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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.

Comments (101)

So I was on BC for a whole month and had two days of very light spotting.... That was 28 days ago. I am trying to get PG but I still haven't had a regular period yet. My Dr. Said after being on BC for the month I should be back to a normal period and would be able to hey PG. Since my last two kids 10 years ago it's been so hard to be able to get PG. I got PG last June but 5 weeks Into it I had a MC. ever since then we've been trying with no luck. So today we had sex and later after I peed and a small pinkish clump came out. Idk what this is? I've taking 2 PG test on the 10th both came out Neg. Tmrw I will be taking another when I wake up. Anyone have any answers for me? I'm pretty healthy no major health problems so idk why I can't get PG? :/

Hello Yvonne, I'm so sorry to hear that you've been struggling. How old are you? Has a diagnosis been made? Have you seen a fertility specialist before? If you would like a second opinion with a Reproductive Endocrinologist I am more than happy to help you find one in your area. Feel free to email me directly at Julie@fertilityauthority.com

I had a miscarriage just like 2 months ago and lately when I get my period I have severe cramps in my lower stomach and I dont get blood on my pad but like a drop or two but when i go to the RR I have thick stringy-blood with small clots I'm worried because the pain is getting worser as each day goes by, idk what to do please do you have any idea what it may be

Natalia,

If you are experiencing pain, you should go to your nearest ER and get check out. And if your concerned about your period after suffering a miscarriage you should consult with your Gynecologist as soon as possible.

Best of luck,
Jenna

I missed my period and having strange feeling in my utreus. Also having pulse in lower abdomen and in the walls of the vagina. Took a hpt on 36th day and turned to be negative. Could I be still pregnant??? My doc has prescribed meprate tablet should I take it or can I wait for another week???

Shoba, I'm sorry to hear that you're having concerns. If the pregnancy tests are negative and the doctor says you're not pregnant perhaps you should get a second opinion or have the doctor do some blood tests to be sure. Good luck and best wishes.

Thank you julieH. I just wanna know if taking meprate tablet affect the fetus if I am pregnant and also the cause for uterine pulsating

I have always had regular periods with clots and red to brown blood I had my son 8 months ago I'm breastfeeding and my period came back 2 months ago and was slightly more watery now this month it came and was so heavy a super tampon only lasted 30 - 45 min and I had to use a super pad as well the blood was the color of a fresh cut . Should I take a pregnancy test or is this a normal thing?

Hi Tera,

If you are concerned about your period and think you could be pregnant I highly recommend that you consult with your Gynecologist to discuss this.

Best of luck,
Jenna

I have done a test and my FSH was 24.5. I have not got my period for two and a half months, before that it was very regular, please let me know is it because of the high FSH level?

Hi Tina,

It is possible that the irregular period is linked to your FSH level. You should speak with your doctor to address your concerns.

Best,
Kim

My period has been usually normal red on the first till the end but since last two periods it is usually dark brown and sticky on the first day then after becomes normal red again and this time with little menstrual pain unlike before. Please is this normal? ??

Vivi, if you are concerned about your period and are experiencing pain during your period I highly recommend that you consult with your Gynecologist to discuss what could be causing these symptoms.

Hello, This past spring I had become sexually active with my boyfriend of a long time, we are in a distance relationship and the first time we had sex was the around April/may. I'm extremely active with working out at least two hours every day with intense work outs that also follow the usa of a sauna, swimming and hot tub. My and my boyfriend had protected sex with a condom this past week. It was pretty rough and I haven't been sexually active since the end of May so I took a break.also this past week I did not exercise because I was on vacation visiting him and ate not as healthy as I am use to. When I got back the next day from calfornia(I live in Michigan) I went to wor out my usually work out. But after swimming(end of my work out) I notice fresh red blood almost like when I start my period with a few clumps of fresh red blood here and there. It was normal coloring and smelling. So I put a tampon in because it was enough to make me underwear uncomfortable but it wasn't enough to soak through the whole tampon but about half of it. It's now been four days of doing this and there has been no pink or brown/black coloring in these for days. Since I work out so intensely, my period is very irregular. No symptoms of any pregnancy and no cramps. Wondering what this could be? My period if going off of when it started two months ago is suppose to be between the 5th and 16th of next month(august). That is if it comes according to last time. Also when I first got my period around 7th grade, it was around the end of each month too, like the 23-30 th was most of the time I would get it when I did. My boyfriend is also extremely active like me but probably does more than me. He plays hockey. Also I am a person who gets stressed out really easily. I am not on birth control. Help ? Could I be pregnent ?

Jen, 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. In the meantime you can purchase a home pregnancy test from your local pharmacy, such as CVS or Walgreens. If you don't have a doctor and need help finding one in your area, please email me at Jenna@FertilityAuthority.com and I would be happy to help. - Jenna

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,
Kim

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 Julie@fertilityauthority.com

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 Julie@fertilityauthority.com 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 carecoordinator@fertilityauthority.com for more information!

Best,
Kim

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 Jenna@fertilityauthority.com

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 Julie@fertilityauthority.com

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 week...is 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 Julie@fertilityauthority.com 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,
Bhavi

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!

Kim

I live in Australia will that number still work?

Yes, if you dial the appropriate country codes. You can also email me kim@fertilityauthority.com

Best,
Kim

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,
Kim

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

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