I think/hope my cycle is just changing as I move into my mid-twenties (I'm 23). My cycle is typically 29-35 days. I usually bleed for five days. In the past, the first 2-3 days of my period were intensely heavy, but my last cycle, I didn't bleed much the first day, though I bled more the second and third. My cramps were not quite as intense as they usually are, though I was definitely in pain and the cramps lasted four or five days as usual. My small breasts grew bigger about two months ago and still feel strange to me. I also started experiencing PMS symptoms for the first time in my life. For my past two cycles, about 1.5 weeks before my period starts, my breasts start to hurt INTENSELY and I am also having more frequent headaches during that week or so.
I'm wondering if this is normal or if I should take a pregnancy test despite having just finished a period that was FAIRLY normal in terms of cramping and bleeding. The idea of decidual bleeding subbing in for a period makes me nervous, but I watch my cycles fairly closely by monitoring discharge(not my temperature, though) and I hope I'd recognize it. If my period came when I expected it and was fairly normal, I should be fine, but this cycle, I can't shake my nerves. I am getting an IUD (right now my fiance and I just use condoms) sometime this summer, but until then, I'm still stressing over my slim odds of getting pregnant despite careful condom use.
It's just a little unsettling to experience so many changes to a cycle that had been relatively consistent/predictable for several years. I started my period when I was nearly 14, stopped having it when I was 15 (too skinny) and didn't have another period until I went on birth control at 17. I went off birth control at 18 and my periods started getting more painful and heavier with every cycle from 18-20. When I was 21 and 22, my periods stayed painful and heavy, and came within a 29-35 day window.
Sorry for the novel!