Q&A: 5-Week Menstrual Cycle

Q: Is it normal to have a period for five weeks or longer?

A: The menstrual cycle is a 28-31 day process that prepares the womb for implantation of a fertilized egg. When a woman does not become pregnant during the month the lining of the uterus also called the womb sheds and this is known as a “period”.  A woman should have a period every month that lasts between 3-9 days unless she is on a birth control method known for reducing the number of periods per year, is pregnant, or post menopausal. If a period lasts longer than 9 days it is important to see a women’s health specialist because the bleeding may be a result of other causes.

Common conditions that cause longer periods include fibroids which are benign (non cancerous) growths in the uterus, polyps, and hormone imbalances. Depending on the amount of blood loss it is possible to become anemic which requires iron replacement. 

It is important to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.  It is important to keep track of the specific days you have been bleeding, how many pads or tampons you use in an hour and a day, and if the bleeding is continuous or stops and comes again. The gynecologist can run the appropriate tests, perform an examination, and conduct imaging studies to determine the cause.