You may think you've got your period down pat. You know the warning signs, symptoms, and the usual ins-and-outs of it. You are familiar with the way that your body naturally functions. What you may not be familiar with is a new flare-up and the looming results of certain medical conditions. It turns out, there are also some period red flags you shouldn't hesitate to call your OB-GYN about. Because it's always better to be safe than sorry with period red flags.
In an interview with Self, medical director for Reproductive Health for the Los Angeles Public Health Department Dr. Diana Ramos said that, in addition to being embarrassed, women often don't realize that their periods are unusual. She added that it's normal to experience symptoms like bloating, but it's not normal for your period to prevent you from living your everyday life.
It's helpful to check in with trusted friends and family to explain your period symptoms and get an idea of what may and may not be "normal." But, ultimately, any cause for concern should be addresses by a medical professional.
Whether you're currently menstruating or not, here are some period red flags warrant a call to your OB-GYN about.
1. Your Period Lasts More Than One Week
Are you experiencing your period for a longer amount of time than you'd like? According to Dr. Aliza Lipshiftz, member of the U by Kotex Advocacy Panel, you should visit your doctor if your period lasts more than one week.
2. You're Passing Large Blood Clots
According to Very Well, it's not normal to pass large blood clots during your period. But what defines large? A rule of thumb for this would be looking for clots that are golf ball size or larger.
3. Your Body Responds Negatively To Tampons
Tampons are an effective and hygienic way to soak up period blood. But they don't always work easily for everyone. According to Mayo Clinic, you should consult your health care provider if you suddenly get a fever and feel sick after using tampons.
4. Your Period Comes Early And Lasts Longer
According to Everyday Health, menstrual bleeding is considered irregular if your period occurs more often than every 21 days or is longer than 8 days. Consult your doctor about this before you're living a bloody hell.
5. Your Cramps Are Unbearable
In an interview with Marie Claire, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine Dr. Mary Jane Minkin said those who are experiencing bad cramps should take anti-inflammatory drugs that block prostaglandins, hormone-like materials. If the pills don't make you feel better, seek help by calling you OB-GYN.
6. You're Noticing Brown Discharge
According to Healthline, brown discharge or colored blood can be normal at times. However, this symptom along with irregular cycles, cysts, or abnormal hair growth could be signs of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
7. You Have To Change Your Pad Or Tampon Often
In an interview with Redbook, OB-GYN Dr. Teri Benn said if you soak through pads or tampons every hour, you need to talk to a doctor.
8. Your Body Skips Cycles
According to Stayfree, secondary amenorrhea occurs when women who previously experienced normal menstrual cycles now cease to menstruate for at least three cycles.
9. You're Bleeding In-Between Periods
According to Cycle Harmony, bleeding that occurs at about the mid-point of the cycle may last one to two days. The site noted that irregular periods are a serious warning sign that your hormones may be out of balance.
10. You're PMS-ing Like Crazy
According to Mind Body Green, PMS symptoms are usually manifestations of an imbalance between estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol. These symptoms include breast pain, acne, and mood swings for women.
11. Your Menstruation Causes Odor Down There
In an interview with Refinery 29, Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the NYU Langone Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health, said blood odor could be the result of bacterial vaginosis, a seconday vaginal infection.