“Why your period is different than mine?”

“3 days!” 

“Mine doesn’t really hurt that much.” 

“My flow is very heavy, sometimes I even get bad cramp”

“My elder sister hadn’t started menstruating when she was our age, but I did.”

A group of 14-15 year old girls were discussing their menstruation cycles in hushed tones during the school recess. It left them wondering (and also made them realize) that each one of them experienced the same menstrual cycles, differently.

“I was scared in the beginning that something was not right with me. But now I know it is different for each of us”, said Riya.

This conversation stayed with the girls throughout their lives, and although they grew up talking about their period-woes with each other, they had learnt not to compare themselves with each other. 

Moral of the story – Every girl may experience a different menstrual cycle and it’s absolutely okay. Menstruation isn’t a formula that when applied will come up with the same result to every equation. It is actually more of an approximation.

What exactly is a ‘Normal Menstrual Cycle’?

Menstrual flow ranges from every 21 to 35 days, it can last from 2-7 days and it may be regular or irregular. Your blood-flow might be light or heavy, painful or pain-free, long or short, and still be considered normal. 

There is a broad range of ‘normal’ and is very subjective. The length of your cycle, the heaviness of your period, and the symptoms you experience etc, can all fluctuate and vary, as you age. These variations are usually normal and healthy. 

It’s not wise to compare the length and blood loss of your period with your friend or family member, irrespective of similarity in age, height and weight. 

Why do menstrual cycles vary?

The balance of your reproductive hormones can affect your cycle. The length of  your cycle is determined by your age, genes, health, body mass index (BMI), behavior and even birth control methods – all these are variables. They are different for each woman, based on her surroundings, body and mental health. 

Different and Together!

A lot of girls grow up trying to figure out things on their own. This can be a nerve-wracking experience and thus a lot of us turn to our friends and sometimes even the internet for our answers.  During these times, we must do ourselves a favor and not compare our cycles with those of our friends or family members, irrespective of similarity in age, height and weight. It is important to note the changes and irregularities in our cycle. We must be in touch with our gynecologist if something doesn’t feel right. 

Every cycle is unique and every experience is different.