Average Time Between Periods
The average time between periods can vary from person to person, but your menstrual cycle will always follow the same pattern each month. If you track your period, you’re more likely to know what’s normal for you and how long between periods is normal too.
For most women, the average time between periods is 21-28 days, counting day one as the first day of bleeding. For some women, their cycle can last up to 35 days.
Most women will have a period once every 28 days, roughly. For some, the time between periods can be a little shorter and for others a little longer. We’re all different so again, tracking your period can be really helpful in gaining a better understanding of what’s happening with your cycle.
Your first period may be very irregular, with longer gaps of time between periods. Lots of younger women experience periods every few months, with some having a gap of up to 6 months between periods.
As you get older, your cycle will settle down a little, before gradually becoming shorter as you get older. Your period will become less frequent as you transition through perimenopause, gradually stopping altogether around the age of 51.
What if my periods are more frequent than every 21 days?
If you’ve been tracking and you know that your period is more frequent than the average 21-28 days, there could be a number of issues that are causing this to happen.
If you’re still going through puberty you don’t need to worry, as your cycle will likely settle down after the first year or two.
If your periods are suddenly more frequent, its always a good idea to speak to a doctor to find out why.
Irregular periods can be caused by:
- Pregnancy, your doctor will advise you to take a test to rule this out
- Perimenopause, this is the transition period leading up to menopause
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain
- Certain conditions such as PCOS, thyroid issues, uterine fibroids or endometriosis
Your menstrual cycle is the pattern of events that takes place within your body each month once you start your periods. You might not always experience the same symptoms month to month, or the same length of time between periods either. And periods can differ from person to person too. Tracking your cycle helps you to understand what’s normal for you.
The first phase of your cycle is menstruation, when an unfertilised egg is released from the body, along with vaginal fluid and tissues. This is your period. Day one of bleeding is day one of your cycle.
Most women will bleed for around 3-5 days, but anywhere from 2-7 days is normal.
By day 7, bleeding should have stopped. You’ll notice an improvement in PMS symptoms too.
During this phase, the pituitary gland releases follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which triggers the growth of follicles on the ovaries. These follicles begin to develop eggs, and eventually one of these eggs will grow big enough to be released.
Oestrogen levels also start to rise during the follicular phase, so you may notice that you experience bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings or other PMS symptoms.
The follicular phase lasts around 14-21 days, starting on the first day of your period, and ending with ovulation.
Ovulation signals the end of the follicular phase. During ovulation, an egg is released by the ovaries. This phase lasts just 24 hours, and you may notice some mild abdomen pains, bloating or headache. Lots of women don't experience any symptoms at all.
During ovulation you’re extremely fertile,- so if you’re trying to conceive, now is the time to have sex. At this time, oestrogen levels are at their highest, but will drop again once ovulation is complete.
The luteal phase is the final stage of your menstrual cycle, and it lasts around 12-14 days. During this phase, the egg makes its way down the fallopian tube. Progesterone levels increase, so that the lining of your uterus can grow thicker to support a pregnancy.
If the egg is fertilised at this time, it will implant into the uterus. If its not fertilised, it’s then reabsorbed into the body, then shed as part of your period flow on day one of your next cycle.
During this time, you may feel more PMS symptoms, such as anxiety, irritability and low mood. You might also experience bloating, breast tenderness and headaches too.
Tracking your period really helps you to understand your cycle, so that you can spot any changes quickly- and you’re less likely to get caught out by your period too. It's also a really helpful tool if you’re trying to get pregnant, helping you to calculate how many days between periods is normal for you.
You can use an app to track your period, take notes on your phone or even just a plain old calendar. It doesn't need to be too in-depth either. You might want to just take note of the first and last day of bleeding. Or you might want to note down symptoms you’re experiencing on other days of your cycle too.
Period tracking gives you an insight into what’s happening each month, and what’s normal for you.
Bleeding Between Periods
If you experience bleeding between periods, it’s important to look into the reasons why. Make an appointment with your GP to discuss.
The potential cause of bleeding between periods include:
- Hormonal contraceptive - the combined oral contraceptive pill, progesterone only pill, contraceptive patch, contraceptive implant or injection and the IUS (intrauterine system) can all cause bleeding between periods. This is due to changes that take place in the lining of the uterus when you first start taking the medication. This breakthrough bleeding should settle down after a few months, but speak to your doctor if it persists.
- Injury or trauma - sometimes rough sexual activity or even inserting a tampon incorrectly can cause bleeding between periods.
- Abortion or miscarriage - bleeding between periods may occur and it can take a few weeks for your cycle to settle down following either.
- STIs - sexually transmitted diseases can cause bleeding which should not be ignored. Make an appointment with your sexual health clinic if you suspect this is the reason for bleeding or spotting between periods.
- Hormone imbalance - some women who suffer with PCOS (caused by unbalanced hormones) may experience bleeding between periods. Likewise, the changes in hormones that occurs during perimenopause may also cause breakthrough bleeding.
- Stress - one of the biggest causes of irregular periods.
- Uterine fibroids- these are non-cancerous growths which appear on the uterus lining. They can cause bleeding between periods.
- Other conditions such as polyps, or, rarely, cancer.
How Do I Calculate When My Next Period Is Due?
Period tracking is the best way to calculate when your next period is due, as you’ll have a good idea of how long your cycle tends to be each month- plus it makes it easier to see calculate how many days between periods is normal for you.
Roughly speaking, your period is due any time around 28 days after the first day of your last period.
Is 19 Days Between Periods Normal?
How long in between periods is a common question; the average woman will normally experience 21-28 days between cycles. 19 days could indicate that you’re experiencing a shorter than normal cycle. Track your period for the next couple of months to see if a pattern emerges.
In most cases, your cycle will settle down again the following month, but if it stays consistently short it’s a good idea to book a GP appointment to find out why.
How many days does a normal period last?
The average woman will bleed for around 3-5 days. We’re all different though- some will experience blood flow for just 2 days normally, and some for up to 7 days. Speak to your GP if you’ve noticed changes in the length of time that your period lasts.
Why has the length of period changed?
There can be a number of reasons why the length of your period has changed. If you’re still going through puberty, it can take a while for your cycle to settle down. If you’re approaching menopause, this can also be a reason why you’re experiencing changes.
If you’re concerned, make an appointment to see your GP.