The average woman can expect to get herapproximately 450 times in her lifetime. But even though you’ve probably got the hang of your cycle by now, chances are that some menstrual mysteries remain unsolved. Maybe your cycle is super long or short, or it’s irregular, or it comes with side effects like PMS—and you wonder if what you experience each month is normal. Or maybe new issues have cropped up, like really awful or a heavier flow, and you’re not sure if you need to tell your ob-gyn what’s going on.
The fact is, it’s important to pay attention to what’s normal and what isn’t during your cycle because changes can provide clues to your overall health, says Taraneh Shirazian, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center. We asked Dr. Shirazian and other experts to decode puzzling period symptoms, surprising (and potentially scary) side effects, and other crucial pieces of period intel that every woman needs to know.
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