My Period is Normal, Right?!
It’s important to understand what a “normal” period is and what symptoms or signs could be considered abnormal. Your period is a reflection of your overall health and for thousands of years traditional Chinese medicine has been examining the menstrual cycle for clues of imbalances within your body. A lot of women likely don’t question the health of their period because we don’t often discuss the nitty gritty of our cycle. We tend to think what our cycle looks like is the same as everyone else’s – which is not the case. Let’s have a look at the different factors that contribute to a “normal” period:
Length of Cycle:
A normal period is roughly 26-32 days. This is the time from day 1 of your period (the first day you are bleeding, spotting doesn’t count), until the start of your next period.
If you have a cycle of <26 days, then it’s considered short.
If you have one of >32 days, then it’s long.
In traditional Chinese medicine we pay special attention to the amount of blood, its colour, consistency, and painful cramps.
A normal cycle should have 3-6 days of full bleeding.
The amount of blood should be 60-80 ml, or 2-3 regular pads/2-3 regular tampons per day (this amount could vary on your heaviest day of bleeding).
Signs of a Heavy Flow:
- If you’re using more than 6 regular tampons per day
- If you’re bleeding through your tampon in less than 2 hours
- If you bleed for more than 6 days
- If you have to wake up to change your pad/tampon at night
Signs of a Light Flow:
- If you’re using less than 1-2 regular tampons per day
- If you bleed for less than 3 days
- If you only need a panty liner
The colour of your bleed gives us many clues as to what’s going on in the body. In short, your blood should be a cherry red, and if it is a different hue of red, there could be some imbalances happening in the body. To look more in-depth about blood colour, check out this post.
Your menstrual blood should appear to be the consistency of tomato juice. If it appears to be watery, or like jello with clots or tissue, this is abnormal. (Note that some small clotting is normal, but should be very minimal)
Pain With Your Period:
In TCM it’s believed that your period should come and go with very little to no pain at all. It’s normal to have a little bit of tenderness or cramping with your period. It should not be enough to take medication, stay home from work, or stay in bed all day.
During the different phases of your cycle you should not have severe mood changes. Feelings of anger, depression or anxiety at the start and end of your period is abnormal.
Many people complain of getting painful headaches during their cycle. If you are one of these people, it’s a sign that your period is abnormal.
When your ovulatory phase comes and goes, you should not feel any symptoms other than increases cervical fluid that appears to be watery and clear. Some slight pain may be normal, but you should discuss it with your TCM practitioner.
Learning what a normal period looks like can alert you to some potential underlying problems you didn’t even realize were there. It is possible to get relief and regulate your cycle. Changing up your diet, lifestyle, adding in acupuncture, acupressure, and staying aware of clues your body is giving you can all have positive changes to regulate your period. Having a healthy, pain free period is attainable.
Need Some Period Help?
- Check out our comprehensive at-home acupressure program here to develop an acupressure protocol. Adding in acupressure to your daily routine can help with painful side effects and regulate your period.
- Learn in-depth about the 4 phases of your cycle and what they mean here.
- Learn about castor oil packs and how to use them to regulate your period and reduce pain here.