Updated: Mar 31, 2021
Contrary to popular belief your menstrual cycle is not there to piss you off, stop you from doing things you want to do or embarrass you. It serves so many purposes, like giving you a monthly hormonal report card. Try paying attention to what she's telling you and work with her, not against. You may just make a friend... What does a Healthy Menstrual Cycle look like? Let's break it down into 5 easy pieces..
1. Your menses is 3-7 days of Bright Red Easy Flow. Meaning....
No brown spotting at the beginning or end of your cycle
No light pink watery flow
No clots larger than a dime.
2. You have 3-5 days of White Flow around ovulation - also known as Cervical Mucus or Ovulatory Fluid. It's stretchy, like an egg white and very lubricative. Whether your intention is to get pregnant, not get pregnant, or if you aren't having heterosexual sex at all - this White Flow is still an important sign that tells us how your cycle is managing, when and whether you are ovulating and how we can support your body accordingly. Pay attention to it.
3. 25-35 Day Cycle - this means counting from Day 1 of full blood flow to Day 1 of the next menstrual cycle. Also, consistent. Not 25 days one cycle and 35 the next, you hover around the same number of days every month.
4. No pain around your cycle, no need for monthly medication.
5. No midcycle spotting. You only have any colour to your discharge during those first few days of your cycle
Is this you? If it isn't, and you want it to be - reach out. We're here to help. Through a combination of food, herbs, acupuncture and lifestyle tweaks you can have a menstrual cycle that can be embraced and dare I say - enjoyed and celebrated. Top 5 strategies for embracing your Healthy Flow
Take your Vitamin D - every cell in your body has a Vitamin D receptor on it. Your brain needs it, your immune system needs it, your skin needs it, your healthy hormones need it. It's the only Vitamin even Health Canada recommends every Canadian take. If you didn't want to have to take it, you should have moved closer to the equator. We're just too far from the sun to make it ourselves. Vitamin D has been studied as a stand alone to treat PMS. If you needed just one more reason to take Vitamin D - consider this it.
Optimize your Sleep - everything sucks when you aren't sleeping. Including your periods, your flow and your ability to cope. There is no replacement for sleep and you do need a little more of it around your monthly flow time. Also, coffee makes PMS worse. Jussayin.
Seeds - aim for 2 tablespoons daily. Options include: ground flax, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia, poppy. All are rich in protein, healthy fats, minerals and nutrients your body needs in order to cycle in a safe and healthy way. Sprinkle them on your oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce, salad, soup, pasta, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Snack on them out of your hand. Doesn't matter where or when - just do it.
Deal with your Stress. If you needed one more reason - it has a huge impact on your menstrual health. Therapy, Acupuncture, Herbs, Meditation, Yoga - all good supportive choices.
Magnesium. One of the closer things to a magic pill Naturopathic Doctors have in their arsenal. Relieves the pain of menstrual cramps, menstrual headaches, helps with sleep, stress (see above). Make sure you choose a format that is appropriate for you - Bisglycinate is often a good choice.
There is so much research now on how to eat, exercise, work and play in accordance with the ebbs and flows of your cycle. Trying to override it is not the answer. More blog posts coming on that one... As always, optimal health is an individual endeavor. This is not a replacement for personal medical advice. Please seek out support if you need it. We're here for you,
Dr. Dori Skye Engel ND, Birth Doula has a special interest in the Perinatal period of a family’s life; Fertility support, Preconception Care, Pregnancy, Labour & Birth, Postpartum support as well as Babies & Children. Treating the whole person, as well as the whole family, she is honoured to support men & women through further life changes such as menopause, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, skin conditions & all the curveballs life throws.