By Published On: December 19th, 2021Last Updated: September 18th, 2023
Carmen Lorenzana - menstrual cycle length

What is a healthy menstrual cycle length?

You may have 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, a healthy cycle can range from 24 to 35 days.

As long as you ovulate.

The 28-day figure is just an average between 24 and 35, often used for simplicity in textbooks.

What is important to know is that if your cycle is shorter than 24 or longer than 35 days, OR if you are not ovulating, it’s a potential sign of an imbalance that needs your attention. While some variation is normal, a consistently out-of-range cycle 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, causing the follicles to develop earlier than they should. Additionally, a short cycle may result from a short luteal phase, which can be a cause for concern.

Remember: A healthy luteal phase is 12-16 days (14 days on average).

  • A long cycle, lasting more than 35 days, can happen when FSH rises late and follicles develop slowly, often 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 :)

Carmen Lorenzana - Free Guide The Four Phases of the Cycle

New to Menstrual Cycle Awareness and not sure where to start?

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­čî▒Learn about the hormonal changes, strengths & challenges you may experience in each phase of your cycle.

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