After the first time, most of us are not usually excited about getting our periods, unless we're trying to get pregnant—or to not get pregnant. We deal with the discomfort and the inconvenience for a short spell and then we move on.

By the time we're in our late teens or 20s, our bodies regulate and we don't experience much change in the number of days, the bloating and/or cramps we experience or the volume of our flow. But when things do change unexpectedly, we need to pay attention.

The reasons our period gets out of whack sometimes can vary from stress to pregnancy to the onset of perimenopause, though health conditions like fibroids, endometriosis and even cancer can be catalysts. We need to understand what the irregularity, change in flow and pain associated with our time of the month could be telling us.

Menstrual irregularity

Typically, menstrual cycles last between 21 and 35 days, with the actual bleeding lasting somewhere between three and seven days. However, every woman is different. Comparing how many days yours lasts with a friend's won't give you the vital data you need. It's important to focus on how long your period, in particular, lasts and compare this span