Let’s Talk Periods: What’s Normal and What’s Not

Did you know that as a menstruator you will have an average of 450 periods throughout your lifetime? That’s a lot of periods! 

Once you start your menarche, you bleed once a month until you reach menopause. The only time you will not have a period is when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, when you are on hormonal birth control, or if you have an illness that stops your cycle.

No matter your feelings towards your period, it will be around for a while. But what if you experience painful menstrual cramps that make you want to cuddle up in your bed all day? Or what if you go to grab another pad or tampon and realize that you went through the whole package because you are bleeding so much?

Medical professionals might tell you these symptoms are normal…but are they?

Here’s what a normal period looks like according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The age periods begin: typically young individuals will start their menarche around the ages of 12 to 14.

The length of your cycle: ranges between 26 to 35 days.

The duration of flow: should be about 2 to 5 days. 

A normal volume of blood flow: ranges between 50-80ml.

The color of period blood: your menstrual blood should be a fresh red, without any blood clots, and without any odor.

Each menstruator is different and your period might not look the same as someone else’s. 

Your period might look like this:

Length: 27 days

Duration: 3 days

Volume: 60ml

Color: fresh red

While your friend’s period might look like this:

Length: 30 days

Duration: 5 days

Volume: 70ml

Color: fresh red

Both are normal because they both fall into the ranges for a normal period! A perfect period is really just the flow that is right for your body.

What’s NOT normal

Your cycle may change throughout your life but it should, for the most part, be consistent in length, duration, volume, color, and odor.

Look out for these irregularities:

  • Heavy blood flow
  • Painful periods (either mild or excruciating) 
  • Heavy clotting
  • Amenorrhea
  • Premenstrual symptoms (PMS)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) symptoms

These symptoms are NOT normal and should be addressed by a doctor.

These symptoms can tell you that you could have a more serious underlying gynaecological condition or disease such as:

  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Fibroids
  • Adenomyosis 

It is also important to take note of your mental health. If you have severe depression or mood swings during the luteal phase (the second half) of your menstrual cycle, and it goes away once your period begins, you could have a more severe form of PMS called PMDD. 

Why is your period so important?

It seems that many doctors will simply prescribe hormonal birth control pills at the first sign of menstrual cycle irregularities. 

When you take the pill, it prevents your body from ovulating and your cycle ends. It’s really just a bandaid. Covering up your symptoms can make them worse or lead to other issues.

Your period is your 5th vital sign! Each month it gives you important information about your health. Having a normal period without any irregularities means that your body is healthy and functioning as it’s supposed to. 

What to do if your period isn’t normal?

You should always see a doctor if you experience any unpleasant symptoms. Find one that listens to you and doesn’t just dismiss the symptoms as “normal”. Remember that you hire doctors to help you and you can stop seeing one and find another doctor if you feel like you aren’t being heard or taken seriously.

While you can take hormonal birth control to ease your symptoms, the Pill acts as a bandaid and isn’t an effective solution to address the underlying cause of them. 

Everyone here at ANP wants to see each woman living a vibrant life with a healthy menstrual cycle and normal period. So we created a range of tinctures that treats the Ben & Bao (AKA the root cause and symptoms) as an alternative to the Pill.

We are here to help and support you so you can get back into a healthy flow!

Let’s break the taboo! 

You want to discuss all things relating to your period and gynaecological health and we put together a place where you can do that!

Join our Womb Room and connect with a global sisterhood!