Is Your Menstrual Bleeding Normal?
Menstrual cycles vary for each woman, so how do you decipher what’s normal and what’s abnormal bleeding?
You have probably experienced a time when your menstrual cycle was suddenly aligned with a friend, colleague or family member. While there is no scientific proof that cycle syncing is an actual phenomenon, it is clear that each woman experiences varying menstruation patterns.
So, how do you tell if your menstrual bleeding is normal? Dr Fong Yoke Fai, Obstetrician-Gynaecologist at Astra Women’s Specialists, sheds some light.
1. Know Your Flow
The amount of blood flow during menstruation is unique to each woman. However, if you are soaking through a tampon or pad in less than two hours consistently and passing blood clots larger than a dollar coin, then you may have menorrhagia — a medical term for abnormally heavy or prolonged menstruation — and should seek medical help from an obstetrician-gynaecologist (OB-GYN) at a hospital or women’s health clinic.
2. How Regular is Regular?
Can you remember the last time you had your menstruation? If it has been more than two months since your last cycle, then it may be time to see a doctor. Conversely, you may also need to consult a doctor if you have your menstruation more often than every 21 days.
“A woman should have her menstruation at least once every two months,” says Dr Fong. “The regularity of your menstrual cycle is actually a reflection of your ovarian health. Healthy ovaries ovulate roughly once a month, but we can allow some variation — say, once in two months.”
Some possible causes of irregular menstrual cycles are menopause, early pregnancy, extreme weight loss or gain, excessive exercise or stress and polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition where the ovaries do not release eggs regularly but contain many egg follicles that are suspended and do not develop fully.
3. How Long is Too Long?
Typically, menstruation lasts between three to seven days. If you continue bleeding for more than a week or less than two days, then it could be an indication that something is wrong.
“Between three to seven days is considered a normal flow,” says Dr Fong. “We can allow if there’s some spotting towards the tail end or at the start, but if anyone tells me that her menstrual flow lasts for more than 10 days, then it’s certainly unusual.”
4. Pink, Green and Grey: What Does Each Colour Mean?
Did you know that menstrual discharge can span a gamut of colours from the start to the end of each menstrual cycle? In some cases, you may also see different colours from month to month. While this is normal, there may be certain colours that warrant a visit to an OB-GYN clinic in Singapore.
|Color of Blood||Indication|
|Pink||Pink Pink menstrual blood may signal low estrogen levels in your blood. Estrogen is a hormone that helps to stabilise your womb lining. Without it, you may experience spotting even after your menstrual cycle has ended.|
|Green||Green Greenish discharge may be associated with a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection.|
|Grey||Grey Grey or off-white discharge may be a sign that an infection is festering. If this symptom is accompanied by a fever and foul odour, they you should consult your OB-GYN.|
While it is common for women to face some level of discomfort during their menstruation, do remember that there are times where things can go wrong. It is important to seek the help of a gynaecologist when menstrual problems start to affect your activities of daily life. Seeking treatment early will give you the choice of a wider range of treatment options, including non-invasive ones, as compared to seeking treatment later.
A/Prof Fong Yoke Fai is the medical director of Astra Laparoscopic & Robotic Centre for Women and Fertility, located at Paragon Medical, #16-07/08. He is highly recognised in the management of menstrual-related problems, such as endometriosis and fibroids.
Reference Pages about Pregnancy
- Smart Mum Network: #1 Most trusted site pregnancy site in Singapore and Asia
- Ask Worlds 1st Pregnancy Chatbot using Artificial Intelligence
- Ministry of Health
- SMG Womens Health
- The Obstetrics & Gynaecology Centre
- Astra Laparoscopic & Robotic Centre For Women and Fertility
- Astra Women’s Specialist
- FDA Pregnancy
- CDC Pregnancy