At some point in your life, you’ve probably thought about the inconvenience of having your period. Each month, we have to deal with a week of cramps, headaches, moodiness, and just an overall feeling of blah. On the other hand, your period also serves as an important indication of what’s going on in your overall health. Here are some signals your period can reveal about your well-being!
Colour of Blood
Paying attention to the colour of your period blood and how it changes is important. It can tell you where you’re at in your period cycle, as well as other aspects of your health. Here is a breakdown of the various colours you may experience and what they could mean:
- Bright Red: You’re at the beginning of your cycle. The blood at the start of your period is likely to be newer, hence why it may be firetruck red.
- Brownish: You’re towards the end of your cycle. Blood with a brownish hue tends to occur a few days after you’ve started your period. It’s usually older blood in the uterus that’s already had a chance to oxidize before coming out.
- Pink: You may be pregnant. Some women have noticed pink spotting around the time of suspected implantation or roughly 10 days after conception. Taking a pregnancy test will assert whether or not this is the case.
- Orange: You may have an infection. A change in period blood can indicate a bacterial infection, or in some cases, an STI. If you notice this colour, a change in smell, or discomfort, be sure to contact your doctor!
Your period may be irregular and, in most cases, this is perfectly normal! There are many reasons why you may have an irregular cycle. For some, spontaneous periods may be a sign of stress. When you’re stressed, your body releases the hormone, cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels may block certain signals, causing your period to be delayed or not come at all.
Irregular cycles are also common if you’ve experienced rapid weight loss or if you’re an athlete because your body isn’t producing enough hormones. Oftentimes, you can regulate irregular periods by taking a hormonal birth control method. Be sure to reach out to a healthcare professional for an assessment before choosing the best method for your needs.
Although the idea of blood clots can be scary, they are completely normal during your cycle. Clots typically appear when your flow is at its heaviest because your body can’t keep up with breaking down the blood before it leaves your body. During this time, your uterine lining sheds much faster than your body can accommodate for.
Blood clots can come in various shapes and sizes and are typically dark red in colour. Smaller clots, like the size of a raisin, are typically no cause for concern. However, if they reach the size of a quarter or larger, it’s a good idea to bring this up with your gynaecologist. From there, they can assess if it’s harmless or if there’s a more serious problem at hand.
Having period cramps can be extremely annoying, but, like clots, they’re usually normal. They occur because your uterus is a large muscle that continuously contracts during your period to shed its lining. For some, period cramps may always feel uncomfortable. However, if you suddenly begin to experience worsened cramp pain, this may mean something else is happening.
In some cases, this could indicate endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Endometriosis occurs when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. It most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. PCOS, on the other hand, occurs when your ovaries develop numerous follicles and fail to release an egg. Worsened cramps don’t necessarily mean you have either of these conditions. However, it’s crucial to go to your doctor in case you do require treatment.
Spotting at any time other than your menstrual cycle can be concerning. However, it’s important to note that spotting can occur for various different reasons, and they’re not all bad. If you experience light spotting occasionally, it’s likely due to a hormonal imbalance that your body is trying to adjust to. Hormonal imbalances may be caused by stress, change in medications, or even a change in diet. In the meantime, you can wear our light to moderate absorbency underpants to keep you good throughout the day.
If you spot heavily and continuously, you should let your gynaecologist know promptly. In some instances, this may be because you’re on a birth control method that doesn’t cooperate with your body. In other cases, it could indicate fibroids or an infection.
This is why it’s important to pay attention to your body and your cycle! A greater understanding of your period can provide you with more information about your wellbeing and signal any issues you may need to check up on at your next gynaecology appointment.