While most women never have complications from their menstrual periods, some will experience some form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some women may have less common period problems such as heavy bleeding, absent periods, or painful periods.
The reproductive cycle
Menstruation usually starts around age 11, but can begin years earlier or later for some women.
- The average monthly cycle is between 28 and 30 days, starting with the menstrual period, which typically lasts three to five days.
- After that, the lining of your uterus (endometrium) thickens, preparing for a possible pregnancy.
- Around day 14, your ovaries will release an egg (ovulation), which moves into the fallopian tube.
- If the egg is not fertilized, the cycle will restart, shedding the egg and the uterine lining (the menstrual period).
Most period-related issues do not require medical attention, but some symptoms should be checked by your provider to rule out more serious conditions.
To provide you with helpful health information related to period-related issues, please refer to the following articles. Most of these articles go to our Dartmouth-Hitchcock Healthwise® Health Encyclopedia website.
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding: Topic overview of abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods.
- Missed or Irregular Periods: Learn about the causes of missed or irregular periods.
- Painful Periods: Information about painful menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), including home treatments.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): A description of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Information about Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and ways you can diagnose and treat it.