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Where's Your Spot on the Range?

By Jennifer Ashton, M.D., Ob-Gyn with Christine Larson
WebMD Feature by “The Body Scoop for Girls”

Before you look at the chart below, repeat after me: “Normal is a range. Being outside the range doesn’t mean there’s a problem—but I should see a doctor.”


Not Normal

Bleeding lasts 1 to 7 days.

Bleeding lasts longer than 7 days.

Cycles (the time between Day 1 of one period and Day 1 of the next) last about 21 to 40 days. The middle range is 28 to 30 days, or every 4 weeks.

Cycles last less than 21 days or more than 40.

Cycles are usually the same from month to month. (Say, 21 days, or 30 days, or 35 days every month.)

Cycles jump around in length—21 days one month, 30 days the next, 40 days after that, etc. Even though these cycles are all in the normal range, it’s not normal to vary so much.

Advil or Motrin help your cramps.

Your periods are so painful that you miss school/come home early on a regular basis.

You soak a pad or tampon in several hours (although you may change it more often).

You soak a pad (so no white surface shows at all) in 1 hour or less. You bleed so heavily that you routinely stain your clothes.


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