Today we’re getting back to basics and turning to our friend Alisa Vitti of Flo Living, better known as the hormone whisperer to chat all about that time of the month. Alisa is an incredible functional nutritionist and holistic health counselor that helps women live their best and most powerful lives with their health (and hormones!) as the foundation. We’ll let her take it from here.
Ever since I started the period club in the 6th grade, I have been fascinated with everything that goes on with my body every month. I want to know every nook and cranny of how my hormones work, what my period means, and what to eat so that I can look and feel my best.
Menstruation is an overlooked, underutilized vital sign and just like blood pressure can tell us much about the state of our health. When your period goes missing, you know that something is amiss, but there are also many other, less obvious indicators we can observe that will give us useful information about our overall health.
The appearance of your menstrual blood and the duration of your period can reveal a hormonal imbalance that will lead to other health issues. It’s possible to heal all hormonal imbalances and their resulting symptoms by addressing diet and lifestyle.
Here we help you decode this important vital sign and start working towards a healthier menstrual cycle .
The ideal menstrual cycle is 5-7 days, and starts and ends with a bright happy cranberry color and is the consistency of jello mix that hasn’t set yet (medium viscosity, not too thin, not too thick) and occurs every 28-30 days.
There are many dietary and lifestyle reasons why this cycle gets thrown off for us women. Sometimes is a one or two-month situation, and sometimes cycle issues can last years. I want you to observe your cycle every month as a barometer of how well your diet and lifestyle are supporting your hormones. If your cycle isn’t as I described above then you’ve got to immediately make diet changes to get your cycle back to a healthy flow.
Here’s a guide for you to use for interpreting the color of your cycle every month and my favorite fixes for each to bring you quickly back to good.
Has your period started? What is that brown stuff exactly? Should you count this day as day one?
That brown stuff is old oxidized blood that didn’t make it out of your uterus last cycle. This is caused by low levels of progesterone. Low progesterone is the trigger for many period-related problems. You may also struggle to ovulate regularly in addition to having the odd coloration and you may also develop irregular cycles, or PCOS .
Are you changing your pad or tampon once an hour? Do you have special sheets for that time of the month? Do you have large clots that are dark purple in color?
Specifically, you have elevated estrogen levels. Estrogen builds the lining of your uterus. If you’re eating a diet that prevents your liver from breaking down this hormone, it can build up and wreak havoc on your cycle. In addition to the heavy bleeding and clots, you may also struggle with endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts, or polyps.
Is it coming? Spotting for several days? A short period (less than 3 days in length) and only light bleeding can indicate low estrogen levels. Your hormones are made from the food you eat, so your low estrogen is likely due to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies from improper and extreme dieting as well as from adrenal burnout .
Didn’t you just have your period last week? Does it seem like you are constantly starting your period? This can indicate a sluggish thyroid even though you might be within normal range on your blood work.