Changes in the weather… aren’t just of the meteorological sort. The menstrual cycle is sensitive to change, both external and internal.

And any disruption in the normal cycle can be alarming for a woman, whether it’s a missed period, a prolonged period, heavy flow, or reduced flow. But before you panic or assume the worst about the changes in your menstrual flow, it is important to get to know a normal menstrual cycle. 

Normally, blood loss during menstruation... 

  • ranges from 5ml to 80ml... 
  • This may seem like a lot but it’s less than 7 tablespoons of blood.
  • It’s not normal to bleed through a pad, tampon or menstrual cup every couple of hours on a regular basis, and is a sign of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB).

Normally, cycle length...

  • lasts between 21 to 35 days…
  • During this cycle, the number of uninterrupted days of bleeding is the length of your period.
  • Normal period length ranges upto 8 days, with the first 2 days being the heaviest, and the last few days being the lightest.
  • Prolonged and heavy periods are often the culprit behind Iron Deficiency Anemia. 

Normally, period pain....

  • shouldn't keep you in bed all day...
  • While rest and relaxation should be a conscious part of your period, intense pain that makes you skip work or school on a regular basis is not normal. 
  • Extremely painful periods can signal underlying an health condition and should be investigated by a doctor.

Normal blood clots…

  • come in irregular shapes and colours...
  • Blood clots are usually the size of a raisin and occur during the heaviest days of your period.
  • Clots that are bigger than a grape - 2.5 cm or about 1 inch in diameter, and occur alongside an abnormally heavy flow could signal an underlying hormonal imbalance.

Normal period colors....

  • can vary from bright shades of red to almost black... 
  • A darker color at the beginning or end of your cycle just means that it is older blood that took longer to leave the uterus.  
  • A grayish discharge could signal an infection, and requires medical assistance.
  • Some women normally experience pinkish spotting during the ovulatory phase. However, a watery, light pink discharge occurring outside of the regular phases of your cycle could be a sign of Cervical Cancer and requires medical attention. 

Monitoring menstrual flow is essential to maintaining menstrual health. If you’ve noticed changes in your monthly flow, it’s a good idea to track what’s happening, and look for patterns that leave a clue. Changes in your environment, activity levels, diet and emotions all play a part.

A change from the regular pattern may indicate an underlying medical condition, or link to stressors in your life. So make sure to stay aware, and take care of your mind and body during your monthly cycle.

Nurture yourself, relax, and welcome pleasant visits from Aunt Flo!

REFERENCES 

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2) Bruinvels, G., Burden, R. J., McGregor, A. J., Ackerman, K. E., Dooley, M., Richards, T., & Pedlar, C. (2017). Sport, exercise, and the menstrual cycle: where is the research?. 

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