My goal in writing this article is to help you read your body and listen when it is telling you something is out of balance. The menstrual cycle is one of the best ways the body communicates about your fertility. The details of your menstrual cycle can be used as a window into your fertility. Telling you just what is going on, where an imbalance might lie, how your reproductive circulation is, if there is a hormonal imbalance and so on.
Missing A Period
Missing one period is no cause for alarm. The hormonal balance is very delicate and can be affected easily by stress. It generally will reset itself. Missing one or a couple of periods does not imply infertility necessarily as you can still ovulate even if you are not menstruating. Missing a period for 6 months or more is called amenorrhea and is covered below.
Short cycles can cause fertility issues due to lack of ovulation, too short of follicular phase or luteal phase, lack of nutrition, deficiencies, anemia or low body weight. Traditionally, one of the best herbs that has been used for luteal phase defect is vitex. In studies vitex helped 83% of women experiencing luteal phase defect.
A longer period may be an indication of hormonal imbalance and/or a failure to ovulate. Progesterone secreted by the body after ovulation normally helps to stop excess bleeding because of its effect on preserving the uterine lining. If estrogen is high or progesterone low, bleeding may continue longer than usual. Click here to read more about a therapy that has been used for balancing longer periods and excessive bleeding successfully.
This is known to be caused by prostaglandin imbalance and/or over-stimulation of the uterine lining from estrogens (estrogen dominance). Traditionally, this imbalance can be helped by:
- Regulating/balancing the hormones with the use of herbs and diet
- Supporting the liver in excreting excess estrogen
- Modifying the diet can also help to modify the prostaglandin balance.
Nutritional imbalances have also been linked to prolonged or heavy bleeding. Vitamin A deficiency may be a contributing factor in heavy menstruation. Studies have shown vitamin A intake to significantly decrease the amount of blood and the duration of the menses.
Another important vitamin, vitamin C, has been shown to help reduce heavy bleeding by strengthening the capillaries, helping to reduce their fragility. One study showed an 87% success rate in reducing of heavy bleeding with vitamin C. Click here to read about overcoming heavy menstrual flow.
Light Menstruation With Strong Cramping
Generally, the cramping could be helped by using herbs that have an anti-spasmodic, calming effect on the uterus. If there is light, bright red menstruation, this may also be a sign of a lack of circulation to the uterus (called a ‘cold uterus’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Bright Red Blood
Generally bright red blood indicates a healthy period. Rejoice!
Dark, Brown Or Thick Blood
Thick dark blood that looks old or is brown is old blood left over from the previous cycle. This may be caused by a sluggish menstrual flow, lack of uterine tone or low uterine circulation.
Pale Blood, Watery Or Thin Menstruation
Pale pink, thin blood traditionally signifies poor blood quality which can be enriched by using blood building herbs, hormone balancing, and increasing circulation. Eating a healthy diet may also be beneficial.
Clots are traditionally seen as a sign of stagnation created from excessive flow that is not being expelled.
Spotting And Bleeding Between Periods
Spotting is a tricky subject as it can be caused by many different factors. Most times it is not something to be concerned about but some of the causes may be:
- Disturbance in the hormonal/balance – feedback loop
- Failure to ovulate
- Abnormalities of the cervix
- Ovarian cysts
- Ovulation has occurred – some women experience spotting during ovulation due to the oestrogen changes at mid-cycle.
- Hormonal contraceptives
- Excessive exercise
- Poor nutrition
No Period (Amenorrhea)
It can be quite frustrating if you are trying to get pregnant and yet have no period. Having a healthy cycle is step one for boosting your fertility naturally and being able to get pregnant. There are a couple of reasons your cycle may be irregular in women in their reproductive years such as stress, dietary deficiencies, low body weight, getting off of birth control pills, hormonal imbalance, may be entering menopause, or be experiencing other underlying health issues.
Since the lining of the uterus is not being shed, it is very important to clear out the old blood and establish a healthy cycle again. This can be done naturally and effectively with herbs and nutrition. I have talked with many clients who have been offered synthetic estrogen and all sort of drugs to get there periods going again… taking synthetic estrogen for this issue is like using a sledge hammer on a thumb tack.
It is very normal for women who are in perimenopause to experience sporadic cycles. Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. As perimenopause progresses toward menopause, it is normal for menstrual cycles to become irregular, or absent due to hormone levels fluctuating. As ovarian reserve diminishes and egg health declines, hormone levels change preparing the body for menopause. This is completely normal. A woman who has not had a menstrual cycle for a year or more and is between the ages of 40-55 is considered to be menopausal.
If you have difficulties with your menses, click here to read about a natural way to get your regular menses back. Also for those that have been diagnosed with Hormonal Imbalance, you can click here to read about steps you can take to balance you reproductive hormones and improve your fertility.
If you have gained anything from reading this, don’t hesitate to share it with others too. Put your comments and questions or topics you will like us to write about in the comment box below.
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