It’s not often that we openly get to talk about the menstrual cycle in day-to-day life. Because of this, there are huge misconceptions as to what is a normal ‘cycle’.
One of the most important things to know is that your cycle on the birth control pill is not a menstrual cycle. A pill cycle is a withdrawal bleed – bleeding as a result of the drop in hormones during the placebo (sugar pill) week of the birth control cycle. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t tell us a lot about what may be going on underneath the hormone dose you’re getting.
In terms of your actual menstrual cycle. This is what we are looking for:
- Bleeding: 3-7 days long.
- Blood: Mostly liquid, a few clots are okay, but they shouldn’t be larger than 1-2cm.
- Volume: 25-80mL total (a regular tampon holds 5mL, a regular pad holds 5mL, a super pad – 10mL, a Divacup holds a total 30mL).
- Discomfort: Mild abdominal discomfort is normal, but it shouldn’t interfere with your daily activities. The pain should be easily relieved by painkillers, and shouldn’t require painkillers throughout the bleeding cycle.