5 Common Period Problems, What They May Mean and Herbal Therapies to Treat Them.
As women, our period and monthly cycle can supply us with valuble information about our body. Our period is our body's monthly report card, so much so that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist decided to refer to a woman's period as a fifth vital sign.
Now that's pretty damn HUGE.
This means that our period is up there with our temperature, pulse, respiratory rate and blood pressure. All the things that indicate we are ALIVE, and, the same things that are used to measure our health.
Keep reading to learn five common period problems that women experience, and what those symptoms may be communicating about what’s going on with your body.
1. A painful period
Pain is the most common problem that women experience with their periods. More than half of women who have periods experience some level of pain around the time of their period. Women who experience pain and intense mentrual cramps, dysmenorrhea, usually have them before their period. This last for three days on average.
You may get a feeling of heaviness in your abdomen, tugging in the womb and pelvic area, pain localized to your uterus, or it can radiate to your lower back as well. Some women experience nausea, vomiting, headaches, and diarrhea with it too.
The cause of painful period is often due to "prostaglandins", which are hormone-like chemicals responsible for period pain. They help to stimulate contraction of your uterus, and when there is too much, there is pain. Painful periods can be a sign of inflammation, infection, endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cyst, scar tissue and even energetic dis-ease.
Standard Treatment: Period pain is treated with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as naproxen, ibuprofel, or aspirin AND hormonal birth control. In extreme cases the removal of your uterus, a hysterectomy. Caution here, because habitual use of these drugs impair your gut health and contribute to more hormonal imbalance and nutrient defiencies. They also don't treat the root of your period pain.
2. A heavy or long period
Menorrhagia is the medical term for periods with abnormally heavy or prolonged bleeding. But let's be very clear about something, needing to change a pad or tampon every hour, seeing giants clots in your blood, or feeling like your period goes on indefinitely is not a normal part of having a period.
Common causes of heavy or long periods (period lasting more than 7 days) can be a sign of iron deficiency, estrogen dominance, low progesterone, thyroid issues, fibroids, polyps, endometriosis or certain cancers.
Certain contraceptives like the copper IUD are associated with heavy or long periods too, which is why certain forms of birth control should not be advised for women already experiencing a heavy or long period.
Standard Treatment: Hormonal birth control, and for women with an iron deficiency synthetic iron injections or pills.
3. An irregular or delayed period
For women, our period is considered irregular if the menstrual cycle is shorter or longer than average. This means the time from the first day of our last period, up to the start of our next is less than 21 days or more than 35 days. And what those exact numbers are will vary from woman to woman.
There can be several reasons why your period is delayed or irregular. If you’ve ruled out pregnancy, a late period is commonly caused by stress in the form of physical, mental or emotional trauma that affects your ovulation and your period - disrupting your entire menstrual cycle.
Causes of an irregular or delayed period include eating disorders, thyroid problems, high amounts of prolactin in the blood, PCOS, early onset menopause/perimenopause, postpartum, blood sugar imbalances, diabetes, pelvic inflammatory disease, obesity and celiac disease.
Standard Treatment: Hormonal birth control
4. A missing period
Did your period all of a sudden go missing? Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period, but there are some other medical and lifestyle factors that can affect your menstrual cycle. A missing period, amenorhea, is classified as primary or secondary.
Primary amenorrhea is when a young girl or woman has never had a period and is fifteen years or older. The incidence of this type of amenorrhea is less than 1% in our population, it is extremely rare. Secondary amenorrhea, most common type, is when your period has gone missing for more than three months if you had regular menstrual cycles, or six months if you've had irregular menstrual cycles.
If your period has gone missing for more than three months its time to do some much needed digging into your health status and address your issues. Stress, extreme weight loss, hormonal irregularities, PCOS, thyroid dysfunction and menopause are among the most common causes of a missing period, if you're not pregnant.
Standard Treatment: Hormonal birth control
5. A light period
While a easy, breezy period may sound amazing, this is actually a sign that your hormones are imbalanced. If your period last less than three days, or you require little more than a panty-liner during your period, then chances are your body may not be producing enough estrogen.
If your estrogen is low, you may be experiecing vaginal dryness, sleep disturbances, infertility, and even drooping breast. Low estrogen is considered a normal change in menapausal women, but if you're nowhere near menapause, then it's time for some root cause investigation.
Women practing a vegetation or vegan diet are at an increased risk of developing low estrogen levels. Common causes of a light period and low estrogen include eating a low-fat, over-exercising, low body weight, primary ovarian insufficiency, and post-birth control imbalances.
Your period is your body's monthly report card - so make sure to tune into the messages that it provides. For women, a normal healthy period usually last between three to five days with minor increases in emotion or very light cramping. For the most part, your period should sneak up on you symptom-wise, it should not derail your life or cause you serious pain.
Period problems can be a sign of serious health issues, which most can be reversed using a natural functional plan. Women should have regular periods unless we are pregnant, breastfeeding or postmenopausal.
Another thing before I go, if you're taking birth control for non-contraceptive reasons like a painful, heavy, long or missing period, do yourself a solid and purchase Period Support herbal supplement. Hormonal birth control is a major contributor to women's reproductive issues and hormonal chaos.
If you wish to really heal your period, stop taking the birth control and work on addressing your root cause.