For more in-depth discussion on these or any other women’s health-related issues, please contact our

Email advice or Telephone advisory service (UK only), or consult your own general practitioner.

Why are my periods irregular and is this normal?

Answer: The average menstrual cycle or gap between the periods is 28 to 30 days, but different women have different cycles, and this is perfectly normal. Things that affect your lifestyle such as stress, illness, weight (gain or loss) and exercise can all affect the cycle, as can hormonal contraception.

Irregular periods are also very common during puberty and when nearing or during the menopause. If you have bleeding with or after sex, irregular bleeding between periods, which is different to what is normal for you, if there are fewer than three weeks between the periods themselves, or there is bleeding after the menopause, then your GP should be seen for further advice.

My periods are very heavy with clots. Is this anything to worry about?

Answer: Most women’s periods last between two and seven days. Generally this includes one or two days of heavy flow.

However we are all different and therefore this will not be the same for everyone. Also, the amount of bleeding can vary from month to month, and this is totally normal. The bleeding will often have clots.

If your period is so heavy that you have to change your pad or tampon more than once an hour, if the blood is coming out in a steady stream and won’t stop, or if your bleeding is lasting longer than seven days, then you do need to see your GP.

I am 15 why is my first period so late in coming?

Answer: Most girls will get their first period between the ages of 11 and 14, but there will be girls who get it earlier or later, there is no right age. Sometimes the age your mother had her first period will be an indication, but not always.

The main thing is not to worry too much about it, as anxiety and stress is likely to affect the cycle.

Can I get pregnant if I have sex during a period?

Answer: It is possible to get pregnant at any time during the menstrual cycle, including during the period, therefore always practice safe sex and use contraception and a condom when having sex.

I am 48 and have not had a period for six months. Am I safe to have unprotected sex?

Answer: It is generally advised that under the age of 50, it is safe to have unprotected sex two years after your last period. If you are over 50, it should be safe to have unprotected sex one year after your last period.