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What Your Menstrual Cycle Can Tell You About Your Health

Feb 12, 2024

As you become more familiar with your menstrual cycle, you'll discover that the various changes in your body, from physical signs to mood shifts, are essentially like messages from your hormones. These signals act as your body's way of sharing insights into your hormones and overall health. When referring to the menstrual cycle, it’s not just about your monthly periods; it’s about the entire cycle. While the average menstrual cycle spans around 28 days, it's essential to recognise that for most people, a typical cycle can range anywhere from 24 to 34 days, with an average period lasting approximately 3-7 days.

Tracking the phases of your cycle provides valuable insights into your well-being, and in holistic health, your period is considered as your 6th vital sign of health. Let’s decode what some of your symptoms could mean:

LONG MENSTRUAL CYCLES 

When your periods stretch beyond the 35-day mark, it could be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, which could potentially be causing ovulation to be delayed or not occurring at all. Factors like excessive stress, thyroid issues, PCOS, or perimenopause may also contribute to this scenario.

SHORT MENSTRUAL CYCLES 

Cycles with periods occurring more frequently than every 24 days may indicate issues with ovulation or a hormonal imbalance, such as progesterone deficiency. Something else like perimenopause, stress, and anxiety may also cause periods to start coming more frequently. 

MISSING OR IRREGULAR PERIODS

Occasionally, missed periods may occur due to factors like extreme stress, a drastic change in weight or certain medications. However, if irregular or missing periods become the usual for you, it warrants further investigation.  

MOOD SWINGS

While it's normal to experience emotional changes during your period, extreme mood swings could be indicative of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which often means severe irritability or depression up to 2 weeks before your period. Premenstrual syndrome includes mood swings, cravings, tender breasts, and irritability, which can be normal but shouldn't be severe enough to disrupt your daily life.

PAIN

Persistent pain not alleviated by heat or over-the-counter medications should prompt a visit to your GP or a specialist for further evaluation.

HOW TO BEGIN TRACKING YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Start by marking day 1 as the first day of your period. Count the number of days your period lasts, and note any accompanying symptoms such as pain, bloating, headaches, or anything else that may pop up for you. This can then be used as a tool to track and notice any patterns that occur at different times in your cycles, and can be used to take to your GP, specialist, nutritionist or natural healthcare practitioner. 

Listening to your body and tracking your menstrual cycle can tell you so much about your health. It is important to lean into what your symptoms may be trying to tell you.

By Breeanna Betar

Breeanna is a degree qualified Clinical Nutritionist specialising in women’s health. In her private clinic, she works one on one with women to help them achieve their health goals. Bree possesses a profound understanding of women’s health needs and is committed to sharing her knowledge with the Naked Harvest community, and is proud to be involved in Naked Harvest’s mission of revolutionising the active supplement industry.