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In Part 1 of this series, I discussed Sign #1 which is that healthy cycles have a regular frequency and occur 25-35 days apart. In Part 2, I discussed Sign #2 which is observing premenstrual time.

Sign #3: Healthy Periods

Your menses occurs when the hormones drop triggering your body to shed the uterine lining that built up in the previous cycle.

When pregnancy hasn’t occurred, the hormones drop to trigger the shedding of the lining. The first day of bleeding is considered Day 1 of your cycle.

With the start of the menses, many people feel a shift in their body and mood as their body cleanses. Many times, premenstrual symptoms ease once bleeding begins.

Healthy Step: Observe your Periods

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I suggested keeping track of the frequency of your cycles and any premenstrual symptoms using an app or calendar. I would like to add another step; track the pattern of bleeding and any symptoms you observe during your period.

Observe the quantity and pattern of the bleeding. Is your period overall light, normal, or heavy? How many days does it last? Do you have any spotting? What is the color of the blood: bright red, brown, pink? Many people never really look that closely to their bleeding pattern. Use this observation as a way to learn and connect more deeply to your body.

Observe if there are any symptoms such as abdominal pressure or cramping, headaches, digestive changes, low back pressure, energy changes, skin changes, etc. Notice if there are any other shifts; some people feel a positive boost in mood and energy during their period.

In East Asian Medicine we take these signs and patterns into account as we assess the overall health of your body and hormone balance.

Healthy Step: Create a self-care practice during your menstrual time

Menses is a time to slow down and honor your body as the hormones shift and you shed the uterine lining.

In a healthy cycle, some people may feel mild pressure in the abdomen as the lining sheds. Applying a heating pad or hot water bottle to the abdomen is often helpful to reduce this pressure. I also recommend to drink a cup of ginger tea or take a warm bath for extra comfort.

Some people notice a slight decrease in energy during the first day or two of their period. This is the time for gentle exercise, stretching, and going for a lovely walk. You may want to keep your schedule a little lighter to allow for rest.

Some people feel more introspective during their period which is a great time to journal, work on an art project, and enjoy other expressive creative projects.

When uncomfortable periods take over your life…

Some people experience uncomfortable periods with strong cramps, digestive symptoms, fatigue, headaches and migraines, skin breakouts, heavy bleeding, and many other possible symptoms. Some people experience such strong symptoms that they are unable to function in their normal routine.

Traditional East Asian medicine and acupuncture can help.

Whether you have mild or severe menstrual symptoms, East Asian Medicine can be very effective to ease these symptoms. In my practice, I support patients by integrating acupuncture, herbal medicine, healing foods, and supportive self-care practices to balance the cycles.
Next up on the series: I will discuss Sign #4 which is observing your ovulation time.

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