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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.


which days is likely to be the fertile days of a lady with 28 cycle

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I experience dark brown menses on the 1st day of my cycle, then after that it becomes normal. Please, help.

Hi Annie, That is normal. It sounds like the brown blood is just old blood coming before the red blood starts. If you are concerned, you should consult your OB-GYN. Best of luck! Kim

I experienced dark blood, which didn't last for a whole day, on the first day and after that it came to normal. I also have manageable cramps usually on the first day of each cycle, which becomes less each proceeding day. My period last only 3 days without heavy flow, which I've not ever had, with irregular cycle(24-28 days). Pls doctor do all these call for concern? Is it possible that my incompletely treated staph. A infection has an interference?

I was on my period 2 weeks ago and had unprotected sex. I am now on it again only this time it is very watery and have small clumps in it. Ive never experienced pain with my periods untill now and I get it in my right side. I went to the doctors about a month ago with simaler problems and have been told I have a cyst in my overies :-/. So basicly my questions are :- -why was the gap inbetween my period so short ? -why is my period watery and contain small clumps ? -could it all be linked in with the cyst Please help x

Hi :) my menses are usually very dark, thick & light in amount...this minth it started being bright bright red/pink & thun! Nervous!!!! And seems to smell more off..acidic, I think... help please!

My period is too dark, brown in colour nd it does nt last more dan 2days. Dis has been botherin me since, am so confused right now. I want to take in as soon as possible. Wat do I do, Pls help

Hi Glory, If you are concerned about your period being irregular, you should consult a fertility doctor. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email Best, Kim

I would love to have one more child I have one son who is four, but now my period stop for about six months now,how can I start my period back. Am 36 years old. Help please

Hi Sheree, If you have irregular or non-existent periods, your best bet is to consult a fertility doctor. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email and we can help you connect with a trusted fertility doctor near you. Best, Kim

I Have An Irregula Cycle.I Haven't Had A Cycle In 4 Years.M Obgyn JusT Started Me On Provera I Took It For Ten Days..My Cycle Came On Last Night Out Wad Black Or Dark Brown And Thick..But This Morning It Was Still Thick And Brownish With Steaks Of Red..I WantTo Have Another Baby ..BuT It Dose't Look Good Says My Gyn....Please help

Thanks for the information, in the case of inproper flow or very. Light flow, please what treatment is recommended?

Hi Hatty, Some women have heavier or lighter periods than others, but if it is causing your concern or you suspect improper flow, it is best to consult a fertility doctor. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email and we can help you connect with a fertility doctor in your area. Best, Kim

after getting dnc done i feel pain in right lower abdomen but scan does not show cysts. during periods blood flow is more than it used to be and there is black thick blood also. i got myself treated with antibiotics but even after its course periods showed black thick blood on 3rd day of my periods. can i try for baby with this condition?

Hi Mehwish, Black, thick blood is typically just old blood finally making its way out of your body. If you are really concerned, you should call your doctor or look into a second opinion. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email if you would like us to help you set up a consultation with a fertility doctor. Best, Kim

im 47 stoped my period 8 months ago get it on and off pease help.

'hi, i've been ttc with femara n my periods have been medium flow 1-2 days and spotty for a few days. could my lining be thin? how can i improve it? i have pcos and my doc doesn't do anything but give me pills. thanks n any help appreciated

Hi Jamie, If you are trying to conceive, you should not be taking birth control pills. You are better off consulting a fertility doctor who specializes in PCOS. Give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229) or email Best, Kim

I'm having my third period in two months which this kind I'd thing was "normal" while I had an IUD. But now I don't and haven't for a little over three months. My period is heavy and very liquified, with a lot of clots varying in size from a quarter to less... mostly smaller than a quarter and has a more pungent smell than normal. We are trying to get pregnant and wondering if that is cause for the issues.

Hi Lynn, You should definitely consult your OB-GYN as the frequency of bleeding and smell may be of concern. Good luck, Kim

Hey there. My husband and I have been ttc, this period it started about 4-5 days early, has been pretty light, it's about to end and its day 4. But I noticed there hasn't been too much clotting coming out. There has been done but they're really small. And it's also been a dark brown. It turned a dark red for one day and that was it, some occasions its been almost black It's this normal?

If you're TTC and have noticed changes in your cycle or have any concerns, you really should talk to your doctor. Everything might be fine, but changes in flow, etc. might warrant looking into. If you'd like help finding a doctor in your area, let us know -- 855-955-2229. Best, Claire

I had an Abortion in March and then another in May due to retained product (a large amount of tissue was stuck inside of me). This is my 4th period since then. They come on time (every 26-29 days) and my OPK tests are + around CD 10-13 so cycles seem back to normal... However, the periods do not last as long and seem more clotty/stringy. My flow used to last about 6 days... 1-3 days being heavy, day 4 medium and then tapers off for the next 2 days... blood would be bright/dark red and flowing like a river Now my flow is about 3 days... day 1 med clotty string dark, day 2 heavier med clotty string and then 3 starts to taper off and quickly ends Could this be normal and does it take the body some time to get back to normal? Or could there be a chance of some scarring in the uterus? Concerned!

I understand your concerns, and if I were you I would talk to my doctor to understand why there are some changes and to answer your questions. All the best, Claire

Hi, My period is normally alright but today I woke up and the was a little bit of stringy stuff and a few tiny clumps of blood. I'm 14 and I have never had sex. Is this normal??

If you are concerned about your period, you should talk to your doctor. Best, Claire

Rts I m in a great confusion now.. now its my 1 half year completion of my married life... I got pregnant in the month of october last year. after.5 - 6 weeks my gyno found that their is no heart beat of the baby so suggested to do my DNC . thats my first baby. and after that I found a great weight loss. I know thats mainly because my poor diet practice due to that emotional stress.. and my major problem is... after my dnc every month im getting periods that that starts with brown or dark brownish spot or even dark brown bleed for 1st day .. im very much worried about that... is there any problem. still I didnt pregnant again after my dnc. and im 23 years old. taking folic and iron pills regularr.

I'm so sorry for your loss. You should follow up with your gynecologist and let him or her know about your period since your D&C and your concerns. I wish you all the best, Claire.

I have uterine fibroids and specialist said no other hope but surgery ,please help me how to cure my fibroids without the surgery plllleeeaaasseee

Surgery may be the only option. If you would like to see a doctor for a second opinion, please call one of our Patient Care Advocates at 855-955-2229. Best, Claire

ive been having really weird periods about 3 times a month all with long stringy gooey clots. ive seen my obgyn several times and all they do is try to put me on birth control (which i dont believe in) i dont know what else to do...... please help.

If you are concerned, I would recommend a second opinion. Particularly if you are trying to get pregnant. Let me know if we can help you find a doctor. Best, Claire

Hi, i usually have a normal peiod 4 to 6 days always on time, though this time around it started with light redish blood and a brown watery period and has continued through my cycle and just concerned as to what it could be?

I can't give you medical advice, but if you are concerned I would recommend talking with your doctor- particularly if you are trying to get pregnant. Best, Claire

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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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


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