If you’ve ever found yourself begging someone to just tell you what is a normal period cycle – and what definitely is not – you’re in the right place. Let’s get into it!
Period health is honestly one of the most misunderstood topics. Many of us have struggled with pain, irregularity, or other period issues for so long that we start to accept them. But let me be the one to tell you: Periods should be consistent and pain-free.
Now around here, we live in the real world… not a fantasy world… so yes, sometimes there are inconsistencies in our cycles or mild pain or discomfort. But let’s get crystal clear about what “inconsistent” and “discomfort” should and should not mean when it comes to your period.
Painful Periods are NOT Par for the Course
Popular culture, misinformation, and a whole host of things are to blame for making us believe that periods have to be painful.
A painful period is a dead giveaway that there’s some sort of inflammatory process going on. And we need to address that immediately.
Pelvic pain and painful periods can make it really hard to get pregnant or maintain a pregnancy, even if you’re ovulating like a champ every month. It’s gonna be hard.
You don’t have to suffer. In fact, painful periods are a big red flag that something is wrong. The good news? If something is wrong, there’s almost always something we can do to improve or correct it!
What is a Normal Period Cycle Bleeding Expectation?
There are so many things the type and length of bleeding can tell you about your fertility and cycle health.
Super light bleeding? NOT normal. If your period rarely reaches a consistent flow of blood, that’s a sign that you may be experiencing breakthrough bleeding and not a true menstrual cycle or your uterine lining may not be thickening the way we want it to for optimal conception.
Spotting before you start? NOT normal. Consistently spotting before your period begins is often a sign of endometriosis or low progesterone. We need to figure out the root cause of your spotting so we can effectively and appropriately treat it.
Brown bleeding at the end of your cycle lasting days? NOT normal. This is what we call “tail-end brown bleeding,” and it’s usually an indication of low progesterone.
Note: Some spotting in the begging and end of your cycle can be normal but if it lasts more than a day it cold indicate something else going on.
Okay, cool… so what exactly is a normal period cycle bleeding expectation? I know – there are so many things that can be off – but you should expect a healthy bleeding cycle to include 3-5 (up to 7) days of pain-free (or mostly pain-free) flowing red blood.
Big Inconsistencies in Your Cycle Length are NOT Normal
Let’s take a sec to talk about your entire cycle length. And if you don’t know already, cycle day 1 starts the first day of flowing blood and ends the first day of your next bleed, this equates to one cycle.
It’s pretty typical to see your cycle shift a few days each month but if your cycle swings considerably – from 27 days to 50 days to 30 days – this is not healthy or “normal.”
Did you know only 13% of women follow a “normal” 28-day cycle pattern? Yeah, “normal” isn’t all that normal when we look at the facts!
Here’s what I look for:
Normal: Between 21-35 day cycles.
Optimal for fertility: 24-32 day cycles. This indicates that you are most likely ovulating each cycle with a long enough luteal phase for implantation.
Now please hear me out – having a wildly inconsistent period doesn’t mean you’re broken. It just means we need to make some adjustments – and a lot of this can be done with lifestyle and diet! – in order to even them out.
Have Questions About Your Cycle?
My clients are often not even aware that their period issues are issues at all. So if you’re low-key freaking out because you’re realizing you may have problems you didn’t even suspect… I promise it’s going to be okay.
Helping you understand your cycle and make changes to improve issues is legit my job, so you’re in good hands!
I highly recommend you start with this quiz. It’s quick and even (dare I say…) fun. It helps you understand what to focus on first when it comes to your fertility, so if you suspect your cycle is an issue – this fertility quiz will help you get clear on what your personalized fertility path may look like.