We get asked often what is an ideal period. Unfortunately there is no one answer to this question as we are all different. A ‘textbook’ menstrual cycle is 28 days long with menstruation lasting 3-5 days. The information that is most important about your cycle is the length of your period, the length of your entire cycle, the amount of pain, the color and consistency of the menstruation. We can use this information to learn how to best use herbs and natural therapies to help create a healthy, balanced cycle.
Length of a Healthy Cycle
The usual range of a healthy cycle is between 21 and 35 days. Some women will have cycles that are very different from this, but as long as there is a pattern, regularity, a healthy body and the follicular phase is between 12-14 days there should be no cause for concern.
Hormone levels and ovulation create the regularity of your cycle. Failure to ovulate will effect hormonal levels and hormonal imbalance will effect/inhibit the secretion of hormones that stimulate ovulation.
There are many factors that can affect hormonal balance and ovulation. Stress being one of them.
What’s the menstrual cycle?
The menstrual cycle is the monthly series of changes a woman’s body goes through in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy. Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg — a process called ovulation. At the same time, hormonal changes prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If ovulation takes place and the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining of the uterus sheds through the vagina. This is a menstrual period.
The menstrual cycle, which is counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next, isn’t the same for every woman. Menstrual flow might occur every 21 to 35 days and last two to seven days. For the first few years after menstruation begins, long cycles are common. However, menstrual cycles tend to shorten and become more regular as you age.
Your menstrual cycle might be regular — about the same length every month — or somewhat irregular, and your period might be light or heavy, painful or pain-free, long or short, and still be considered normal. Within a broad range, “normal” is what’s normal for you.
Keep in mind that use of certain types of contraception, such as extended-cycle birth control pills, will alter your menstrual cycle. Talk to your health care provider about what to expect.
If your periods are very irregular, you may not be ovulating at all, or infrequently. Again, keep a record of the dates that you have your period.
It’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor if:
1. You’ve not become pregnant within a year of trying, as long as you’ve been having sex two or three times a week.
2. You have bleeding between periods, or after sex.
3. You are aged over 36.
4. You have a known problem that could affect your fertility.
That way, your doctor will be able to look into why you’re not conceiving and explain the options that are available to you.