Here's why you shouldn’t freak out if your periods don’t show up every 28 days.
My periods are regular but 5 weeks apart. Is that bad?
Don’t freak out if your periods don’t show up every 28 days. The sweet spot of four weeks is an approximation; anything between 21 and 35 days is considered normal. It’s also fine if your cycles vary by a few days (e.g., they average 31 days apart, but some months there’s a 28- or 35-day gap). Many women with long cycles worry about their fertility, but trust me: Plenty of women with longer or even irregular cycles get pregnant without a problem.
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That said, periods that come more than 35 days apart could signal hypothyroidism, a sluggish thyroid gland. Your doctor can run blood tests to check your thyroid levels and prescribe medicine to help. She will also want to rule out polycystic ovary syndrome, a common symptom of which is infrequent periods due to a lack of ovulation, caused by hormonal changes. Birth control pills (or the patch or ring) can restore order to your cycle by regulating hormones.
If you’re trying to conceive, medications that stimulate ovulation, like clomiphene (aka Clomid), may help.
If your period is followed by more bleeding within three weeks, that can be a sign of either an infection, fibroids or, much more rarely, a cancerous tumor. Your doctor will likely send you for an ultrasound to figure out what’s going on.
Health‘s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine and co-founder of Tula Skincare.
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