Your Period. You can love it because its reliable and runs like clockwork, or you can hate it, dreading the transformation you make into a hormonal monster groaning in pain once a month. There are a lot of preconceptions about Women’s periods and here, we’re going to dispel a few by talking about what “NORMAL”, if it ever exists, really means.
Myth #1 : A normal period is 28 days exactly.
Somewhere along the way a message got out to all pubescent girls that their cycle should be 28 days. Well, statistics show about 15% of women actually have a 28 day cycle.
90% of women have a 24-35 day cycle.
That means the rest of us (the majority) do not have a 28 day cycle and that’s ok too.
So what is normal?
According to a Google search, anything less than 21 days is considered too short.
I would challenge that and say a normal cycle length when trying to conceive should be anywhere between 26-35 days.
This is because your eggs need time to fully develop and mature before ovulation takes place. In a 26 day cycle if everything else is normal, you ideally should be ovulating at the midpoint of that time, on day 13. Any less than 13 days is not enough time for the egg to fully mature, which could affect conception.
Anything considered more than 35 days is considered as a long period cycle and difficulty conceiving could be an issue there. Coming back to the eggs again they may be over-developed or over-ripe.
Myth #2 : Your period syncs with other females you live with.
This myth was a harmless one, but a novel one that provided much banter and laughs about the phenomenon of synchronising period cycles. The myth is if women live together in the one household, spend too much time together that they would menstruate at similar times in the month, much to the fear of the males co-existing in that same house because of PMS showing up at the same time. Many women with concurrent PMS = A nightmare.
It was based on a 1971 methodology study that came to this conclusion that drew from evolutionary theory about maximising reproductive success.
More recent studies have dispelled this myth, showing just as many results that say it has statistical significance, as those saying it has no statistical significance.
Myth # 3: If my period isn’t like clockwork something is wrong with me.
Think of your period as a very clear indicator of what is going on in your body. I guess we’re lucky in that sense compared to men that we have an “internal barometer” like a period. Your period does provide information to you, your doctor or a health practitioner about what is happening with your hormones and can signal a red flag that something might be a bit off. It is always good to go see your doctor first to rule out anything serious.
But if you have always had a regular cycle, and out of the blue you have a different cycle that month, ask yourself these questions:
- Have I been under more stress this month?
- Have I been sick with a fever or illness this month?
- Am I taking medication that could impact on my hormones such as pain relief meds?
Hormones work on a feedback loop system. This is where the Hypothalamus/ Pituitary, aka a gland deep in the depths of your Brain, controls the output of signals to stimulate release of hormones.
The bottom line is STRESS is a big disruptor of these feedback loops and the HPAxis function, because stress affects your brain & nervous system. If stress influences the feedback loops, it influences the hormones and therefore your period length.
Illness and fever affect your core temperatures, which affcets when you ovulate and therefore your period cycle length. As does medication. You may have simply ovulated a little earlier or later that month.
I hope this has dispelled a few myths about your period and given you insight into how your body works. If you’re experiencing irregular periods, long or short period cycles and would like to try Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture, please connect with me at email@example.com