11 Things It Might Mean If You Have A Long Period

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11 Things It Might Be If You Have A Long Period

If anyone knows how rough long periods can be, it’s me. Prior to taking the pill, my period would be incredibly irregular and often would be either very short or very long. At one point, my period lasted four weeks. At another, it lasted two days. It was wild.

When my monthly visitor started to be a serious handicap, I realized I probably should look into getting birth control. It was the best decision of my life and actually managed to make things manageable.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Induce Your Period (If You're Trying To Time Aunt Flo)

How long does a period last? According to a normal menstrual cycle, it can last between three and five days. A period that lasts four weeks long should always be checked out, but what happens if you just have a period that lasts a day or two extra? Well, it could be a lot of things.

Wondering "why is my period so long?" We've got answers. Here are some of the most common reasons for long periods.

1. Your thyroid could be acting up.

Around 1 in every 8 women will have an underactive thyroid at one point in their lives. Most people are aware of weight gain as a side effect of a bad thyroid, but you might not be aware that your thyroid can also cause your period to become longer.

If you feel lethargic, have been gaining weight, and have been bleeding longer than usual, go to the doctor to see if your thyroid could be to blame.   

2. You could just be really stressed.

Stress does wild things to the body. It can make us gain weight, lose sleep, increase our heart rates, and even make us crave certain foods. Unsurprisingly, stress also alters peoples’ hormonal balances too. In some extreme cases, stress can prolong a period, or delay it.

3. You might have DUB.

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding, or DUB, is a hormonal syndrome that can cause prolonged periods. Though it normally affects women over 40, it can happen to any girl at any menstrual age. Thankfully, it can be treated with birth control pills and hormone therapy.

4. If it’s always been this way, you may have a bleeding disorder.

Multiple bleeding disorders have been linked to longer periods, including von Willebrand disease and hemophilia. Chances are that you’re already aware of this if you have it.

5. The birth control you’re on has started to shift your period.

Did you recently try a new form of birth control? If so, that could be to blame for your longer periods. Copper IUDs, for example, are known to cause longer periods with much heavier flows. If you had a naturally light period, certain birth control pills might make your period last a day or two more.

RELATED: 18 Hilarious Period Memes To Get You Through Hell Week

6. Uterine fibroids are to blame.

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that most women get as they age. These growths are, for the most part, benign. But if they grow on the wrong part of your uterus, it could lead to an extra heavy, extra long period.

7. PCOS is another very likely culprit.

PCOS, also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is one of the most common hormonal problems women have. This syndrome is known for causing cystic growths on ovaries, wild hormone fluctuations, and menstrual inconsistencies.

If you’ve been feeling pain around your ovary area, this could be to blame for both the pain and the long periods.

8. There’s also a chance you could have endometrial hyperplasia.

Your uterine lining is known as the endometrium, and it’s what you shed during your period. Sometimes, for one reason or another, your endometrium can thicken. This is called endometrial hyperplasia, and if you have this condition, it will take longer to fully shed your uterine lining.

9. Another possibility is that you could be pregnant.

Say what?! Surprise — it’s true. Some women who get pregnant during their periods may not realize they’re pregnant. Implant bleeding can occur right after you finish your period. 

If you recently had unprotected sex, you might want to wait a couple of weeks to see how you feel. And if you notice early pregnancy signs, you might want to grab an early-result pregnancy test.

10. It could also be a sign of cancer.

Don’t freak out and jump to conclusions just yet. This is a rare but still realistic sign of cervical, endometrial, or ovarian cancer. If you notice on and off spotting between periods, or a period that lasts longer than five weeks, you should go to a doctor and ask for a cancer screening.

The good news is that endometrial cancer is very treatable if caught in time. If you think you may have cancer and doctors think you should wait, Dr. Robert Morgan of the Gynecological Oncology/Peritoneal Malignancy Program at City of Hope notes that you should “get a second opinion.”

11. Or, it could be an infection.

Have you been feeling a bit under the weather? Are you itching down there, possibly noticing a rash? Certain infections can also be responsible for a prolonged period. If you’re noticing odd symptoms pop up, it may be time for a trip to the doctor, even if your period is normal.

RELATED: 9 Simple But Effective Ways To Get Rid Of Your Period Cramps For Good

Ossiana Tepfenhart is a Jack-of-all-trades writer based out of Red Bank, New Jersey. When she's not writing, she's drinking red wine and chilling with some cool cats. You can follow her @bluntandwitty on Twitter.