What is a healthy menstrual cycle length?
You probably learned that the menstrual cycle should last 28 days; however, this isn’t necessarily true. For an adult in fertile age who is not using hormonal birth control and is not postpartum or breastfeeding, anything from 24 to 35 days is considered healthy.
As long as you ovulate.
Twenty-eight days is just the average between 24 and 35, and it’s a standard used to explain things in textbooks simply and easily.
What is important to know is that if your cycle is less than 24 or more than 35 days, OR if you are not ovulating, it’s a sign of a potential imbalance that needs your attention. Some variation is common, but if the cycle is consistently out-of-range, it may be the first noticeable sign that something in your body isn’t quite right.
Here’s what the menstrual cycle length tells you as a biomarker:
- A short cycle (less than 24 days) can indicate that the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) increases early, and the follicles develop earlier than they should. A short cycle can also result from a short luteal phase and can be a health concern.
Remember: A healthy luteal phase is 9-18 days (14 days on average).
- A long cycle (more than 35 days) can result from delayed FSH rise & follicle development due to stress or other factors.
This will depend on a few things.
Such as your age or the stage in the reproductive continuum you are in:
- For the first few years after menstruation begins, long cycles are typical. However, they tend to shorten and become more regular as we age.
- Then as you approach menopause, you may experience irregular or short cycles. As we age, our ovaries stop producing estrogen and progesterone, and therefore, the endometrium fails to form.
How long is your cycle? Tell me in the comments :)
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