Ever since I started the period club in the 6th grade, I have been fascinated with everything that goes on with my body every month. I want to know every nook and cranny of how my hormones work, what my period means, and what to eat, so that I can look and feel my best!
Menstruation is an overlooked, underutilized vital sign and just like blood pressure can tell us much about the state of our health. When your period goes missing, you know that something is amiss, but there are also many other, less obvious indicators we can observe that will give us useful information about our overall health. I’m so passionate about periods, I made TV – menstrual history by speaking about the importance of our periods on the Dr Oz show last year.
The appearance of your menstrual blood and the duration of your period can reveal a hormonal imbalance that will lead to other health issues. It’s possible to heal all hormonal imbalances and their resulting symptoms by addressing diet and lifestyle.
Here we help you decode this important vital sign and start working towards a healthier menstrual cycle.
For a visual on each of the below possibilities check out the link to the Dr Oz show and my demonstrations.
The ideal cycle is 5-7 days, starts and ends with a bright happy cranberry color and is the consistency of jello mix that hasn’t set yet (medium viscosity, not too thin, not too thick) and occurs every 28-30 days.
There are many dietary and lifestyle reasons why this cycle gets thrown off for us women. Sometimes is a one or two month situation, and sometimes cycle issues can last years.
I want you to observe your cycle every month as a barometer of how well your diet and lifestyle are supporting your hormones. If your cycle isn’t as I described above then you’ve got to immediately make diet changes to get your cycle back to a healthy flow.
Here’s a guide for you to use for interpreting the color of your cycle every month and my favorite FLO fixes for each to bring you quickly back to good.
Interpreting Your Period
If you have:
Brown, spotty stains to start
Has your period started? What is that brown stuff exactly? Should you count this day as day one?
That brown stuff is old oxidized blood that didn’t make it out of your uterus last cycle. This is caused by low levels of progesterone. Low progesterone is the trigger for many period-related problems. You may also struggle to ovulate regularly in addition to having the odd coloration and you may also develop irregular cycles, or PCOS.
The FLO fix:
The herb vitex is a great treatment for this issue as it helps the pituitary gland make more Luteinizing hormone indirectly supporting your progesterone production.
Eating eggs with the yolk contains progesterone precursors.
Taking extra B6 will get those levels up and help your period start the cranberry red color you’re meant to see on day one.
Heavy Bleeding with Clots
Are you changing your pad or tampon once an hour? Do you have special sheets for that time of the month? Do you have large clots that are dark purple in color?
Specifically, you have elevated estrogen levels. Estrogen builds the lining of your uterus. If you’re eating a diet that prevents your liver from breaking down this hormone, it can build up and wreak havoc on your cycle. In addition to the heavy bleeding and clots, you may also struggle with endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, or polyps.
The FLO fix:
Milk thistle is an herb that helps detoxify the liver and helps even out estrogen.
Learning uterine massage technique via an experienced practitioner will help uterine congestion and lessen clotting.
Increasing the amount of water you drink and eating more leafy greens like collards and kale will assist the estrogen detox process.
Take liquid chlorophyll to boost iron in your blood and deal with the anemia that typically develops from chronic heavy bleeding.
Very short periods, very light bleeding, skipped periods
Is it coming? Spotting for several days?
A short period (less than 3 days in length) and only light bleeding can indicate low estrogen levels. Your hormones are made from the food you eat, so your low estrogen is likely due to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies from improper and extreme dieting as well as from adrenal burnout.
The FLO fix:
Eat protein – hormones are made from amino acids – you can’t get your estrogen up if you can’t make enough of it from your food!
Eat fat – especially omega 3s – which helps stabilize hormone production in the body.
Super short cycles (if you’re bleeding twice or more within a 28-36 day cycle)
Didn’t you just have your period like last week? Does it seem like you are constantly starting your period?
This can indicate a sluggish thyroid even though you might be within normal range on your blood work.
The FLO fix:
Try supplementing with Gaia Herbals Thyroid Support as a start.
Make sure your salt contains iodine to support your thyroid.
Eat sea veggies – thyroid happy food!
What about cramps?
Get to the root of your period imbalance and cramps go away. The catch is that the more you take pain relievers for cramps, the more they congest your liver, interfere with estrogen metabolism – well, you see it’s a vicious cycle. Start looking before you flush every month, make the necessary food changes, and try Oona Cramp Relief for a natural alternative to ibuprofen. More on this topic on Friday!
What about PMS?
Check out my post on foods to fight PMS here for more ideas and recipes.
As always, go have a chat with your OBGYN! They can provide the physical examination and blood work needed to diagnose you with a specific issue. Check out my post on interpreting those test results for a step-by-step guide to this process here.
If something does come up, tell your OBGYN you want to take 3 to 6 months to try out an alternative route using food instead of medication like we do at FLO Living and use the guide above to make diet changes first.
Just be prepared to hear that the usual treatment offered will be either painkillers or hormonal birth control methods such as the birth control pill or hormone-based IUD. Hormonal birth control can relieve symptoms short term, but it masks the root causes of your period problems and can make them much worse long term, not to mention the effects on your fertility. The truth is that most period problems and hormonal imbalance symptoms can be healed long term with diet and lifestyle changes. Read more about my thoughts on this here.
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, which period symptoms affect you most?
Second, what #FLOfix did you try?
Third, you know every one you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social by clicking the buttons below
Need more Hormone Help?
If you’re needing some health upgrading, it’s time you started you looking into what’s going on with your hormones.
I’ve designed a 4 day hormone detox and evaluation to help you understand exactly what’s out of whack and how you can start getting back to balance so that your hormones no longer have to suffer.
Click here to get your FREE detox and evaluation!