Many women believe that the symptoms they experience around their periods are normal.
These 12 symptoms should NOT be ignored as they quite possibly indicate an underlying hormonal imbalance.
And I bet you are suffering from AT LEAST one of these.
Make sure you download the 'Find Your Period Type' questionnaire here:
You can also find the Period Fix Mini-Course & Challenge here: www.vandghie.com/periodfix at an absolute $27 steal!
I can't wait to meet you inside...
12 period symptoms that should not be ignored
Well hello and welcome back to another episode of Beauty in Balance.
I sincerely hope life has been treating you well my friend?!
I am certainly in a season of peace and contentment. It doesn’t mean that life is necessarily always easy, but I’m just in a space of trusting God. It’s been an incredible journey of faith and I’m so very grateful for it.
So I have a quick question for you. Have you shared your favourite episode of the podcast yet? Maybe with a friend or family member?
I would be so very grateful if you could do that and help me to reach more ladies that might be desperate for help.
Ok, so let’s get into this week’s episode.
A very dear friend of mine in Canada sent me a few screenshots this past week of a discussion on a mom’s facebook group in her area.
For context, I wanted to read a little snippet of the initial post that was in this group:
“For the last couple of months, I’ve been spotting and bleeding in between periods. Periods went from 30 day cycles to 14-18 days. I spotted and bled throughout the month of February. Got a pap smear done 3 weeks ago. Still waiting for results and just got an ultrasound done today. So far no cervical polyps. I’ve never had PCOS. Now all I have in my head is some sort of cancer that can cause this. I’ve been wanting to throw up all day. I feel depressed. Can’t even smile at my kids or husband. I can’t eat or drink water. I tried calling the doctor's office right after to see if they could give me the results right away but it has to go through radiology. I’m already losing my mind. The ultrasound tech's face really scared me. I just want to cry. Anyone go through something similar with their period? I hate being like this. I hate being whiny and scared.”
Wow. This broke my heart.
This lady feels so alone. But I bet, if you are listening to this right now, you can relate to her story.
And it might bring you some relief to know that there were 29 comments on that post, mostly of women that could relate and had a very similar experience or just realised that they were not alone.
And the saddest thing here is that many of these ladies replied saying their GP offered them either a hysterectomy or some form of hormonal birth control.
So I felt that it was important to talk about the period symptoms that you need to look out for that are not normal and where to go from here.
I’ve created a new resource, which I’ll be sharing with you at the end of this episode. It can help you to identify your period type and some natural solutions you can start to implement today.
I’ll be listing the 12 symptoms that you need to be looking out for. And like I’ve said so many times before, it is important to track your cycle. This way you can get to know what is normal for you and when things are out of the ordinary. It’s also important to know what to do with the information you get when tracking your cycle, but we’ll get into that another time.
Ok, let’s get this show on the road.
If you have one or more of the 12 symptoms listed below, I do recommend that you speak to your doctor. And also download the free resource that I’ll be sharing with you at the end of this episode.
Number one: Heavy Bleeding
According to the centres for disease control and prevention, heavy bleeding can be defined as one of the following:
Having a period that lasts longer than 7 days,
Bleeding through a pad or tampon within 2 hours,
Needing to change a pad or tampon during the night, or
Passing blood clots larger than a large coin.
Heavy bleeding is most likely an indication of hormone imbalance, but I do suggest that you see your gp to rule out some other conditions.
Estrogen is our tissue forming hormone and is responsible for the formation of the uterine lining. So if estrogen levels are not balanced by progesterone, the lining can become really thick and therefore menstrual bleeds will be really heavy.
Number 2: Spotting in between periods
Although spotting can be an indication of other conditions such as uterine and cervical cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis, the most likely cause here is low progesterone. During puberty and menopause, progesterone is naturally low, so spotting can also occur during these phases.
Progesterone is responsible for keeping the uterine lining in place and prepare it for pregnancy should fertilisation of the egg occur. But if progesterone is low and out of balance with estrogen, the lining will not be held in place properly and spotting can occur.
Again, I do recommend you visit your healthcare provider to rule out any of the more serious causes of spotting. But just a word of caution. If hormonal contraceptives are recommended, make sure you do a good amount of research on the side effects and long term implication. My recommendation is ALWAYS to find natural ways to deal with imbalance, as you are 90% likely to resolve these issues if you know what to address.
Number 3: Skipped periods
As you will know by now, I firmly believe that your period is your 5th vital sign. It is a clear indication of what is happening in your body. And skipping periods is always an indication of something happening under the surface.
The most likely causes of missed periods are stress, excessive exercise, some forms of hormonal birth control and, of course, pregnancy and breastfeeding. PCOS can also be a cause of periods that are absent.
The medical term for absent periods is amenorrhea and is defined as
Missing more than 3 periods in a row, or
Not having a period by the age of 15.
Again, there are so many different natural ways of hormonal imbalance that can lead to amenorrhea.
The 4th symptom of your period that you should not ignore, which most women think is normal, is breast tenderness.
Mild tenderness can be expected during a period, but you should consult your doctor if it is severe, if it occurs at other times of the menstrual cycle or if it’s accompanied by any other symptoms such as lumps in the breast or changes in the nipple or the skin of the breast.
Breast tenderness is usually caused by elevated levels of estrogen. However, when the nipples and skin feel tender, this is caused by elevated levels of progesterone, such as during pregnancy.
So again, this symptom can give you very useful information about your hormone balance or imbalance.
Number 5: Diarrhoea during periods
Menstruation is naturally an inflammatory process. During inflammation, chemicals called prostaglandins are produced, which is responsible for contracting of the muscles and blood vessels. This is also what causes pain. During the first day or 2, production of prostaglandins would be high and can cause diarrhoea, nausea and lightheadedness.
Research shows that dietary changes can help lower the release of these prostaglandins. SO decreasing the foods that further contribute to inflammation and increasing the foods that are anti-inflammatory. This is also the reason why it is important to adjust your diet according to the different phases of your menstrual cycle and I teach women exactly how to do this inside the Hormone Health Academy.
So moving on to number 6: clotting
Clotting, in most cases, is a natural part of menstruation. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a problem, but sometimes it can be a sign of a health condition.
Clotting during periods is the same as clotting that happens elsewhere in the body as an injury to tissue, such as a cut.
MEnstrual clots generally occur when the flow is heavy, so most commonly during the first 2 days of menstruation, which is typically the heaviest part of the period.
Clots can be bright in colour or a darker, deeper red as you move towards the end of a period.
Although it can be normal to have clots in the blood during your period, it can sometimes signal a medical issue and i recommend you seek medical advice if clots are larger than a large coin, if they pass frequently, occur with an abnormally heavy flow that requires a person to change their pad or tampon every 1-2 hours or if they occur with significant pain and cramping.
Like I said, clotting can be an indication of an underlying health condition, which develops usually with prolonged hormone imbalance. These include polyps or fibroids, endometriosis or adenomyosis.
So after consulting with a doctor and confirming that there are no concerning, underlying health conditions, it’s time to look at some natural ways that you can support your hormones and bring them into balance.
Number 7: Unusual consistency
The consistency of a period may change from the beginning to the end of the period, with a heavier flow to start with, which then gets lighter towards the end of the period.
If you experience abnormal menstrual blood consistency, which is different from your usual consistency, you should consult your doctor. What you need to look out for here is pink watery menstrual blood or unusually thick blood. These could indicate an underlying condition, so make sure you get it checked out.
I’m sure you can start to understand now why it is important to track your menstrual cycle and keep note of all they physical and mental symptoms that might be normal for you. That way, you may immediately notice changes and will be able to report really accurately to your doctor or use the information to adjust your diet, lifestyle and supplementation.
Number 8: This one may surprise you and is very common amongst women of all ages. Cramping
Mild cramping in the abdomen and lower back is to be expected and can be normal. A good way of measuring is mild cramping is only uncomfortable and does not require pain medication.
As soon as cramping becomes painful and requires pain medication, it could indicate an underlying condition and is very likely to indicate hormone imbalance.
Cramping is also caused by the prostaglandins that we discussed earlier and you will remember that foods that cause inflammation will further contribute to the release of these chemicals and more cramping.
Make sure you have plenty of anti-inflammatory foods on a daily basis, but especially in the days leading up to your period.
An easy way to do this is to increase the intake of plant based foods significantly and decrease the intake of animal products, particularly dairy.
Number 9: A period that does not stop
The duration of your bleed should be anywhere between 4 and 7 days and should be consistent from month to month. Again, another reason to keep track of your cycle.
If the duration of your period changes from month to month or if the cycle becomes unusually long or short, this can be an indication of an underlying health issue. And when I say the duration of your cycle, I’m not talking about your period, I’m talking about the complete cycle. So if your cycle is normally 28 days long, it should always be roughly that long. Changes in the length of your menstrual phase, which is your period and in your cycle is likely an indication of hormonal imbalance.
Number 10: Significant mood changes
One of the most common complaints I hear from mums particularly, is increased irritability and crankiness, particularly with their kids and husband.
Mostly, this can be pinned down to the time between ovulation and your period starting, this is called the luteal phase. This is generally because there is a sudden drop in both progesterone and estrogen levels as your body prepares for shedding the lining of the uterus.
Mild changes in mood is to be expected, but when you start to feel like you have no control over your irritability, anxiety, depression and other emotions and feelings, you need to start paying attention to what is really going on with the levels of these hormones.
Understanding your menstrual cycle, and knowing when to expect these changes in mood can also be very helpful. But most importantly, you need to understand how you can support your hormones with food, exercise, stress management and supplementation.
Number 11: Irregular periods
This symptom is so common and can cause a lot of stress and frustration. You may have taken many rushed trips to the pharmacy to get a pregnancy test and may even keep an emergency stash in your bathroom.
Irregular periods can be an indication of an underlying health condition and is most certainly an indication of some hormone imbalance going on.
It is typically a cycle that is shorter than 24 days or longer than 34 days or a cycle that is not consistent from month to month.
In episode 11, I shared 10 reasons why you may be experiencing irregular periods and I recommend you listen to that episode. I will link to it in the show notes.
And then the very last symptom, number 12: Migraines
Roughly 4 out of 10 females experience headaches associated with their menstrual cycle. This is because of the hormonal changes that happen during the cycle and most likely due to an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen or very low levels of one or both of these hormones. I’ve seen diet and lifestyle changes make a massive difference for women who struggle from hormonal migraines.
Now, I bet there would be at least one symptom that I’ve mentioned here before that you thought were normal right?
So I’ve been working really hard on a new free resource, which I’m really excited to share.
It’s called “Find Your Period Type Questionnaire”, which will help you to identify what your period type is.
And once you’ve identified your period type, there is a section explaining what this may say about your hormones and I also share some really easy to implement natural strategies to start addressing your possible hormone imbalance.
And I would love for you to head over to my website and download this today. And it would be so amazing if you could share this link with a friend or family member that you know might benefit from it too!
You can also find my brand new mini-course and challenge, The Period Fix here.
As always, thank you for spending this time with me.
I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to educate you and help you grow.
Until next time my friends…