As a homeopath, one of the things I ask women to tell me about is their period. The most common answer I get is ‘normal’. So I thought I would explore the idea of what ‘normal’ is.
Why do I ask about your period?
The menstrual cycle can tell me so much about your underlying health. For example, if there is a lot of pain, you might be experiencing inflammation. If your period has stopped altogether, it might be due to exhausted adrenals.
Sleep, stress and nutrition all play a vital role in a normal menstrual cycle.
Naturopathic Doctor and period expert Lara Briden refers to your menstrual cycle as your health report card.
Common, but not normal
It is amazing what women will put up with, thinking it is normal.
- Heavy or flooding periods
- Light or spotting periods
- No period
- Large clots
- Reliance on pain medication
- Mood swings
- Sleep issues
These are all common, but not normal in a healthy menstrual cycle.
There may be some variation for different age groups. During teenage years when the cycle starts, cramping and heavy or irregular periods may be more common as the cycle settles into its natural routine. During peri-menopause, the cycle will change again and finally stop altogether in the menopause.
What is normal?
When you are in good health your period will arrive regularly and be symptom free.
According to Dr Briden, a normal healthy period will be:
- 2-7 days in length
- Cycle length on average is 28 days, but it can be from 21-35 days
- Small clots are normal, large clots are not
- Colour should be red to reddish-brown
- You should lose a total of 3 tablespoons over the length of your period. What does this look like in practice? Not changing your pad or tampon any more frequently than once every two hours during the day and not changing at all during the night.
Normal, healthy periods are totally possible
The three things to focus on are:
- Prioritising sleep
- Eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet
- Slowing down and respecting your body’s natural cycle
So, if I asked you about your period, would your answer be ‘normal’?