Isn’t it crazy that in 2023 so many women still have not been taught what a normal period looks like?!

The problem with this lack of understanding is that we can learn to live with difficult symptoms because we believe they are “normal” and therefore suffer unnecessarily. In this blog I aim to address some of this ,helping you to feel empowered around your period!

What is a Period?

You might think you know this but…. you can only have a true period IF you have ovulated. If you are not ovulating because of the pill or you happen to have a cycle where you do not ovulate (an anovulatory cycle – these are more common than you’d think, especially during perimeno years) your bleed is instead a breakthrough or withdrawal bleed. It is not a true period. Oh, and having a period does not mean you ovulated, to be clear!

The decline in your oestrogen and progesterone towards the end of your cycle (luteal phase) triggers the lining of your womb to shed and bleed so the whole cycle can begin again!

Day one of your cycle is the first day of bleeding, not spotting. It is not normal to spot for more than 3 days before you properly bleed or for 3 days after.

Typically, it is heaviest on day one and then gets heavier over the following days. 3-7 days is normal cycle length. However, every woman will have different patterns to this, and this is still considered to be healthy.

What Flow is normal?

About 4 tablespoons is considered normal…… I get it though, not many of us have a tablespoon to hand when measuring our period blood!! A flow that is considered normal would see you using 6-10 fully soaked tampons or pads during your bleed (each one soaks up about 1tsp of blood).

Too light would be up to 5 regular tampons or pads throughout your period. You might also see an erratic flow of blood, which may be watery or light in colour. This can sometimes be indicative of a lack of ovulation or an oestrogen deficiency.

On the other hand, a heavy flow (sometimes called menorrhagia – this word sounds like a weird sex act to me, but anyway…..!!) would be more than 5.5 tablespoons….you would be flooding period care products and probably having large clots & long bleeds. Oestrogen or thyroid hormones are often the culprits here if there is no other diagnosis.

That being said, if you do not have any other symptoms, this could just be normal for YOU!!

How long should my Period last?

A normal period is considered to be anything between 3-7 days. However again it may be “normal” for your body to be slightly less or longer, so if you do not have any other symptoms then do not worry!

How long is a normal Cycle?

Firstly, the perfect 28 days cycle is a myth, largely created with the introduction of the pill. The average length is 29 days, but normal is considered to be anywhere between 25-35 days.

What consistency should it be?

Think of a bottle of good quality maple syrup and that is exactly the consistency of blood that you are looking for! It is normal to have some small clots and tissue (looks like chopped up liver……. nice!!!) but large clots or clumps of tissue may warrant further investigation.

This is another great advantage of not wearing tampons as it means you can have a good knowledge of your body – your menstrual cycle is your 5th vital sign so it is SO important you know how healthy your period is!

What colour should it be?

As menstrual fluid is made from cervical mucus, red blood cells and endometrial tissue,  there can be variation in its colour depending on what is happening in your body. The colour can vary from light pink (usually due to cervical mucous or sometimes oestrogen deficiency) to very dark/ brown (indicating slower moving blood or sometimes unopposed oestrogen). Ideally a nice cherry red is what we are looking for.

Is pain normal?

No.

I could leave it there but……. we have been sold a lie! PERIOD PAIN IS NOT NORMAL!! I cannot emphasise this enough!

If you need to take more than 2 ibuprofen (if you choose to take painkillers) throughout your cycle there is something out of balance. Our periods should not disrupt our lives and shutting it down with synthetic hormones like the pill is rarely the solution (although I appreciate that they can be a God send to some women!).

So many women experience painful periods that we have normalised the pain because it is so common. Fortunately, there are so many lifestyle changes we can make, that can significantly reduce this pain.

What next?

Start keeping notes of your experiences of your period. The more understanding you have of the whispers your body is giving you, the stronger placed you are to optimise your hormone health.

If you would like to explore how to optimise your hormones to support your menstrual cycle, you can book a discovery call with me today.