What IS a normal period? What is a healthy period?
If you buy into what you see on TV, it’s rolling blading down a promenade on a bleaching hot day wearing shorts, a huge smile …and the market’s best selling tampon, of course!
Must be the perfect period.Yeah, right!
Is there even such a thing as the perfect period?
I used to envy any woman who said “my monthly is really light, quick, pain free and no hassle” until I learned that just maybe she’s not building up a healthy womb lining needed for pregnancy. That said, no period should be a living hell either.
There may not be period perfection, but there are some signs of a healthy period and cycle. A range of “normal” period, if you like.
What is a healthy period then and if you’re worried, what should you do?
HOW MANY DAYS SHOULD MY CYCLE BE?
A cycle should be somewhere between 25-35 days long.
Shorter cycles can suggest hormone havoc – sometimes it’s too much of the hormone oestrogen in relation to progesterone. It can spell trouble falling pregnant, because the second part of the cycle is a bit too short. Many fertility experts believe the second part of the cycle (following ovulation) should be at least 12 days, but 10 or less is considered short.
Long cycles can indicate hormone imbalance too or a condition that is messing with ovulation, like PCOS.
A cycle should be the same or similar each time. So if it’s 27 days one month, 36 the next and then 24, it’s irregular.
Occasional “irregular” periods aren’t a cause for concern, because sometimes stress, illness or changes of routine like air travel, can mess with your cycle.
WHAT IS A NORMAL MENSTRUAL FLOW?
We discuss some lovely subjects here at Life and Cycles!
Healthy period flow should be bright red blood, like when you cut your finger.
If it’s brown or dark, it can be a sign that blood isn’t flowing well. Dark red blood and clotty flow can also be a sign that you have too much oestrogen in relation to progesterone.
Periods shouldn’t be really clotty. A few very small clots on the first day is considered okay.
The flow should be noticeable and good – not so heavy, you daren’t sneeze for fear of flooding your jeans, though. No woman should spend her period literally glued to the toilet.
Do you get up at night to change your tampon or towel due to heavy flow? Nope, not great either.
HOW MANY DAYS IS A HEALTHY PERIOD?
3-5 days of bleeding is the average. 2-7 is normal.
IS PMS NORMAL?
PMS isn’t part of a healthy period. Sorry. It’s usually a sign that there is an imbalance somewhere.
We hear many a tale about hideous cramps, binge eating chocolate and monster mood swings – not “normal”either. We’ve suffered ourselves. We know what its like.
Breaking out in terrible teenage type acne and sorry breasts swelling like zeppelins?
Here’s a top tip for PMS…
…eat a blood sugar balancing diet i.e. eat good quality protein with every meal and snack, eat good fats and avoid sugar and “white” refined carbs like the plague.
Don’t worry if you experience mild symptoms, like a little cramping, feeling more sensitive and the odd spot, but do investigate any severe symptoms.
SHOULD I SEE CHANGES TO MUCUS?
It’s totally normal to notice the discharge in your knickers. It’s totally normal to have “stuff” in there.
It’s super healthy to see the mucus change over the course of your cycle.
Mother Nature designed it to change over the month, so around ovulation you should get a stretchy “egg whitey” mucus. It’s a miracle of design that literally helps sperm swim up it. Totes amazing.
Before and after ovulation, it tends to be thicker, drier and less clear.
SHOULD I SMELL DOWN THERE?
Women asked this question before! The answer is yes and no.
Yes, you should notice a very faint, almost musky smell when you’re not on your period. A faint blood smell when you’re bleeding is normal too.
But you shouldn’t smell strongly, fishy or cheesy. That can be a sign of infection, especially if you also notice itching, burning, pain, feeling hot or really tired. Check it out straight away.
And never cover your natural faint smell with fragrances – perfumes and other smelly products can be full of toxic and nasty chemicals which harm health, hormones, mucus and fertility. Wash with clean water only.
SHOULD I BE SPOTTING?
Some women report “spotting” around ovulation. It typically lasts 1-2 days and is light. It’s fine.
Some women also see spotting roughly a week after ovulation, which is called “implantation spotting”, as it’s the time when any embryo would snuggle into the womb lining.
Investigate any bleeding at other times.
Any bleeding in the second part of your cycle can be an indication of low progesterone. Progesterone holds our womb lining in place for implantation or is be shed as period blood, if there is no pregnancy.
WHAT DOES YOUR CYCLE SAY ABOUT YOU?
Our cycles are great clues to fertility, hormone health and general health.
That’s why we ask women to chart their cycles, especially if they want to get pregnant or they have some unwanted and sucky symptoms. Charts, any test results and case histories, as well as Rebecca’s Traditional Chinese Medicine tools can help us work out what change to make for a healthy period.
What is your period telling YOU? Are you worried now? Please stay calm.
WHAT SHOULD I DO, IF I’M WORRIED ABOUT MY PERIOD?
Speak with your doctor if you’re worried. They can arrange any tests to help work out what’s going on for you and discuss your treatment options.
A word of caution.
We have women come to see us who have been told they are “normal” yet they don’t feel they have a healthy period or normal cycle.
OR sometimes doctors suggest hormonal contraceptives to “suppress” their symptoms and cycle. It’s up to you, of course, but that could be burying a problem, not finding a root cause.
There is so much you can do with food choices, lifestyle habits, supplements and our natural therapies to sort out your own haywire cycles and restore a healthy period. If you want to find out how we – at Life and Cycles in Norwich – can can help you with that, drop us a line.
Enjoy your roller blading, wonderful women. *winks*