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Cramps, heavy flow, spotting... periods can be both predictable and unpredictable, with different women experiencing a variety of symptoms even from month to month. Have you ever wondered what your period is trying to tell you?

 

If you experience a heavy bleed…

Do you ever feel a deep sense of fatigue or even dizziness during your period? If you’re going through a pad every two hours, this is a sign you’re experiencing a heavy bleed and it’s depleting your body of it’s essential resources. Heavy bleeding generally suggests you have elevated estrogen levels and can also be a sign of endometriosis, which can lead to infertility problems. Drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet can help your body detoxify and lower estrogen levels.

 

If you experience a light bleed…

Although this is often considered a blessing, a light period can mean that your uterine lining isn’t as thick as it needs to be for the best chance of getting pregnant. The uterine lining provides the resources your embryo needs to implant, so if the lining is too thin, the embryo will struggle to grow. Eating plenty of protein and fat can help stabilise your hormone production and boost estrogen levels to encourage a more consistent flow and thicker lining.

If you bleed a brown-ish colour…

The colour of period blood can change throughout your cycle, and brown-ish colouring is normal toward the beginning and end of the cycle. It’s usually oxidised blood caused by low-levels of progesterone - help up these levels by taking B6 supplements or eating eggs with the yolk.

 

If you bleed for a prolonged period of time...

Anything longer than 7 days is considered prolonged bleeding. On top of being majorly inconvenient, a long period suggests ovulation is not occurring regularly or something is disrupting the uterine lining. Causes can include thyroid gland irregularities, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or elevated hormone levels.

 

If you suffer from bad cramps…

Period cramps can be painful to the point of being debilitating. Cramps are actually your uterine wall muscles in spasm as they try to loosen stale, stagnant blood for a fresh and healthy lining. Severe cramps, also called dysmenorrhea, suggest that this isn’t happening effectively, meaning your uterine lining isn’t at its best form, potentially leading to conception difficulties.

 

If your periods are irregular…

It’s normal for periods to be a few days late or early each month, if a little inconvenient. Stress and weight can have a huge impact on regularity. However if your period is happening more often than once a month, or you’ll go by months without having one at all, this is a sign something isn’t working right and that your menstrual cycle is too short or long. This can be caused by PCOS or thyroid gland irregularities; eat plenty of marine-sourced veggies and make sure your salt contains iodine to support your thyroid.

 

If your periods are non-existent...

If you don’t menstruate, then ovulation is not occurring, making conception very difficult. Being underweight by body mass index standards can be a common reason, as the body needs a certain amount of body fat for menstrual cycles to occur. If by the age of 16 you’ve not had a period, you might have an underdeveloped uterus.

 

What is a ‘normal’ menstrual cycle?

Most people assume your menstrual cycle is just a technical term for your period. It actually refers to changes that occur through the entire month, from when the ovary releases an egg and the uterus prepares for pregnancy.

 

A ‘normal’ menstrual cycle lasts from 21 to 35 days: this means regular ovulation is occurring and your hormones are balanced, enabling natural conception. A ‘perfect’ period lasts between 5 and 7 days, with a bright cranberry colouring, medium viscosity consistency and occurrence every 28-30 days.

 

Paying attention to changes and recurring issues might help you to learn more about the quality of your uterine lining, which in turn tells you about your fertility. That’s why it’s important that your physician finds out as much as they can about your period and menstrual cycle in order to offer the right treatment. If you’re worried about any of your period symptoms and what it means for your fertility, use our free assessment tool or get in touch with our specialists.

Take our Online Fertility Assessment

Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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