If you pay attention, your monthly period can give you key insights into your hormonal health
Periods differ from woman to woman, nevertheless there are some signs to watch out for.
The colour and consistency of period blood is affected by the changing hormones during every cycle. The colour may range between dark brown, blue-ish with clots, light and bright red, normal consistency, watery looking and pinkish.
- Bluish clots: If you have a heavy flow, including dark almost deep blue blood and clots, it may be caused by elevated estrogen levels. Elevated levels of oestrogen may indicate hormonal issues like ovarian cysts or fibroids.
- Dark brown: If you notice dark brown spotty stains at the start of a period, it is nothing to worry about. It indicates older bits of uterine lining and blood that are making their way out of your body. However, if this happens throughout your period, it can indicate low progesterone levels, a trigger for other issues like ovulation or irregular cycles.
- Pinkish and watery: A light flow and period blood with a pinkish tint may indicate a nutritional deficiency, like anaemia, or low oestrogen levels.
- Red: This is the ideal period blood colour. If your period blood is bright red, lasts for five to six days and can be expected every 28-30 days, it shows that you may have healthy, regular periods.
Now that we have discussed the appearance, let’s get to the flow.
While you feel like you have lost gallons of blood, an average period cycle only releases about a cup of blood.
- Heavy flow: Experiencing a heavy flow for a prolonged time should not be ignored as it may indicate fibroids, growths on the uterine wall, polyps or tumours in the cervix or uterus. Speak to your doctor.
- Light flow: A light flow could be a result of stress but it may also indicate a hormonal imbalance or poor nutrition. Sometimes a light period flow is a result of taking contraceptive or hormonal pills that reduce blood loss, or entering perimenopause. If the flow is abnormally light, it is an indicator of autoimmune disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Finally, another primary indicator of your well-being is the regularity of your periods.
Experts say that ideally, the menstrual flow should occur every 25 to 30 days and last for three to seven days.
Irregular periods can be expected during your teenage years and during the onset of menopause. However, if you experience irregular periods always, it could be due to pregnancy, usage of drugs, excessive drinking, hormonal pills, anorexia, obesity, or, in severe cases, uterine cancer.
Many period issues may be resolved through healthy diet and lifestyle changes. However, if you have any concerns, you should consult a doctor.
By Vineetha Reddy, a writer with an interest in nutrition, fitness, health and wellness, and edited for All4women.co.za
While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.