is designed to support your body and regulate your hormones so that it can have easy, problem-free periods. All you need is to start with 15 drops per day in water or juice to start supporting your body.
You can also track your cycle while you are taking Perfect Period — and here’s why this is important.
Perfect Period’s formula supports regulating hormones in a naturally, non-invasive way. So it may take anywhere from one to three cycles before that total regulation and balance occurs. That’s why it’s important to track your symptoms when taking Perfect Period. In the early days and weeks, some changes may not be drastic, but progress is being made.
You may notice that certain symptoms start to become less severe, or they’re not a problem anymore. Keeping track will help you see your progress and understand how much influence you can have over your own cycle.