Symptoms of a Normal Period

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So I’ve written a lot about abnormal periods caused by Endometriosis: extreme cramps, heavy bleeding, insane bloating, loooooong periods.  You’ve heard it all before.  But what constitutes a NORMAL period? I know they are supposed to hurt, you’re supposed to bleed, and you’re supposed to be uncomfortable. Just not this miserable. My Endo pain started in my teens. But I thought it was normal. So here I sit, curious : what is normal?

So, just for laughs, I figured I’d iron out the details of what a normal menstrual cycle is supposed to be like.  If anything, it may help me catch signs of my Endometriosis returning or worsening, or it may help you in some way…

Signs of a perfectly normal and healthy period:

  • You experience no cramps.
  • You experience some mild cramping a few days before you start that may last through the first or second day of your period.
  • You bleed for only 2-7 days.  Most women bleed 3-5 days.
  • You may pass small blood clots.
  • You start your period every 21-35 days. The average gal has her period about every 28 days.
  • You may be moody, have trouble sleeping, or crave certain foods.
  • You may experience abdominal bloating.
  • Your lower back and breasts may hurt.
  • You may experience more acne than usual.

As I was typing this, I had to laugh! I thought my periods were normal! Then I learned I have Endo, and now my (hilarious?) comparison:

  • I’ve never had a cramp-free period. Ever.
  • Mild cramping? Try the cramps that have you popping prescription pain medication and curled up in bed clutching your heating pad for the first 1-3 days. And you continue to pop those pills for the remainder of your period.
  • I normally bleed between 7-9 days, sometimes longer.
  • Not to be disgusting, but I passed some doozies of clots in my day.  When I was 20, I was so terrified I was dying that I scooped it out of the toilet bowl, tossed it into a jar, and made my way to the doctor.  I wasn’t sure if maybe I had miscarried and not known I was pregnant, or what. They assured me that the behemoth of a clot was normal and to be expected.  But…but…it was HUGE.  Big clots and my periods went hand in hand.
  • There was no predicting when my period would start…Sometimes I skipped a month. Sometimes I’d randomly start bleeding out of nowhere weeks early.  But most times, it was between 21-30 days.  So I guess that falls within the normal range.
  • You may be moody, have trouble sleeping, or crave certain foods. (Yeah, these were pretty much the same)
  • Define “bloating”… Many times, I’d be asked by strangers when my baby was due.  My pants literally had to be unbuttoned.  My poor taut skin ached.  I’ve since learned of the term “Endo Belly,” which is the overly-distended, bloated, and swollen tummies of us Endo sufferers.  Some believe we may retain more fluids than normal gals because our hormone levels are such much more out-of-whack and we’ve already got some severe internal inflammation going on.
  • Your lower back and breasts may hurt. (Yep. Par for the course)
  • You may experience more acne than usual. (That’s just a part of life…)

Granted, I’m on birth control pills now, my implants and adhesions were excised in June of 2014, and I went through six months of Lupron Depot injections to help delay their recurrence.  So I’m looking forward to my next cycle, just to see how truly different it is.  But at least now I have a basis for comparison!

How are YOUR periods?

Resources:

About.com

Cleveland Clinic

Cycle Harmony

Dr. Oz

Mayo Clinic

The Period Vitamin

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa

Signs & Symptoms of Endometriosis

signs

Many girls and women have Endometriosis and don’t even know it.  I sure didn’t. I’d never even heard of it. Endo-what?  More on what Endometriosis is and what it does can be found here.

So what are the red flags of Endometriosis?  If I only knew about this list prior to my diagnosis, I would have gone to my doctor years ago! I met every single one of these symptoms!! Every. Single. One.

You may have Endometriosis if you have any of the following issues:

  • Painful periods (some classify their pain as severe or crippling)
  • Chronic pelvic pain (even when not during period)
  • Pain during ovulation
  • Heavy periods
  • Lengthy periods
  • Irregular bleeding or spotting
  • Bloating, especially around your period
  • Experience pain during or after sex
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Pain when urinating
  • A personal history of urinary tract infections
  • Diarrhea or constipation, especially around your period
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica pain

Think you, or someone you know, may have Endometriosis? Now what?

To date, there isn’t a non-invasive way to officially diagnosis Endometriosis; the doctors must surgically open you up and see it…BUT there are questions, pelvic exams, imaging studies, etc. that may help your doctor determine if you may have it.  More on that can be found here.

And most importantly : you are NOT alone.  This condition effects 176 million women worldwide.  And we are all in this together. Embrace your community of EndoSisters. We are all strong. And still beautiful.

Resources:

Center for Endometriosis Care

Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery

Dr. Seckin

Endometriosis Association

Endometriosis Foundation of America

Endometriosis.org

Endometriosis Resolved

Mayo Clinic

~ Again, I am a layman.  I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge.  Please take what I say with a grain of salt.  If curious, do your own research 😉 Validate my writings.  Or challenge them.  And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always.  Yours ~ Lisa