Question:

Can your period stop while being heavy, or does it have to slow down first?

PEER ANSWER

This happened to me just a couple of weeks ago. I was on my period, and it was a heavy one -- heavy enough for me to whip out the super tampons, and I almost never use super tampons. I hoped that the heavy flow would only last a day or two before lightening up and turning into a regular flow. But instead, my period stopped at the heavy flow. It was like going from a green light straight to a red light without the yellow light in between. Call me dramatic, but it was like winning the lottery. The following month though, my period went back to normal -- seven days, heavy to regular to light flow: the usual. So, yes, your period might stop while being heavy instead of slowing down first, but don’t get your hopes up in thinking it’ll do that every month.

MOM ANSWER

Not only are your periods different than any other woman’s, but they are also (usually) different month-to-month also.  Some months, it may end in a trickle, and some months it may appear to end suddenly.  It may also slow down in a matter of hours instead of days, so you might not be aware.  I realize this is not a definitive answer to your question, but there usually aren’t definitive answers when it comes to your cycle -- it’s an ever-changing thing.

EXPERT ANSWER

I’d first like to give “heavy” a little more of a description. What we define as heavy in the healthcare world is vaginal bleeding that requires a pad or tampon change every hour for more than a few consecutive hours, or every two hours for more than a day or two. If you are experiencing either of these situations, call your healthcare provider right away for an appointment.

Typically a period will have one or two heavier days, then slowly taper off until it ends. I have had a period stop unexpectedly once or twice. The advice I give you is be watchful. If other things seem to be a little unusual, make an appointment to talk to your healthcare provider. It could be just one unusual period. Keep a little journal of your symptoms. If your period ends in its regular timeframe and the next one is regular -- and you have no other symptoms -- sometimes “typical” just looks a little different.  If you are having unusual bleeding or symptoms that don’t fit your regular pattern, or if your period lasts longer than nine days, make an appointment to talk about it with your healthcare provider.

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