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Your Period? It's Key to Your Fertility

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What does a normal period look like?

Readers seem puzzled and they ask questions all the time: Is diarrhea before a period normal? If I bleed through a tampon in an hour, is that normal? Is spotting between periods normal? What about clots?

A healthy period or menstrual flow's guidelines:

  • A period should come on almost every 26 - 32 days.
  • It is normal to experience slight premenstrual tension due to the fact that, as progesterone levels drop, the body's energies are directed inward, inducing liquification of the uterine lining and initiating menstrual flow. But it’s not normal to experience crazy cramps, etc. (Case in point, my mother, coming from the Eastern culture where perhaps she was already more balanced, has no concept of things like “cramps” and now “hot flashes.”)
  • The normal period should last from 3 - 7 days.
  • During this 3 - 7 day flow period, the normal quantity is expected to be from 50 - 100ml. Flow less than 50ml indicates deficiency; more than 100ml indicates excess.

Ready to get into the nitty-gritty? Here’s a rule of thumb for a regular tampon and pad:

  • Tampon: 1/3 full = 1 ml, 1/2 full = 5 ml , full = 10 ml
  • Pad: 1/3 full = 1 ml, 1/2 full = 10 ml, full = 20 ml

Period Blood Color

The color is expected to be fresh to dark red, sometimes with a little bit of brown at the end as the blood flow tapers and oxidizes. If the color is largely brown or black, it indicates the menstrual blood is not able to be released properly, which may mean your lining may have difficulty regenerating. Bright red, thin blood that flows rapidly like a fresh cut indicates the lining isn't being properly liquefied along with the blood.

Also, consistency: If the blood is too thin and watery, it indicates a deficiency in the underlying reproductive energies. If it is thick, clumpy, stringy, or clotty, it indicates an excess condition where the flow is compromised.

Sharp pain is not normal, nor is heavy cramping. A light ache in the center of the pelvis is considered normal as well, as the contractile function of the uterus is involved in releasing the blood.

One more tidbit I’ve picked up is to NOT have sex during your period as this is the time the cervix is slightly open and the last thing you want to do is introduce infectious pathogens there.

If your menses are weird or painful in any way, might I suggest seeing an alternative practitioner, such as an acupuncturist, who specializes in these conditions? Once I started seeing an acupuncturist/herbalist, I started to realize that these conditions (mine: spotting, clots) are very common and I got treatment. My menses has gotten a lot better — brighter, better flow — since I’ve been following his protocol. If your Palace of the Child is not fresh, springy, and healthy, how can you expect an embryo to thrive there?

Uterine linings are all but ignored in Western reproductive medicine, but are considered at least as important as egg quality. In Chinese medicine, the uterus itself is thought of as “the palace of the child.” Doesn’t that make sense? “The attention the body pays to the uterus is directly related to the attention the body pays to the ovary,” says Dr. Lewis, “and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) considers them a unit, affected also by the messages they receive from the brain chemistry, blood, and hormones. The uterus is an incredibly complex organ, and must secrete proteins and chemical messages to communicate with the embryo in order for implantation to occur.”

BTW, For this article - I consulted with Dr. Randine Lewis, L.Ac., Ph.D, author of The Infertility Cure and The Way of the Fertile Soul. Dr. Lewis has spent much of her career as a traditional Eastern medicine practitioner looking at just that — the menses — for clues to fertility and overall health.


Hi im 16 and currently im sexually active .when i started my period (13) it wouldnt come every month , until a year ago i had my left ovary removed cause it wasnt working anymore. After surgery my period was completely normal until about alittle time ago i had just gotten off my period . I had sex and acouple days later i started my period once again ... then after that my period didnt come until a month and a half . It was very thin with a pinkish color for like a day (which usually never happens) . Then he next few days it looked pretty normal . im worried , what do you think is going on ?

Hi Cynthia,

You should consult your OB-GYN about your menstrual cycle concerns.

Best of luck,

I have always had some what, mild periods with little to no cramping and usually pretty regular, even after having two babies, but in 2008 after i had my son who i conceived while on Nuva Ring which I had been using as my BC since having my second daughter in 2005, I tried the IUD and had a horrible experience with it. I would bleed for 3 weeks and only have 1 week off. I gave it a few months to regulate since i had just had a baby but it never did, i mentioned it to my doctor several times who kept telling me it could take up to a year. Well finally after a year and many complaints later, I got an ultrasound that showed that the IUD slightly moved and it needed to be taken out, luckly it came out no surgery needed and i decided to get back on the nuva ring Nov 2009. This last Nov 2013 we decided to TTC our 4th and last child and to this day have had no luck. All though my periods are usually pretty regular, i have severe cramping that I actually need strong pain pills for the first 2 days (cramping usually starts a full day before my oeriod starts) its also pretty heavy and very watery. This month was alittle different, on the 4th day of my missed oeriod I started to spot, very light, no need for even a pad, brownish pink, which I usually dont spot before my period, and I was having no Cramping. This lasted for 3 full days and then BAM it just started and so did my cramping, period was a bright kind of darker red, very heavy and very very watery, it lasted the normal 4 days and now 3 days after my period stopped I am having alot of very watery discharge, with a light tint of pink. Its so much and so watery that I can feel it coming out, and i will rush to the bathroom to wipe and it will just flow into the toilet. Could there be something wrong? Ive seen my doctor a few times, ive had urine tests, cultures, full papsmears, hormone checks, thyroid checks and ultrasounds done and everything comes back normal,but i am so worried that there could be something wrong and thats why we have been unable to conceive (all three of my children were all one shooters, there was no "trying" involved.

Alicia - I'm so sorry to hear that you're having concerns. All of the tests that you described - did your OB/Gyn perform them? Have you consulted with a Reproductive Endocrinologist to have some more extensive testing done? If you have not consulted with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (fertility specialist) I recommend that you do. I am more than happy to assist you in finding one in your area. Please feel free to email me directly at

I've never had problems with my period , always on time ,bleeding about 4 days. I have a almost 3 year old and we wanted to start on another baby. Since January ,my period is off. Skipping a whole month, then just a week. This time almost 2 month late. So I don't ovulate for some reason, what should I do ? I do feel fine otherwise though. Thank you in advance

Hello Nicole, have you discussed your recently irregular period with your OB/Gyn? In order to conceive it needs to be regular but if you don't feel like you're ovulating you may want to consider seeing a fertility doctor to determine what is going on. If you need help finding a fertility specialist in your area feel free to email me directly at I'm happy to help

Hi im 23 and normally my period is 3-4 days and heavy for at least 2 of the days... normally starting and ending on brown/black blood. Iv been trying for a baby for 2 years to no success. The last 3 months my periods have been off. They went from 4 days too 3 and were very heavy with huge clots one was nearly the length of a pen. This month I was 2 days early and started off slow with brown blood then for 2 days had heavy red blood and clots and then a little brown blood on day 3... on say 4 I had nothing and then a lot of dark red/black clotted blood then nothing again. Now day 5 I am back to brown/dark red intermittent spotting and no sighs of stopping... what shell I do? I'm so scared of being infertile... my doctor didn't seem concerned regarding trying for a child for 2 years with no sucess

Hi Emma,

I would definitely suggest that you have a hormone evaluation done. You should see a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist) for that. Do you have health insurance? Your insurance may cover the cost of consultation and diagnostic testing. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email for more information!


With my miscarriage I had only 5 days of bleeding and on the 4th day my doc told me the remains are expelled. After 37 days I had my first period 1st day only spotting and thin mucus like string bleeding, 2nd day and 3rd day dark red bleeding with clots. Today am on the 4th day and its bleeding heavily dark blood and lots of clots. Is this normal. Note -pain is minimum.

I recommend that you set up an appointment with your Gynecologist so your pregnancy hormone level, or HCG, can be monitored until it goes back to a non-pregnancy level. If you have any additional questions, feel free to email me at

Thanks a lot Jenna... My doc has asked for an ultra sound to be done on day 5-day 10 ...I will contact you definitely if there is any queries....

You are very welcome! Good luck.

I'm 15 and my periods are so heavy for the first day or two my blood is thick and black but then for the next day or two it's bright red blood like fresh blood and it's so thin and watery it has clots in also I always have really heavy periods and it ruins my plans all the time please help

Jane - I'm sorry to hear that your periods are heavy. Have you discussed this with a Gynecologist? They can help you manage your period and provide you with some options to make it better. If you need help finding one you can ask your parent or guardian, school nurse, or you can email me directly at

My last cycle I had very heavy bleeding. It started out bright red but within hours had turned black and thick with lots of cramps and sharp pains. My previous cycle before this was the exact opposite, bright red, thin blood with virtually no cramps. Is it possible that my uterine lining didn't shed the one cycle causing the next to be heavy with black blood? Is this something I need to be concerned about?

Esther, if you are concerned about your period you should consult with your Gynecologist as soon as possible. These symptoms could be the cause of some underlying issue.

Ever since I got my period I have had bad cramps but the past two periods have be rextreamly bad. The pain is almost crippling. Also im a little worried because I have a 7-14day period and the blood is bright red and liquidity then about after day7-8 I have a black/brown blood for about a this normal.

Amanda, if you are experiencing painful periods it could be symptoms of something else. I recommend that you consult with your Gynecologist to determine what is causing your painful periods.

Aashima - I'm sorry to hear that you're having concerns with your periods. Have you discussed this with your Gynecologist? If not, I recommend that you consult with your Gynecologist to determine what is going on.

I m having watery thin periods in a very large amount since last two weeks... plz help me ...

Hello Darakshan - I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling. Since your periods have gotten regular have you been tracking your ovulation? If you are concerned I recommend that you consult with a fertility specialist to see your options. If you need help finding one in your area feel free to email me directly at and I'll be happy to help get you set up!

Hi i have irregular periods problem but after treatment i got regular. I got married since 2 years but i did not pregnant. How can i get pregnant soon. i am worried about my matter.

Ayesha - I recommend that you set up an appointment with your Gynecologist to determine whether or not you are in fact pregnant. They can do additional tests to determine.

i am having pink blood in my periods my periods date was 20th May till today i can not see flow in my menses is this a pregnency symtoms or implantation in uterus? i took pregnency test 3 to 4 times before my periods but it was negetive please help me

I missed my period,March 28th,then,around April 16th-19st,spotting(implantation)?Now,missed period again,May 1st,but,why am I already starting to show?Multiples???My waist measures 36 inches;the full measurement around buttocks to center of belly measures 44 inches.This is surprising being I am approaching 47 years.Am I ,and,baby safe?

Hi i started seeing my period when i was 13, i hsve never had normal cycle . My period usually skip 1 nunths sometimes 2. Durinf my teenage years my gyn gave me controceptive to regulate my period which did but as soon as i stoped taking them my period started skyping 1n 2 munth. And that how my cyclenhave been alk my life my gyno said whenever i am ready tonhave a baby i shouldntake fertility meds. I am just scared i will not have any children am married and has deen trying for the past 3 yrs and still no baby. What whould u advise to me be reguarding my fettility and the options i have.

Hello Kerry,
It seems that you may need to be seen by a RE specialist. Please call our PCA’s at 855-955-BABY (2229) and they will be able to properly guide you as well as assist you in booking an appointment. We are not a doctor, nor do we provide medical advice, but we can help you find a perfect doctor.
Hope to talk to you soon,

i can go about6 or 7 months without bleeding can this be affecting my chances of getting pregnant?

Hi. I have a question I would like to ask. My periods have never been regular, a few years back I would bleed for 1-3 months straight. Since then I have lost a tremendous amount of weight which seemed to regulate my periods. Now I get them once a month for 5 days. Normally with heavy flow that's darkish in colour at first with cramps, and then on day two it will go bright red in colour along with cramps and also clots. At the end of February I passed a palm sized clot that was dark red in colour. People say it would be my body just gettig rid of a bad build up, and I ha the most exceuitating cramps before I passed that clot and also after. That period lasted 6 days. Me and my partner are TTC so keep that in mind. Then at the end of March when my period was due again I bled so lightly for only 3 days I could've got away without wearing a pad (so instantly I thought maybe with the large clot that I passed my body could be correcting it's period after 15 years of constant heavy periods) then two weeks later after I had sex with my partner for a very long 2 hours, I started spotting. Then two days later my period came. But it's 12 days early. It started off like a brown discharge for a day, then turned Into bright red thin blood. I'm feeling so sick ATM, and very emotional due to us wanting our first baby. I'm 27 and he is 30. What could all this be? I have been to drs and the last one I went to was so useless he didn't help at all. Please give me some advice???

Hi there,

Have you consulted a fertility doctor (reproductive endocrinologist)? We can help you find a specialist in your area. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229).

I am so sorry you are going through this!


I live in Australia will that number still work?

Yes, if you dial the appropriate country codes. You can also email me


my period is normal with flow,color ,small clots and it comes every 21 /22dys and last for 5dys but for what ever reason I did not get my period on the 21 /22dy of the mo that is not normal for me but I did some spotty on the 28dy of the mo. could i be pregnant or do my age have somthing to do with it im 40

Hi there,

Age definitely impacts the length of your menstrual cycle. You should consult a fertility doctor if you are trying to conceive. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) and we will help you find a doctor in your area.

Good luck,

This is the. third month that I seen my period light and watery. I don't know what it means. my period was usually kinda dark red

Hi my periods are on and off....sometimes I skip a month...sometimes I am taking only 2 days ...sometimes 3days.....when I was consulting a doctor(Gynaecologist)...he said it is that's true?

Having irregular periods or skipping periods is not normal, unless you are approaching menopause. There could be many factors, including age. I would suggest seeing a reproductive endocrinologist, who can evaluate your situation. Let me know if you'd like more information. Best, Claire

K- ladies, now I know you all are going to tell me I need to see a doctor, however I have been to several and all blame a hormonal issue, even though my blood work is fine, and try to perscribe me birth control, so here is my story, My menses lasts 3-4 weeks, to where I lose blood clots the size of half dollars,it varies between bright red and water like, or deep red thick clots that I can feel before they are expelled, my husband and I have tried off and on for 12 years to conceive, never using birth control and nothing, our son is 12 born via csection in 2001, does any one have any thoughts or ideas, as none of the psysicians seem to want to help. Ps sometimes I need to wear an overnight plus tampon and overnight pad together to contain the blood loss.

Hi I have "regular" "normal" periods usually but my last two periods have been excessively heavy. My last period lasted 6 days I stopped bleeding for 2 days and then started bleeding again. The 2nd spout was not painful but excessively heavy to the point where I'm using two sanitary pads every hour. And when I wear a tampon as I'm changing the blood just pours out of me. Please help as I am very worried am I worrying for nothing? Thanks xx

Ive been trying to get pregnant for over a year now and its been hard. Ive been bleeding a lot lately its been on and off for over a four years now and it wont stop. Ive been to the doctors and they tell me there is nothing wrong or they cant find anything that's causing the bleeding. And my questions is there anything that i can do to stop the bleeding or anything that i can do to regulate my periods?

It sounds like you might not be seeing the right kind of doctor to determine what's going on with your period. I'm sure it's incredibly frustrating. If you're trying to get pregnant you should see a reproductive endocrinologist - also known as a fertility doctor. If you'd like more information, you can contact our Patient Care Advocates at 855-955-2229 or Best, Claire

Am 22 married i had mescarg in 2012.i hv been tryin 4 a baby scince last year june bt no bby i ws hvin normal period all those yrs bt thy suddly changd on nov 2013 my period ws due on 15 which last 4 3dyz nd it nt normal cos my period usd to last fr 4-5dyz ,thn again dec ws due 26 i stard 2 b confusd thn now it jan 2014 i ddnt see my period all i see s dark brown blood nd it nt usin proctectin or preventin and am hvin intercourse almost every. Pls tel me wht s going on .oh the bad stormch cramps.

I can't give you medical advice. You really should see a doctor if your period is changing, if you have any pain and if you have concerns. Best, Claire

Hi a few years ago I was told I had abnormal cells on my ovaries. I had a miscarried before all that and it's been about 6 years. I want to have a baby and my partner and I have been trying for about the same time. I do not have medical insurance and we are not marry. Any suggestion?

Infertility treatment can be expensive. But it does sound like you need at least an exam of your ovaries to learn more about the abnormal me know if you would like more information. Best, Claire

Hello ,i hardly see my mense and this month it came but it is very thick and black.i am to trying to get pregnant and it won't work

If you're not getting your period every month you may not be ovulating regularly. So if you are trying to get pregnant you really should see a fertility doctor to do some tests and determine what's going on. Our Patient Care Advocates can help you find someone in your are. Please call or email at 855-955-2229 or Best, Claire

I'm 22 years old and I've been having periods since I was 13. In the past my period were always dark red and clumpy and they lasted around 5-6 days. The last 3 months though have been lighter red, but still enough to soak pads, and only lasted 2 or maybe 3 days. Then this month, it's been bright red, like the blood from a cut. It started to turn brown like it usually does at the end of my period but then it started bleeding again. I will mention that I am sexually active (with the same man for 2.5 years) and I have been on the birth control pill since I was 17. I had sex a few days (3 or 4) days before my period and there was blood after sexy, which hasn't happened before, but it was light, almost orange and only lasted a few minutes. Any idea for what could be going on?

Hi Jessica, These changes could be completely normal. but you should definitely consult your OB-GYN to be sure. Best, Kim

Im a bit worried about my period. Yesterday I had really bad stomach ache, like trapped wind almost, my belly was very bloated and it felt like something was moving inside. I am not due my normal period (I calender it every month) til monday, but I have started early for some reason and I normally know the exact date I start, so im a bit shocked. My blood was brown and very stringy/sllimy like. It's panicked me a bit because it looked similar to the blood you get after birth (I have two children) and it smells off, not the normal smell. Then it pretty much stopped but has started again to red/pink. Is this normal? Any ideas at all?


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