Have you ever thought “is my period normal?” or “should I be feeling this bloated, tired and cranky before or during my period?” – or even, “should there be this much blood? Is this normal?”
What is, and what isn’t, normal with periods doesn’t actually vary greatly between women.
So what does a normal period look like?
You should not have painful cramping, heavy bleeding, terrible moods and days on end when you feel uncomfortable and unable to function in your day to day routine. This is not a normal period.
Not all of us openly talk about our period with others, and because of this, many of us may not know what is normal and healthy and what is not. When we speak with Shift Clinic patients and our own friends, we are surprised at how little women know about their periods, how they should look and feel and how the menstrual cycle works. Let’s have a look at a few hallmark signs of a normal and healthy period.
5 signs of a normal and healthy period
1. Your period comes on time.
This means about once per month. The timing of your period can vary from woman to woman, but generally, a period every 26-32 days is considered normal. These dates are measured from the first day of proper bleeding (do not include spotting beforehand) in one period, to the first day of proper bleeding at the next period.
Some websites tell you that ranges outside of these days are OK, but more often than not, when your period comes too early or too late, it is a sign of a hormonal imbalance. A common hormonal imbalance these days is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS, which makes your cycle more likely to be on the longer side and comes with a variety of other metabolic imbalances too.
To understand more about what a normal cycle looks like, download our free Cycle Tracking Guide here.
2. Your period should not be painful.
Although the image projected to us by the media is that a period is your monthly hell, this should not actually be the case. A painful period – that’s terrible, painful cramping – is a signal that something is not right in your body and we need to listen to this signal.
Mild discomfort or awareness of your uterus shedding its lining is OK, but any pain beyond discomfort can be a sign that you have a hormonal or inflammatory signalling imbalance or there can be structural issues such as fibroids, endometriosis or adenomyosis, among others.
Some of these issues will need a diagnosis from your gynaecologist, but their symptoms can also be managed with the help of your naturopath or by booking an appointment with one of our naturopaths.
3. Your period bleeding should not be excessive.
A normal menstrual bleed lasts for 3 to 5 days, it does not often include blood clots and has a manageable flow. The amount of bleeding really does vary from woman to woman, but if you are changing your tampons, pads or cups several times per day because they are about to overflow, then there is a good chance that you are having a heavy bleed.
Blood loss should vary between 10-35 ml over the whole period. This equates to a total of 1 to 7 soaked regular tampons for the whole period. A heavier than normal menstrual flow can result from hormonal imbalances (can you see a trend here?), the conditions outlined in point 2 above or even from iron deficiency.
Again, having a heavy flow is a symptom and should indicate to you that something is out of balance in your body and needs to be looked at.
4. No spotting in the middle of your cycle or before your period.
Spotting is the small amount of blood that can occur outside of your actual period time and again, is a sign that something is not quite right with your cycle. Mid-cycle spotting really needs the attention of your doctor to rule out anything nasty, but again, it can be the uterine response to a hormonal imbalance, as can premenstrual spotting.
Often a hormone-balancing program will clear these symptoms right up. If you’d like more information about this please get in touch with us.
5. You should not experience any PMT/PMS
PMT or PMS can be really disruptive to your life and make it hard for you to have continuity with your work and your relationships. As your hormones and your neurotransmitters are constantly communicating with each other and have regulatory actions on one another, your brain chemistry can be hijacked during the second half of your menstrual cycle.
Feeling a little bit more like staying in with a book for a day or two before your period is normal, but finding your moods swinging, your boobs aching and the tears flowing for days or weeks is yet another sign of a hormonal imbalance that needs attention.
There are so many fabulous remedies to ease these symptoms in the short term and help balance your hormones in the long term so that you don’t have to put up with the premenstrual dragon each month – which is great for you as well as those you spend time with!
Looking for more information?
LISTEN: to The Shift Podcast, Season Two: Women’s Health
We have a great podcast called The Shift and the entire second season is on Women’s Health. To listen, search for ‘The Shift with Katherine Maslen’ wherever you get your podcasts or click on the links below. We’ve selected two episodes below that directly talk about your period and what is normal.
- Episode 3. Your menstrual cycle is a blessing, not a curse. Here’s why. Listen here now.
- Episode 5. Irregular cycles, PCOS, PMS and everything in between. Listen here now.
PURCHASE: our Menstrual Cycle Mastery course (Online. 12 Modules. Instant Access.)
If your hormones feel out of balance, there is going to be a reason why. In this information-packed mini-course, our women’s health specialist naturopath Katherine Maslen will help you finally understand what’s really going on with your menstrual cycle, your hormones and the next steps you can take to master hormonal balance in your body.
- Click here for instant access to this course.