What Your Period Says About Your Health
Rebecca Verhofstede - Midwife Cycle & Fertility Expert
Your period is your inner barometer, and it’s trying to tell you something. Are you listening?
How often you get it, how long it lasts, how heavy the flow is different for everyone, but the key is to be in tune with your own body. It can help you understand what your period says about you. When you know what’s normal and healthy for you, you’re more likely to notice when something’s wrong.
Here are some of the most common period issues:
When we say heavy flow, we are talking about needing to change your pad or tampon every 1-2 hours or needing to use a pad and a tampon together, or having periods that last more than a week.
If you struggle with these symptoms, it could be a sign of hormonal problems or a possible infection like pelvic inflammatory disease. The best course of action is to see your GP to talk about healthy period blood. if your periods suddenly become heavy or are so heavy they impact your lifestyle.
The obvious reason to miss a period is that you’re pregnant but if you’ve ruled that out through a pregnancy test, something else could be at play.
Stress or being underweight can also be a cause. Some medications can also stop periods. If your period is MIA for several months in a row, record any other symptoms (like acne, hair growth or loss, weight gain or loss) and book in to see your GP as soon as possible.
If your cycle is longer than 40 days, or the length of each cycle varies by more than 7-9 days, you could have irregular periods. There are lots of possible causes including stress, hormonal imbalances or PCOS.
There’s also some totally normal reasons why your period might be a bit random. For example, if you’re breastfeeding. The hormone prolactin can cause what doctors call lactational amenorrhea. It’s completely harmless and your period should return when you’re feeding less frequently or when you stop altogether.
Some people may get a visit from Aunt Flow as often as every three weeks. Lucky you!
This could still be quite normal – anywhere from 22-40 days is considered a normal cycle length.
If your period is showing up more frequently, it could also be due to increased exercise, weight loss, or stress. If you’re worried, talk to your GP.
Bleeding or Spotting Between Periods
There are a lot of different reasons that blood could be showing up during the off-season.
It could be as simple as an imbalance in your hormones or a problem with the type of birth control you’re using. It could also be an early sign of pregnancy.
But more sinister causes include endometriosis, fibroids, polyps or even some STDs! Eeek!
Since there are so many possible causes, we recommend checking with your GP if you’re regularly spotting between periods.
Cramps are incredibly common and happen in about 50% of all women. They are caused by the walls of your uterus tightening. It’s not always possible to identify the specific cause, but a higher-than-normal level of a hormone called prostaglandin is usually to blame. If your cramps are so bad they prevent you from doing the things you want to do, see your doctor. It may also be a good idea to record any other symptoms too, since this will help diagnose the root cause.
If you feel that cramps are too painful or if they control your day-to-day life, please chat with us. We have a team of experts, and we'll do everything to help you!
Blood Colour and What it Says About Your Health
What does a healthy period look like? The colour of your menstrual blood will be different for everyone, but you can usually expect it to be thicker at the start of your period.
What does a normal period look like?
Here’s a breakdown of what each colour means:
- Bright red: Congrats! Bright red blood is considered normal and healthy.
- Brown: Brown stuff is actually old, oxidised blood that didn’t make it out of your uterus during your last cycle. It is caused by low progesterone levels, which could be the cause of negative period symptoms and irregular ovulation.
- Purple: If your blood kind of looks like frozen blueberries, it’s a sign that you might have too much estrogen. When estrogen levels are much higher than progesterone, it can cause a variety of problematic period symptoms.
- Light pink: A super short period with extra light bleeding could be a sign of low estrogen levels. Your hormones are directly related to the food you eat, so if your estrogen is low, it could be due to a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. If you’re dieting or extra stressed, it could indicate your diet is too restrictive or that you’re on the edge of burnout. Be cautious!
If you’re concerned about the colour of your period blood, it’s best to book an appointment with your GP.
If you experience PMS symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, sore breasts, acne, cravings, bloating, know you are not alone.
As much as 90% of women experience these symptoms on a regular basis, but just because they are common, does not mean they are normal. For generations, we have heard these symptoms are just “part of being a woman” Not anymore!
Trust us when we say that making small lifestyle changes can decrease your symptoms.
If you want to learn more about this, learn more about how to hack your cycle in our blog post.
Interested in improving your menstrual health? We can help! Chat with us.