Every woman’s period is different. Some women bleed for 2 days, while others may bleed for a full week. Your flow might be light and barely noticeable, or heavy enough to make you uncomfortable. You may or may not get cramps, and if you do, they could be mild or intensely painful. As long as your periods stay consistent, there’s probably no reason to worry about them. But you should stay alert in case you experience any changes to your monthly menstrual cycle.
HysteroscopyYour doctor will most likely ask about your medical history and menstrual cycles. You may be asked to keep a diary of bleeding and nonbleeding days, including notes on how heavy your flow was and how much sanitary protection you needed to control it. Your doctor will do a physical exam and may recommend one or more tests or procedures such as:
- Blood tests. A sample of your blood may be evaluated for iron deficiency (anemia) and other conditions, such as thyroid disorders or blood-clotting abnormalities.
- Pap test. In this test, cells from your cervix are collected and tested for infection, inflammation or changes that may be cancerous or may lead to cancer.
- Endometrial biopsy. Your doctor may take a sample of tissue from the inside of your uterus to be examined by a pathologist.
- Ultrasound. This imaging method uses sound waves to produce images of your uterus, ovaries and pelvis.
We cover some potential reasons why a period may not stop and what to do to treat it.
Some people experience bleeding during ovulation, which is when the ovaries release an egg. In most cases, ovulation will produce only slight spotting and is not a major cause for concern. When it occurs toward the end of a period, spotting from ovulation can make it seem as though the period is lasting for longer than usual.
A healthcare professional can insert an IUD into the uterus to help prevent pregnancy. The two main types of IUD, hormonal and nonhormonal, can both cause abnormal bleeding. Heavy are particularly common when a person first receives the IUD. However, in most cases, heavy or prolonged bleeding should go away after 3 to 6 months.
Hormonal birth control
Some women experience spotting or light bleeding in early pregnancy. Bleeding may occur with or without other signs of pregnancy, such as nausea. Abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain during pregnancy may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, which can cause serious complications. A doctor can detect both regular and ectopic pregnancies using an ultrasound and blood test. Anyone who thinks they may be pregnant can also take a pregnancy test at home.
Though uncommon, it is possible that someone experiencing a prolonged period may have an underlying blood disorder. The common blood disorder in females is von Willebrand disease. Blood disorders can cause heavy bleeding and periods that last for longer than 7 days. Other symptoms of a blood disorder include:
- heavy bleeding after surgery and childbirth
- bleeding for more than 10 minutes during a nosebleed
- bleeding for longer than 5 minutes after a cut
- easy and frequent bruising
Some people find that certain home remedies help relieve their period symptoms sooner. These home remedies include:
- having an orgasm through masturbation or sex, as contractions in the uterus may help it shed the uterine lining
- drinking plenty of water or hydrating fluids
- exercising regularly
- eating a healthful, balanced diet
However, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to back up these claims.