The Cycle Phases: Menstruation
Your menstrual cycle isn’t just a period, then nothing, then another period. It’s a hormone-driven cycle that breaks down into four phases: menstruation, follicular, ovulation, and last but not least, the luteal phase. Each of these phases tell us a lot about our bodies. This week we are diving into the first stage, menstruation.
Here are a few important points we like to give our clients as a baseline for what menstruation should look like for most of us.
Duration: Your period should be 3-7 days long preferably in the 4-5 range. Your body is likely communicating an issue if it does not fall within these ranges.
Symptoms: Your blood should be a bright, cranberry juice red with no large clots. Anything larger than a quarter is likely your body communicating an issue. Period cramps, pains, or backaches should not disrupt daily life. Extreme PMS symptoms may be common but they are NOT normal.
Heavy or prolonged bleeding is a common concern we see here in the store. It can be very difficult to decide what is “normal” when it comes to someone’s period. Every body is truly different and you can not really compare your period with someone else. The medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding is “menorrhagia” and dictates both abnormally heavy periods and prolonged bleeding. Losing over 90 ml of menstrual blood per period is considered heavy bleeding. To give you a rough estimate, a soaked light tampon can keep up to 3 mL of fluid, while a fully soaked super tampon may contain up to 12 mL.
Another common concern we see is strong PMS symptoms and discomfort before or during menstruation. What we are about to say is very important to pay attention:
It's easy to blame your cramps, headaches, tenderness, bloating, heavy/prolonged bleeding, or other PMS symptoms on your period but your period is not the problem.
Okay, so what does that mean?
The way that we live out our daily lives can either nourish and nurture out endocrine system, or hurt it. Lifestyle begets the hormonal imbalance, which begets the symptoms that arise with your cycle. If your body cannot detox the proper hormones, get the nutrients, rest, and movement it needs, it's going to try to communicate that to us. And guess what? That communication often shows up in the forms of PMS. Ugh!
So, what can we do?
First, we want to consider all our culprits. Jamie has a list of questions she uses to help her get a clear picture of your symptoms, concerns, overall health, lifestyle, and end result goals. She then is able to take possible causes into consideration like...
Estrogen Dominance: Estrogen dominance is tightly connected to improper liver detoxification. When your estrogen is being recirculated into the bloodstream in high amounts, you may experience multiple or extreme PMS symptoms and heavy/prolonged bleeding.
Thyroid & Adrenal Health: Today we are leading lives that are highly stressful, undernourished, bombarded with toxins, and lacking quality sleep. The thyroid and adrenals are very sensitive to these which can be catastrophic because they help control things like, blood pressure, fertility, weight, menstruation, digestions, energy levels, memory, and more.
Metabolic Health: Your metabolic health is the set of life sustaining chemical reactions within the body. I tis how your body changes food into energy and every single bodily function requires just that - energy. Yes, even the menstrual cycle and hormone health.
Stress: Stress can be a huge driver of nutrient deficiencies because under stress your body will burn through certain vitamins and minerals a lot faster
Diet & Supplements: Focusing on foods and herbs to diminish PMS, restore hormones, and support the body is ideal. We may need to supplement when necessary. When we eat right and supplement when necessary, we fuel all functions of the body so they are able to do their thing and do it well!
Exercise: Our body needs different movement as different points of our cycle. While movement is absolutely necessary for a healthy body, it's also important to recognize how to move your body within your cycle and to find your own unique balance. Our hormones play a part in our energy level and when we push our bodies over their energy levels, it can throw our hormones off.
Environmental Toxins: Believe it or not, the products you use daily may be disrupting your hormone balance. Toxins in our products can be endocrine disrupters. They have the ability to resemble natural estrogen so closely that they fit into the same receptor within the body. When they bind to this receptor, your natural hormones can not, which exasperates the negative effect of too much estrogen in the body. Once established, they can be very hard to detox from the body causing lasting effects on your hormonal health.
All of these can factors can cause hormone imbalance and THAT is the real problem, not your period. Globally, we are not really taught what is "normal" when it comes to our period. Maybe this is because it's complex, maybe it's because the information simply isn't shared enough. Whatever the reason, it's time for a change. It's time to take our power back. These are our bodies and this is our health. If you're battling PMS, heavy periods, lack of periods, irregularity, anything that disrupts your daily life, know that it doesn't have to be that way. Just because it's common does not mean it's normal.
If you have questions, are experiencing any of these symptoms, or just want to learn more, please reach out to us! This is a topic we are passionate about here in the store and enjoy working with women every day to get to the bottom of their symptoms and concerns. We are located at 4242 Gordon Dr. here in Sioux City, IA. upstairs above Chiropractic First of Iowa. If you're not in the area, please give us a call at (712) 525-0478 or message us on social media to set up a virtual meet up.
Store hours are:
Monday 12pm - 4pm
Tuesday 10am - 6pm
Wednesday 10am - 6pm
Thursday 10am - 6pm
Friday 10am - 6pm
Saturday 10am - 3pm