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My Period Came Early – Am I Normal?

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My Period Came Early – Am I Normal?

Feb 04, 2021

Your menstrual cycle started too early, too late. There's too much, too little—it's irregular. Women's health expert Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones describes the conditions of a "normal" period, what's not normal, and when you may need to see a physician.

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: So your period came early or maybe it's late. Maybe there's too much, too little. It's just not normal, or is it?

Dr. Jones, so I don't think my period is normal. Let me explain...

Dr. Jones: Please explain.

Interviewer: So I'm 28, I know I'm not pregnant, I know I'm not at that point where it should just go away, but it came earlier than expected by two weeks. Is this normal?

Causes for an Irregular Period

Dr. Jones: Well, I'm glad you told me you're 28 because periods are irregular predictably at the beginning right after you start your periods and at the very end of menopause and you don't follow that. And of course there's some birth control methods and you said you're not pregnant, but you didn't tell me about the birth control method you're on. But some birth control methods make for irregular bleeding.

So what's abnormal menstruation? And that would be periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart. If you miss your periods for more than three cycles, flow that's much heavier or lighter than usual, periods that last longer than seven days, periods that are accompanied by severe pain, cramping or nausea or bleeding or spotting that happens between your periods or with sex.

You said they came two weeks early. Now, that would be probably less than 21 days, so it means this period was abnormal. But you don't have to see a doctor for this unless it happens all the time or unless you're pregnant. So what do you have to see a doctor for?

When to See a Doctor

If the period is so heavy that you're dizzy and you can't live your life, you might be anemic. You need to see a doctor. So crampy or painful that you can't live your life, you need to see a doctor. Persistent spotting between your periods or with sex could be an infection or could be cancer, you need to see a doctor. Too irregular, meaning close within 21 days or farther than 35 days, if you're trying to get pregnant because you're not going to get pregnant if your periods are too wacky, or if you have any kind of abnormal bleeding and there's a chance that you're pregnant, you need to know because there could be a problem. So one period two weeks early, you're not pregnant, you're only 28, let's see what happens next cycle.

Interviewer: Going through down your list, all of this stuff seems normal. Just happened that one time. Why did it happen that one time?

Dr. Jones: Well, the problem is we won't know why it happens just one time because next time it's going to be normal. So if it happens just one time, stress can happen. If you just didn't ovulate that cycle because you stayed up too late or you went on a big trip or you broke up with your boyfriend or you suddenly gained weight or you've been on a big diet and you've lost weight, all those things can interfere with your normal ovulation. If it happens once, no big deal. If it happens three times, that's a deal and we'll work it up.

updated: February 4, 2021
originally published: October 25, 2018