My Child Has Had Their Period For 3 Weeks. What Do I Do?

As a parent, it’s important to pay attention to your child’s body and its changes, especially during puberty.

 There are as many different kinds of periods as there are people. Sometimes, it can be hard to know what’s normal and not normal simply because all bodies are so different and the range of what is considered normal skews so wide. For some people, a period lasts only two or three days. For others, it’s a week full of heavy flow. Sometimes, a prolonged period that lasts up to two weeks can be the body’s response to stress or illness. That said, some periods are decidedly more unusual than others, and might warrant a visit to the doctor. 

Has your child had a period lasting 3 weeks or more? Are you wondering what’s normal and what’s not and what to do next? Read on to find out what might be causing your child to have a prolonged period for three weeks and learn what to do. 

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What Is A Normal Period Length?

Just like period flows, the length of one’s period can also vary drastically from person to person. Most people’s periods last between two to seven days. Periods that last longer than seven days are considered prolonged periods. This is unusual, but not entirely unheard of.

What Causes Prolonged Menstrual Bleeding?

A prolonged period, which can be a period lasting from 10 days to 3 weeks, can be caused by many things. It might be the result of a thick uterine wall lining that the body struggles to shed in just over just a week, which causes small amounts of bleeding to happen after the actual cycle is over. Certain medications such as contraceptives or antidepressants can affect periods as well, causing excessive bleeding or staunching the flow altogether.

Hormones can also cause shifts and disruptions in the period cycle. If your child is going through puberty, that means they are currently experiencing major hormone fluctuations. These physical changes can often lead to some very irregular periods during the first one to two years of menstruation.

Some people develop Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, also known as AUB. AUB can be caused by illnesses such as thyroid disease or polycystic ovary syndrome. Excessive exercise, extreme stress, weight fluctuations, poor diet and more can all contribute to a prolonged period or AUB and cause your child to have their period for three weeks or even more.

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My Child Has Had A Period Lasting For 3 Weeks

Having a period for over 10 days is typically not normal. If your child has had their period for three weeks, this could be a sign that something is wrong. Has your child recently experienced some major weight fluctuations? Has your child started having sex? Has your child been dealing with some extreme levels of stress or been eating properly? These life changes might not seem directly related, but they are the types of questions that doctors may ask when trying to figure out the cause of a prolonged period. 

Major weight changes in either direction can cause a prolonged & heavy period (menorrhagia) or a total loss of period (amenorrhea). Stress can also affect periods. When one is under stress, their body produces cortisol. Arousal creates a rush of hormones which can delay or rush a period, and poor diet can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies which can affect periods as well. Furthermore, diets high in salt, oil, and fat (things that are generally not great for the body in excess) also tend to affect periods, as they affect the metabolism and weight, which can cause irregular, prolonged, and heavy periods.

Girl in green period underwear relines on bench in front of lockers

When Should I Be Concerned About My Child’s Menstrual Cycle?

While some prolonged periods can be explained by lifestyle changes such as a new birth control (and even these things should be confirmed by a physician), three weeks of bleeding for your child is usually pushing it. It’s unusual and could be potentially harmful. If your child has had their period for three weeks or more, we highly suggest seeing a doctor to help you figure out what the issue is.

Girl in purple sweater faces away from the camera wearing blue patterned period underwear

What Should I Do?

If your child’s period is lasting three weeks or more, it may be time to see a doctor and take them to see a physician or even a specialist, like a gynaecologist. Doctors will be able to get a better look at your child and their body, and find the cause of their prolonged period. 

Periods lasting three weeks or more are not particularly normal, and this is a sign that something may be happening in your child’s body. Things that cause prolonged periods can be polyps (benign growths), adenomyosis (“when the tissue that normally lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows into the muscular wall of the uterus”), or, while rare, still possible– a cancerous lesion on their uterus. The best thing you can do is take them to a professional who can help figure out what the issue is, and then guide your child through what to do next.

Will Birth Control Help Regulate My Child's Menstrual Cycle?

In short, yes. Birth control pills will regulate your child’s menstrual cycle so it occurs like clockwork every 28 days. The bleeding will begin when they start taking the placebo pills and stop when they begin taking the hormonal birth control pills again. It is highly likely your child will have a period lasting for 3 weeks if they are on hormonal birth control pills.

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