You may not give your period much thought. After all, it happens every dang month. You’re used to the cramps and tender boobs, but would you notice if something seemed abnormal? Perhaps you already have?
If you went to the doctor for a standard check-up, he/she would likely focus on a few key metrics, such as your blood pressure, heart rate, and body weight. However, your period can also provide you and your doctor with clues. The type of clues that can tell you about what may be going on inside.
Whether you are experiencing abnormally large blood clots or are spotting between cycles, these little signs may be your body’s way of saying, “hey — listen to me!”
The color and consistency of your period blood
This is an ideal place to start, as the color and consistency of your period blood can provide you with insight. Plus, it’s pretty tough to ignore blood that is a combination of red and gray.
Although you may feel “normal,” if you notice any of the following changes, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion. It may be nothing, but unfortunately, it may also be something…
Depending on where you are in your cycle, your period blood can certainly differ. We all know that the blood that graces our presence on day one isn’t the same as the blood from day five. However, if you begin to notice that your blood is pinkish instead of red, accompanied by a lighter than normal flow, this may mean that your estrogen levels are low.
If this is the case, have you been exercising more than normal? Studies have shown that when you begin to exercise excessively, you can mess with your hormone levels and in turn, your period. Poor nutrition can also play a role here, as well as perimenopause, so be sure to speak with your doctor.
Dark brown blood
Blood that becomes oxidized turns brown — sometimes appearing almost black. If you have been experiencing some brown blood, you likely have nothing to worry about. This is likely older blood and small pieces of uterine lining. Since everyone sheds their lining at varying rates, this is actually quite normal (especially at the beginning or end of your period).
If your blood appears to be somewhat watery, this is a telltale sign that you are deficient in key nutrients, mainly iron. If at first, you notice that your period is watery and lighter than normal, followed by cycles that are getting lighter and lighter, you may be anemic.
Believe it or not, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 1.62 billion people around the globe are anemic, which translates to nearly one-quarter of the global population. In contrast, extra heavy periods may also indicate that you need to have your iron levels checked.
Grayish red blood
This is a tough sign to miss, and will likely be accompanied by a less than pleasant smell. In this case, you may have an infection that should be addressed immediately. Sadly, grayish chunks may also indicate pregnancy complications — mainly a miscarriage.
Abnormal blood clots
It’s normal to have some clotting during your period. However, if you have clots that are the size of a quarter, you may be suffering from a significant hormonal imbalance. This is often caused by high levels of estrogen paired with low levels of progesterone. A fibroid may also be to blame, especially if you have pain.
What else is Aunt Flo telling me?
Overall, while focusing on Ayurveda medicine, a healthy cycle should occur once a month and be fairly regular in terms of when it begins and ends. Your period blood should be bright red and be void of any significant mucous or clots. It should also be pain-free and in reality, mood-swing free.
If you do experience severe bloating, changes in mood, pain, or other troublesome symptoms, this generally means that there is an imbalance — even if it’s just subtle.
Whether you become a female version of the Hulk or break out in acne, you may want to address your stress triggers. Meditation is believed to help with these types of symptoms, which will also benefit you in all other aspects of your day-to-day life.
For those who experience severe pain, the type that is almost disabling, you may be suffering from endometriosis. Considering between six to ten percent of women suffer from this condition, it is important that you do not dismiss this warning sign.
At the end of the day, you may not welcome your period with open arms each month, but that does not mean that you should ignore potential warning signs. If something seems abnormal, it likely is. No one knows your body better than you, so pay attention to what it’s trying to tell you.