PERIODS - WHAT ARE THEY?
BASIC, WE KNOW BUT LET’S BREAK IT DOWN
Um, so I know this might be a little basic as a question but let’s be honest, the more clear we are and the more correct knowledge we have about our bodies, the more empowered we are because nobody, and I mean NOBODY knows your body better than you do. So here are some of the essential clarifiers it is useful to know whether you are starting on your period journey or you are further along:
On average your period (which is short for menstrual period - let’s try say that 3 times really really fast!) can happen anywhere from 24-38 days, as you get older it may be on the longer end and if you’re just starting out on your way it might be on the shorter end. And in general your period lasts from 2-8 days, again depending on your age.
When you get your period you’ll bleed and that is just the shedding of the uterine lining which then has to go somewhere and bada -boom, you got your period.
SO WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT? WELL THIS ALL DEPENDS ON YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL:
You can have light and heavy periods and you can have some days on your period when you’ll bleed more than the next day.
If you’ve had your period for a couple of years you may be more used to your own cycle, ie knowing that the first 2 days are quite light and then a couple of heavy bleeding days and then it calms down again. Or you might just have really light periods for your cycle.
There is NO wrong way to get your period so what your sister, best friend, aunt have might not be what you have.
The average woman bleeds between 5-80ml of blood over her period which is about 6 tablespoons of blood - it’s actually not as much as it looks on a sanitary pad/tampon.
OK, SO WE KNOW THAT EVERY 24-38 DAYS WE SHED OUR UTERINE BUT HOW AND WHY?
Well it’s all to do with hormones and how they signal cues for what your body does next. In the first part of your cycle, your ovaries prepare to release an egg (only one ovary will do this) and at the same bloomin time the amount of estrogen hormone that’s produced increases. Estrogen is a hormone used to help grow and get your uterus (and it’s lining) ready for a baby.
After the little egg as been released your body then produces progestorone….which is also a baby growing helping hormone and keeps the old (or young) uterus stable ready to receive a fertilzed egg (ie, a sperm has made the journey to your egg and broken through!), So if you are preggers your body will receive a signal saying “hey-ho” baby growing here no period please. If your body on the other hand doesn’t receive that signal the levels of estrogen and progesterone drop and this is what gets your endometrium to shed which triggers yet another bloomin influx of hormone like prostaglandins which makes your uterus contract and causes your period. Phew. Now it starts all over again!
So many things can affect your period - your lifestyle, weight, diet, travel, stress and then there are a whole bunch of other health conditions such as PCOS, fibroids, uterine polyps etc and those health conditions should be talked through with your health advisor/doctor. So if you are finding yours is different to someone else’s that’s normalLike we said above, no period is normal but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be sharing our experiences? Want to let us know about your cycle and tell us what you find helps, we’d love to know.
Image by the amazing Frances Cannon
If you want to get back in tune with your body and understand your period more, why not download our period journal here.