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21 Things Gynecologists Want You To Know About Your Period

"Is this normal?!"

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us questions they had about their periods that they were too scared to ask.

Then we spoke with board-certified gynecologist Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Yale School of Medicine to get her expert responses on these questions.

And here's what she had to say:

1. Why is the blood darker in the end of the period? β€”vitoriafirmino

2. Why exactly do my poop habits change around and during my period? β€”caitlinef

3. Why do I get so emotional when I’m on my period? β€”karlijns2

4. When I wear a menstrual cup and I lay down, does the blood go back in? β€”franciew2

5. Is it true that if you never get your period ever, you cannot get pregnant? β€”catfarmer

6. When I was growing up, I was told that leaving tampons in longer than four hours could open you up to risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome, but most girls I know sleep in tampons. Isn't this a bad idea, and really dangerous? β€”jmac1973

7. What side effects can there be when you take your birth control packs back to back (skipping the placebo week)? β€”kmmayy

8. Can having sex throw off your cycle? β€”ceararenee321

9. Is it safe to use a menstrual cup if you have an IUD? β€”danielaviera04

10. Why is it that sometimes I don't get my period but still have the symptoms like cramping, bloating, and heightened emotions while using a contraceptive like an IUD? β€”missjulie19892

11. Is it normal if sometimes there are big β€œjelly” clots during my period? β€”a4c28fa055

12. Is it normal for your boobs to feel really sore when you are on your period? Mine always get really sore when I’m on it and I’m not sure if this is normal or not. β€”doglover23

13. What causes the back pain? β€”drbagels123

14. Is it normal for the labia to ache during menstruation? β€”kathrynw499763d38

15. How long after giving birth will my period start back up again? β€”l4a2f7441e

16. What do the different colors of period blood mean? (Dark red, blood red, light red, reddish pink). Do they represent hormone levels? β€”peopleoftheuniverse7012

17. Why do periods emit a funky smell, and how can you avoid smelling like it? β€”joyw407b53e12

18. Lately I have been getting migraine headaches at the beginning of each cycle. They knock me out worse than cramps do. Is this just a part of getting older or is this not normal? β€”emmag48a366955

19. Why do we get weird food cravings with our periods? β€”caitlynm4782d8d27

20. Is it a red flag if all of a sudden your flow becomes more irregular and heavier then before? β€”nicegirlz202

21. Is having few periods (a handful a year) a sign of underlying illness? Aside from this, I'm healthy and the periods themselves are normal. β€”kadamony

If you have a specific question or concern about your period, don't be afraid to ask your gynecologist! Open communication between both of you will help you get the answers you need.

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