What does your period tell you about your health?
Our menstrual cycles are great indicators of what is going on in our internal landscape and can point at any imbalances that may need attention. We can look at certain qualities like the texture and flow, the amount of blood, the duration, pain, mood and bowel changes. Harmony and abundance within the body manifests as a smooth sailing, healthy period.
What is a normal period?
A normal period should occur at regular cycles of around 28 days, with 3-5 days of bleeding. The bleed should begin and be free flowing from the start, then taper off. The blood should be a rich, deep red colour, and smooth and fluid in texture. Believe it or not, the process should also be pain-free!
What does my menstrual flow tell me?
If our flow has days of trickling, dribbling and spotting in the lead up or finish, or stops and starts throughout, we may need to work on moving blood stagnation or nourishing qi and blood deficiency. If our blood texture is clumpy, clotted or highly viscous, or if the colour is purplish, brown, streaky, pale, or bright red, these can all represent different imbalances like stagnation, deficiency, cold, heat, damp.
What if my periods are really heavy or light? What if I don’t get them at all?
Heavy periods can generally indicate heat and excess, while light or no periods can indicate cold and deficiency, However, this needs to be looked at in the context of other symptoms.
For example, if you’re experiencing light periods where the blood is dark, with large clots, and you get a lot of sharp stabby pains, that could point to blood stasis. Light, pale, thin blood could point more to cold and blood deficiency. If you have not had a period altogether for more than 3 months, this could indicate your body’s reserves are very depleted or stagnant.
What about PMS?
Many of us are accustomed to cramps, low back pain, headaches or breast pain as being an expected part of our cycles.
But it should not have to be that way! These are all signals from your body that it needs something addressed. For example, temporal headaches and breast pain can mean Liver energy is stagnant, often from stress or frustration, whilst dull cramps and low back pain can mean Kidney energy is weak, often from overwork.
Mood changes like feeling very emotionally sensitive, irritable, or down in the dumps, are also not a given part of periods. The same hormonal imbalances that these can represent, can manifest in skin and bowel changes too. For example blood deficiency can show up as low mood, scanty periods, dry skin and constipation, while damp heat can show up as sluggishness, heavy periods, acne and loose stools.
Yes it’s all connected! With Chinese medicine, we can look for the root and begin to shift the body towards a more harmonious state, free from these symptoms.