I have been noticing a lot of posts on social media recently discussing what characteristics of a typical or a normal period look like. Right away, I catch myself going through the post to see if I make it on the so called "NORMAL" list. This is exactly what I have been questioning all my life.
Up until recently, I always saw myself as not normal because the amount of bleeding I experienced didn't fall within the typical range and I was cursed perhaps from a previous life. I would compare notes with my closest friends and when I discovered that they can last eight hours with one normal tampon, it solidified my abnormalness which I am sure is not even a word. You see, since the start of time or rather high school I have always had to use the diaper length or night time pads because the normal dainty ones would maybe last half an hour. As I got older it only got worse. After a decade of trying to control my flo with the birth control pill and finally deciding to get off them, I was going through a super tampon every hour on the hour. Towels on furniture, hiding extra pads and tampons in every single bag I owned and planning vacations around my menstrual cycle just became a part of my everyday life.
Who determines what a normal or typical period is anyways? Like MIB or Men in Black, Is there a department with agents called the "blood monitors" secretly out there measuring the amount of liquid being absorbed in our used pads or tampons? Turns out, there are numerous studies and tests that have been done by really smart people all around the world who have determined there are a set of criteria that would make you fall into what is considered normal bleeding.
According to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, these are the characteristics:
- your period lasts for 3 - 8 days
- comes again every 21 - 35 days
- total blood loss over course of period is 2 - 3 tablespoons
- minimal to no clots, severe pain or PMS symptoms
Ok, so I know after using a menstrual cup and measuring on my heavy day 10 millilitres in an hour that I bleed more in one day than some people do for an entire period. I feel sorry if there really were "blood monitor" agents going through my trash. Like I said, I always knew I bled a lot and now I knew I did so a lot more than what was typically considered normal in the medical community.
I guess what I'm really trying to say is, yes medically speaking I do have heavy periods but psychologically I have lived as if I'm a freak for bleeding more which made me shy away and even talking about it. I'm really trying to change my attitude about the whole thing and see it as being a positive. Everyone's period is different, some bleed more, some bleed less, some don't even bleed but however much we do bleed is unique to us almost like DNA. The important thing is to support each other and possibly being open to what our interpretation or perception of what "NORMAL" means.
Are there any misconceptions that you have lived your period life with?