We talk about our periods in terms of how they feel. But every day I get really specific about the volume, colour, viscosity and clottiness of period blood and I have some news for you. We are often confused about period blood.
So I’ve written this quick guide so you can
A. Know exactly, how heavily you bleed
B. Know if the sense of heaviness and the actual blood loss are different – if this is the case it’s worth investigating more.
C. Have some go-to’s for addressing periods that are causing issues.
A normal period is defined as less than 80mls of blood loss over the whole course of bleeding – less than 7 days. The average person’s blood loss is roughly 40-50mls. That is about 2 teaspoons per day for 2- heavy days and then 1⁄2 – 1 tsp for 2-4 remaining days. News to you? Read on…
What are some signs of too heavy bleeding?
- Being able to use only pantyliners for the entire period
- Not bleeding at all over night, and only needing light products during the day
- Having a period that lasts only 2-3 days only requiring light or infrequentproduct changes (eg a regular or light pad/tampon could be used for the whole day in terms of blood loss – might be changed just for freshness)How do I measure how much I bleed? Here are some ideas…
- Having to use both super tampons and pads and needing to change that every 1-2 hours
- Having to get up in the night to change overnight or super pads
- Having to empty a large cup multiple times during a day
- Using multiple packs of super tampons in one period
- Having to change super pads every 1-2 hours for a day or more.What are some signs of too light bleeding?
- If you use tampons, pads, period pants – simply weigh each one before you use it (record this), then weigh it once you have used it. End weight minus the beginner weight = the grams of blood you have lost. Grams and mls are roughly equal – so this is also the mls you have lost.
- you don’t need to do a beginning weight every time just weight each type/size of absorber and then keep a note of them.
- You can store used items in a zip lock bag and weigh them all at the end of the day.
Remember that 80ml is over the whole period so keep a log for an entire period.
If you are using a cup it will often have the ml’s marked on the side. If it doesn’t you can fill it with water and then pour this into a measuring cup or medicine cup to see how many ml’s.
Why is too much blood an issue?
The endometrium is the lining of the womb that falls away each month as period blood. It is actually a tissue (complex structure) that is kept fresh and health via blood from our circulation. Your womb isn’t acting like a bowl holding the blood as a liquid mass. It’s like a cantaloupe and the endometrial tissue is the fruit bit lining the inside like a pulp. This tissue then falls away gradually over 3-7 days.
We need the right balance of hormones, circulation and womb muscle function for this to happen in an optimal way. The blood forms the tissue in response to the hormones estrogen and progesterone. But the blood itself is formed mainly around nutrient levels and the function of our liver and spleen organs. Ironically low mineral and vitamin levels (iron, zinc, vitamin A, B’s) often lead to heavy bleeding and then in turn lowers nutrient levels further.
Excess period bleeding drains the body of its vital life giving elixir – blood.
Why is too little blood an issue?
Too little blood indicates a few different issues. It can be that there is low blood generally due to nutrient deficiencies, chronic dehydration, or poor blood production for some reason. Or that there are low hormone levels and this results in little blood being laid down into the endometrial tissue in the womb.
I’m a naturopath and I can’t help myself – I want to know exactly what is causing your too much or too little or too painful period. But I know not everyone can access this type of deep intervention so…
Quick simply ways to address blood
Eat green veggies – everyday two times – 5 different types
Why? Because they improve hormone balance and are full of nutrients
Exercise – 3x per week
Why? Because it improves muscle function, promotes hormone regulation and regulates metabolism and circulation
Visit your GP and/or Naturopath
Why? There are a number of tests a GP can offer which will help identify nutrient issues in the blood. And I’d love to talk to you more about how to prevent and address nutrient deficiencies.
Avoid hormone disrupters and chemicals
Why? Common products like perfume, deodorants, herbicides/pesticides on our food, and chemicals in plastics are known to act like hormones and create disruption in the body. You will notice a marked improvement in wellbeing when you actively avoid these products and eat organic food.
How is your period? Leave us a comment! We would be happy to assist with any questions regarding this information.