Let’s talk about Periods
What is a period?
It’s when your body sheds the lining of your womb called the endometrium in a nutshell.
Your endometrium being the inner layer and lining of your Uterus/womb.
Having a period is the physical side of menstruation
We also need to recognise there are mental and emotional sides to periods
In 2015, the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) said periods amongst teenagers should be seen as a 5th vital sign. Many others experts say this should extend into later life also.
So how long should a monthly cycle last?
We are all different and so there is a range that defines a regular monthly cycle. A regular cycle can last between 21 – 35 days according to medical practitioners.
Maisie Hill, a women’s health practitioner disagrees and thinks a healthy regular cycle should range between 26 -32 days.
The average period is supposedly 28 days but only applies to 12.4% of our population.
Which means for 87.6% this is not the case!
Just to clarify how we count our cycles when tracking them, Day 1 is the day of our first full bleed until Day 1 of our next full bleed.
So if you experience light spotting or a darker discharge before you start to fully bleed this is the tail end of your previous cycle.
Periods are a sign your body is healthy.
There are certain times in your cycle that certain hormones will be doing their thing which can explain some of our mood swings, behaviors and thoughts/feelings which when understood will allow us to be much KINDER to ourselves.
There is power in understanding our periods.
For an amazing book all about this I 100% recommend Maisie Hill “Period Power”, 2018. It’s a fantastic book and I learnt a lot from reading it.
Do you know how long “your” cycle is? Homework – start tracking your cycle and write it down!
There are four seasons to each year just as there are four phases to each of our monthly cycles.
They each have distinct qualities but unlike the seasons that are set in length, the four phases to our cycle that represents the seasons will vary greatly in length.
❄️ Our period (menstruation) represents our Winter.
🍃 After Winter before we ovulate we are in our Spring.
☀️ Pre-ovulation we are in Summer.
🍁 The time after ovulation before our period begins is Autumn.
Understanding which phase of our cycle we are in is a sign of GOOD HEALTH as we can ACCEPT, UNDERSTAND ourselves, our hormones and DROP any resentment.
Hormone Cycle Seasons
Lets explore the notion of our menstrual cycles following the traits of the four seasons.
❄️WINTER is where we have LOW HORMONE LEVELS.
We commonly see traits such as feeling flat, fatigued, no get up and go, lack lustre. We have a reduced interest in the world.
❄️ Winter is our time to REST, take time for ourselves, RECALIBRATE and build up our energy for the rest of our cycle.
Having a period is a SIGN OF GOOD HEALTH. (This is not to be confused with a withdrawal bleed like you get when taking the pill as your body has not ovulated).
Acknowledging the above allows us to Accept these feelings, Understand and Acknowledge them for what they are and Allows us to BE KIND to ourselves and DROP and RESENTMENT.
😊 Around Day 3 of our cycle oestrogen starts to rise and so we may feel more energised and positive about ourselves.
To find out all about our Spring, Summer and Autumn parts of our cycle read more below.
Our hormone “cycle” in colour and illustration.
I LOVE a good visual so have drawn this out for you all.
It shows quite wonderfully how the different “seasons” of our cycle flow.
Please note many of us will have longer and shorter seasons within our cycle so for example your Winter maybe long or short depending how many days you are menstruating for.
For educational purposes this shows you an average cycle “proposed norm” but remember this is only a small 12.4% of us who have a 28 day cycle.
If you are no longer having periods you can still follow the seasons of your cycle using the dark moon as the start of your Winter and the New moon as the start of your Summer. The energies of the lunar cycle are very similar to our menstrual cycle lengths for the average person.
To learn about the whole cycle read more below.
Period cramps and pain 101
For many of us period cramps and/or period pain can be excruciating from cycle to cycle and yet, this isn’t normal and shouldn’t be accepted as so. They can be hugely debilitating affecting not just your physical ability to function but also your social, emotional, mental and spiritual abilities also.
Let’s bust some myths and also highlights some things that can make a huge difference to our menstrual cycles and our general well being.
So when and why do period pains and cramps occur?
WHEN? These often occur before or during our period (menstruation). Autumn/Winter phases.
WHY? Our bodies produce prostaglandins that help our blood vessels to constrict so we don’t bleed too heavy with our periods, in theory.
But, they can also cause Pain.
If your periods are extremely heavy in flow, painful to the point where you are unable to attend school or work or extremely irregular then please go and speak to your GP or Obs/Gyn doctor.
You could be suffering with endometriosis which is an inflammatory disease where tissue similar to the endometrial lining of the uterus is found in areas of your body outside of your womb.
For more information please visit endometriosis charity www.endometriosis-uk.org
What’s that wet stuff in your knickers?
Why is it important we know about it?
One of the things that struck me the most when reading Masie Hill’s book Period Power was the chapter called – “what that wet stuff in your knickers is all about”.
It was revolutionary and something I was completely unaware of before.
Things to share and tell our teenagers with periods!
“Have you ever paid any attention to your cervical fluid?
No clue what I’m talking about? It’s what that wet patch in your underwear is all about!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Our hormone "cycle" in colour and illustration. I LOVE a good visual so have drawn this out for you all. It shows quite wonderfully how the different "seasons" of our cycle flow. Please note many of us will have longer and shorter seasons within our cycle so for...
Maisie Hill 2018 Period Power Bloomsbury Publishing