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How do you know if your period is regular or irregular? I can't figure mine out!
- Laura*

We sometimes use the words "monthly cycle" to describe periods — but that can make it seem as if all periods happen like clockwork every 4 weeks! The truth is, different girls have different cycles.

A girl's monthly cycle is the number of days from the start of her period to the start of the next one. On average, it's 28 days. But cycle lengths vary — some girls have a 24-day cycle, some have a 34-day cycle. It's common for girls to skip periods or have periods come at different times, especially in the first few years after beginning menstruation. Other things that affect cycles include diet, stress, exercise, and, occasionally, illness.

Try not to worry if you can't figure out your cycle for the first couple of years after you start getting your period. Things should settle down eventually. But if your period isn't coming regularly, if it's very uncomfortable or heavy, or if it's stopped, see a health professional.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: August 2013

* Names have been changed to protect user privacy.

 
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All About Menstruation
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Coping With Common Period Problems
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I'm 19. Is it Normal to Still Have Irregular Periods?
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Irregular Periods
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Related Resources:
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)
This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.
BeingGirl
This website offers answers to questions about puberty and menstruation, as well as information about music and fashion, quizzes, and games.
GirlsHealth.gov
GirlsHealth.gov, developed by the U.S. Office on Women's Health, offers girls between the ages of 10 and 16 information about growing up, food and fitness, and relationships.
Planned Parenthood Info for Teens
This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.