At PGOMG, we’ve found that women of all ages have questions about menstruation. These questions often include: “Is this normal?”, “Should this happen?” and “What can I do?”, especially with regard to conditions in which the “normal” experience of having your period transitions into another medical condition – one that you may not even know you have.

In order to clear up misconceptions you may have about your period, we’ve created a FAQ guide to answer pressing questions about menstruation and hopefully make your next visit to PGOMG a little easier because you’ll know how your body works during this time each month.

Is my period normal?

A lot of women question whether or not their period is “normal.” Menstruation can vary from woman to woman – the duration of your period, the heaviness of your flow, your PMS symptoms – all can depend on a wide range of factors. The big question you should really ask yourself is: Is my period interrupting my normal routine?

If you find that you need to miss school, work or other activities because your period symptoms are just too severe, or that over-the-counter pain relief does not relieve your symptoms, it’s time to discuss your symptoms with your provider at PGOMG. A severe or heavy menstrual cycle can be indicative of an underlying medical condition, such as heavy menstrual bleeding or endometriosis.

What are cramps, and why do I have them?

When you have your period, your uterus contracts, causing cramps. These contractions help the lining of your uterus shed, and this becomes your monthly flow as it leaves your body. You can help relieve menstrual cramps by applying gentle heat to your lower abdomen or back, taking a warm bath or exercising. Over-the-counter pain relievers have also been known to help.

What should I expect when I have PMS?

PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, usually occurs the week leading up to your period, but this can fluctuate from woman to woman – some women’s PMS symptoms can end as they start their period. Other women endure PMS before and throughout their period. PMS symptoms include cramps, bloating, achiness, fatigue, upset stomach, headaches, mood swings, breakouts (acne) and breast tenderness.

If I miss my period, am I pregnant?

Pregnancy is one reason a woman misses a period, but it is certainly not the only reason. You can skip a period for a number of reasons, some of which include stress, illness, if you have traveled recently, if you are exercising too much, poor nutrition, weight loss or gain, or if you are taking medication, such as birth control. The only way to know for sure that you are not pregnant is to take a pregnancy test or to visit PGOMG. Having an irregular period is a common experience for many women, so it’s important to think about your lifestyle before assuming you are pregnant.

Should I see a doctor about my period?

Women are encouraged to see their doctor if their period symptoms are disrupting their daily routine.  If you are in so much pain, are so dizzy, or are so ill you miss work or school, then we ask that you schedule an appointment with PGOMG.