Our menstrual cycles are more than a monthly bleed. They are a way for our bodies to communicate with us. They tell us what is going well and where we may need to slow down and refocus in our lives.
One way we get information is from our actual period. Based on when we get it, how heavy it is, or the amount of pain/discomfort, our bodies are giving us signs that something is or isn't off. But understanding what our period is trying to tell us can be challenging when we’ve only ever looked at our period as a monthly bleeding cycle.
Listening to what our period is trying to tell us starts with noticing symptoms or changes that happen from month to month. Here are a few things that may be happening, and how you can go about taking care of them for the month to come.
But wait, I’m late!
We understand our period as part of our natural monthly cycle, so it’s easy to understand why one of the main questions I often get asked is ‘why is my period late’. There can be a lot of confusion and concern when it comes to missing a period, and figuring out why it happened is the first step to creating a more regular cycle moving forward.
A late period, though, can tell us a lot of things about our bodies. Often, late periods are associated with excess stress, illness, or lack of sleep. Travel, undereating, and overexercising can also all put off ovulation, which delays your period.
Extra pain, but why?
Typically a sign of inflammation, extra pain can be a challenging and concerning symptom when it shows up related to your period. Nourishing your body with whole foods, turmeric, bone broth, carrots, eggs, coconut oil, and other healing foods is helpful.
I’m not ready for you, so why are you here?
I may be asked often about late periods, but we can also suffer from early periods, too. Shorter cycles in the month can be due to stress, too, or may be related to lower progesterone levels or a missed ovulation cycle.
I’m spotting. Is that okay?
Spotting can be signs of low progesterone, estrogen, or hormone levels in general. This is something to discuss with your healthcare provider and care team, but isn’t something that is an immediate cause for concern.
My period is heavier than I’m used to.
Heavy periods can be signs of low progesterone since estrogen things the uterine lining. It can also be a sign of thyroid dysfunction, so be sure to discuss this with your doctor or care team if you have this symptom for more than three cycles in a row.
There are other ways that our periods can tell us about our hormone health. Cycle length, PMS symptoms, and our energy level, along with changes to our sleep cycle and period blood color all give us an idea of our hormonal balance.
One important note I want to make is that sometimes things happen--maybe you travel or have a big project to finish that month so you get less sleep and your period gets pushed off. Try not to freak out - the last 100 days impacts your current cycle so it may not be something you did or did not do this past month. One cycle isn't a huge concern, but when we start seeing it repeat itself over a number of cycles, it may be time to intervene with testing or professional help.
To learn more about how to have a healthy period, check out the Nutrition Strategies for Better Periods course!