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3 Signs of a Balanced Period

Writing by Freya Bennett // photograph by Monika Kozub

I have always had a very regular menstrual cycle. Since the day I got my first period at 13, it would arrive like clockwork with the signs and symptoms unchanging. I always had two days of spotting before my period, bleed for two/three days, with the spotting returning for the last few days. I had cramps and PMS but both were mild enough for me to get on with my days without too much interference.

This seemed completely normal to me until I had a miscarriage at 29 and upon my period returning, I noticed a small but significant difference in my cycle. I no longer had spotting before my period and my cramps had completely disappeared. It seems my miscarriage and subsequent D & C acted as a sort of ‘reset’ for my hormones. And while I wouldn’t recommend a miscarriage as a way to balance your hormones (let’s not add trauma to that reset), I am grateful to have been gifted a deep insight into my cycle through that experience.

As I prepared for conception with a fertility specialist naturopath, I learnt that spotting for more than a day before your period is a sign of low progesterone. I also learnt that if you’re hormones are balanced and everything is as it should be, a period should actually be pretty painless.

We talk a lot about period problems such as endometriosis and PCOS (and rightly so, these things need a much bigger platform) but we rarely talk about what a balanced and healthy period looks like.

If you’re curious about your flow and whether your cycle is balanced, here are three signs of a super healthy period.

You have little to no pain

The normalisation of period pain is a fallacy that needs to be addressed. A truly healthy period should have very minimal pain (easily soothed by some heat, rest or gentle movement) or no pain at all. While we all experience a degree of pain at some point in our menstruating lives, if your pain requires regular medication or debilitates you to the point you can’t get on with your day, then this is something to get checked out. It doesn’t mean you should expect to be able to run marathons or be as energetic as you are at other times in your cycle, it is normal to be tired and sensitive, but pain isn’t something to normalise.

You don’t have spotting before your period or it goes one day or less

Spotting for more than one day before your period is a sign of low progesterone. This is quite common, especially because chronic stress levels can cause low progesterone as the body prioritises cortisol production over progesterone during these times.

A super healthy period will either start with fresh blood straight away or have half a day to a day of spotting.

If you’ve noticed this, it’s nothing to be alarmed about, but it’s something to address to feel at your best.

Your cycle is between 26-35 days long

Ideally, your cycle will fall between 26-35 days with your cycle about the same length each month. Your cycle is counted from the first day of fresh blood so again, if you’re spotting for one day or more, only count the start of your cycle from when you experience proper blood flow.

If you notice your cycle is fluctuating each month or outside of these numbers, that’s a sign your hormones are unbalanced and you might need a bit of support around that.

Don’t fret if your period isn’t showing all these signs of perfectly balanced hormones, we’ve all had times of being out of whack and modern life doesn’t facilitate a healthy cycle as it should. But it’s good to be aware of what to aim for and if you’re looking to conceive or just want to feel more in touch with your body and hormones, it might be something to chat to your fertility specialist about.

I kept my hormones balanced with the support of a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner and a fertility specialist naturopath but each person will have a different journey and I encourage you to learn as much as you can about ways to support your cycle.

Freya Bennett

Freya Bennett is the Co-Founder and Director of Ramona Magazine. She is a writer and editor from Dja Dja Wurrung Country who loves grey days, libraries and dandelion tea. You can follow her on Instagram @freya___bennett

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