Your menstrual cycle is more than just a period

When you hear “menstrual cycle”, what thought pops into your head? Perhaps it’s excessive amounts of pads and tampons, cramps that keep you in bed all day, and endless cravings for chocolate.

But your menstrual cycle is more than just your monthly period…it is a window into your general health and well-being!

To understand this, you must look at your menstrual cycle from a different angle.

Modern Western medicine vs. traditional Eastern medicine

Modern medicine in the west and traditional Chinese medicine in the east view the menstrual cycle in two completely different ways.

From a very young age, women in China are taught about their menstrual cycles and how to approach them. These women keep a lookout for any irregularities. If they notice anything off, they go see their Chinese Medicine Doctor to find the root cause of their symptoms. 

To these Chinese women, menstrual cycles are more than just a period, and they treat it as more than just a reproductive event. To them, it’s an important biomarker!

In contrast, modern healthcare looks at the menstrual cycle as a problem, and hormonal contraceptives are offered at the first sign of a gynaecological condition. Irregularities are hardly ever addressed, symptoms are dismissed, and the root cause is never healed.

When you suppress your cycle with the Pill, you pull down the blinds and close the curtains on a window into your health. You are no longer able to see what your body is revealing to you or learn how to get back into balance.

The menstrual cycle is a vital sign

Vital signs are measurements that help doctors assess your body’s general health. They can help uncover underlying conditions or diseases or reflect recovery. 

Just like the other four vital signs in your body – body temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and heart rate – your monthly period reflects the health of your whole body. Your period is your 5th vital sign!

Don’t think of it as simply a reproductive event. It is like a monthly report card that tells you if you are healthy, or if certain unhealthy conditions are present. 

Want to understand your 5th vital sign? Get to know these four distinct bio-markers! 

  • Regularity of menstrual cycle (length of cycle 26-35 days)
  • Duration of Menstrual flow (2 -5 days)
  • Volume of Menstrual flow (light-heavy)
  • Colour, texture, odour of menstrual flow.

In healthy menstrual cycles, these biomarkers will be consistent without any irregularities such as:

  • Irregular cycles
  • Period pain
  • Blood clots
  • Flooding (heavy bleeding)
  • Pain during sex
  • Amenorrhea
  • Breast tenderness
  • Clotting
  • Premenstrual syndrome

Irregularities are clues that point to hormonal imbalance and gynaecological conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis (to name a few).

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to get to the root cause of the problem and bring back a healthy menstrual cycle.

Stop suppressing your period

In modern Western medicine, you may have been told more than once that your symptoms are a “normal” part of your menstrual cycle and a “normal” part of being a woman.

This is NOT true!

These symptoms most certainly are not normal and point to something deeper going on inside your body. Traditional Chinese medicine tells us that a normal period should come and go with ease. No unpleasant symptoms and no pain!

Many physiological changes take place throughout your whole cycle. When your endocrine system (the complex hormonal system in your body) is balanced, hormonal fluctuations should be an easy transition. You should flow from one phase to the next with ease and freedom – both emotionally and physically.

So don’t think of your menstrual cycle as a period you have to suffer through each and every month. Think of it as the gateway to a healthy relationship with your body and with your life!