24 Nov Is Your Period Trying to Tell You Something?
Menstruation is a symbol of feminine nature and health. Therefore, your period and your menstrual cycle are indicators of your overall health!
When you get your period, the only message you might read is that you’re not pregnant. However, it can give you much more information about your health: weight problems, stress, hormonal imbalances… Pay attention to your cycle, it may be trying to tell you something! Get the keys to understanding your menstrual flow in this blog post.
First: What’s Normal in Periods?
To detect possible anomalies, first you have to know what is normal for you: frequency, duration, amount, painful cramps… Keep in mind:
- The menstrual cycle begins the first day of a your period and lasts until the first day of the next one. cycle that lasts between 21 and 35 days is considered normal(1).
- If you period lasts 2 to 7 days, it is considered normal, although in some women it may deviate slightly. (1)
- In the first years of menstruation it is normal to have irregularities due to the immaturity of the hormonal system.
- It is also common for the period to last longer during the first years of menstruation and to shorten as the years go by.
- In the years leading up to menopause (perimenopause) irregularities occur with frequency due to normal hormonal changes.
- Hormonal contraceptives can also alter your menstrual cycle. (1)
What irregularities could you experience and what do they indicate?
What It Might Mean: pregnancy, menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid dysfunction, too much stress or underweight, among others.
The absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) is one of the indicators that you should consider the most. If pregnancy is ruled out and you are not close to menopause, it is important to find the cause to avoid health problems. In any case, we recommend you to go to the doctor if you have 3 to 6 months with no periods.
What It Might Mean: Endometriosis, fibroids, hormonal imbalances, among others.
Painful periods are very common. However, if it is a debilitating pain that can affect your daily life, we recommend you to talk with your gynecologist or doctor to rule out problems such as endometriosis or other health problems. Visit your doctor also if you note changes in your pain.
What It Might Mean: fibroids, hemophilia, hormone imbalance
Heavy periods are characterized by needing to change sanitary products every 1-2 hours or a steady flow for more than 7 days. It could be because you have too much or too little progesterone or estrogen.
What It Might Mean: fibroids, hormonal imbalance, polyps
A normal menstrual cycle is anywhere from 21-35 days and our cycles are likely to change as we age, but fewer than 9 periods a year can signal a bigger issue. It could be an indicator of polyps, which are benign growths on the inner wall of your uterus that can stop your flow. You should consult your doctor if you don’t get your period for 3 months.
Changes in Color
What It Might Mean: low estrogen levels, polycystic ovary syndrome, perimenopause
If your flow is lighter than usual, your period blood may look pinker, usually indicating that your estrogen levels are low. Low estrogen levels can be caused by excessive exercising or poor nutrition, but they can also signal that you are transitioning into menopause during which your estrogen levels decrease rapidly. Low estrogen levels can increase your risk of osteoporosis if left untreated, so make sure you take care of yourself and talk to a physician if you notice this change.
What It Might Mean: nutritional deficiency, anemia
If your flow looks white-ish and diluted this can be a symptom of severe anemia. If you often have really heavy periods this can cause an iron deficiency. Make sure that you are eating properly to help this symptom.
- Dark Brown
What It Might Mean: Older uterine lining
If your flow is darker it may just be because there are older bits of uterine lining that are just now exiting your body. Since the blood has been in your body for a while it has had time to oxidize making it look darker. This is nothing to worry about, everyone sheds their lining at different rates.
- Thick and Red
What It Might Mean: low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels, uterine fibroids
Although some clotting is normal, if your period blood is thick with large clots this can indicate severe hormonal imbalances or even uterine fibroids. You can help to balance your hormones by reducing your consumption of dairy, soy, and sugar.
- Gray and Red
What It Might Mean: STD, miscarriage
If your period blood looks gray and is accompanied by a bad smell this could be a sign of an STD. If there is a chance that you are pregnant and you see chunks of gray along with blood this can often indicate a miscarriage.
- Bright Red
What It Might Mean: You’re healthy!
Everyone’s normal period color may look a little different, but bright red blood usually signals a healthy regular period.
Paying your health the attention it deserves is the best way to avoid any of these problems. Track and observe your menstruation to detect changes and go to the doctor if you detect something that doesn’t feel normal!
- Mayo Clinic. (2016). Menstrual cycle: What’s normal, what’s not. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Serret Montoya, J., Hernández Cabezza, A., Mendoza Rojas, O. and Cárdenas Navarrete, R. (2017). Alteraciones menstruales en adolescentes. [online] Scielo.org.mx. Available at: http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?pid=S1665-11462012000100010&script=sci_arttext [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Golfxsconprincipios.com. (2015). Replicas a tamaño natural del útero, en reposo y durante la menstruación | Golfxs con principios. [online] Available at: http://www.golfxsconprincipios.com/lamoscacojonera/replicas-a-tamano-natural-del-utero-en-reposo-y-durante-la-menstruacion/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Morlans H., X. and Fernández Z., P. (2006). Trastornos menstruales en adolescente: alteración de flujos rojos. [online] Revista.sochimef.org. Available at: http://revista.sochimef.org/index.php/revchimf/article/viewFile/41/41 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Nunez, Alanna. Prevention. (2017). 6 Things The Color Of Your Period Blood Says About Your Health. [online] Gynecological Health. Available at: https://www.prevention.com/health/color-of-your-period-blood-and-health [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].
- Kramer, J. (2014). What Your Period Can Tell You About Your Health. [online] Women’s Health. Available at: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/period-health-clues [Accessed 27 Oct. 2017].