This is the point in the intake when most people get squeamish and acupuncturists start looking like vampires. Tell me about the blood. Truth be told you can’t tell us enough about the menstrual blood.
Color: Bright red, fresh red, brick red, purple red, brownish, blackish, pinkish, purplish, red fading to brown. We want to know. Healthy blood should be fresh red, quite red, though as the cycle draws to a close it may become more brownish. Purplish blood is suggestive of cold or stasis in the uterus and very often goes hand in hand with pain. Same thing for blackish blood, which is blood that has been stuck in the uterus for a while. Watery pinkish blood is a suggestion of blood deficiency. It usually doesn’t have any abdominal pain associated with it but fatigue, low backache, or dizziness. Brownish blood is tough to diagnose it could be caused by a number of factors. Mostly it means things are a little dirty and sticky in the uterus and it needs cleansing.
Clotting: In school we were trained to use money, half dollar, quarter, nickel, dime. Exactly how big are the clots. The bigger they are the worse it is. Quarter size or larger clots are suggestive of either heat thickening the blood so it can’t flow smoothly or of cold congealing the blood so it doesn’t flow at all and it gets stuck in there. Clots can also be indicative of fibroids or cysts if they are accompanied with pain and irregular periods. A healthy flow doesn’t have anything other than fresh bright red blood.
Viscosity: Yes, we will occasionally ask how thick it is. Super thick blood (think honey or molasses) means heat is drying the blood up. Usually this also involves very heavy periods and sometimes the period coming early because the heat is so intense the body starts to bleed. Thin blood that looks watery is mostly water as the body doesn’t have enough blood. Normal blood flows like blood. It is thicker than water, but not syrupy.
Flow: Do you spot for a couple of days? Do you immediately gush? How often do you change a pad or tampon on the first day? The second? The third? The fourth? And so on. Normal is difficult to say here, but I’ll tell you what is too heavy and what is too light. A woman shouldn’t bleed through a tampon in less than an hour, numerous times during the first and second day. That is too heavy. A woman shouldn’t change a tampon every two hours through the fifth or sixth day. That is still too heavy. However if a woman is only changing a tampon four times a day on the first two days she doesn’t have enough blood. If the period includes spotting on the second or third day the woman doesn’t have enough blood. The first three days of bleeding should be consistent and more then spotting. The fourth or fifth may be light enough to go with just a liner or change a pad twice a day. That would be healthy.
Signs Your Cycle Needs Strengthening Or Cleansing
- Big, numerous clots
- Six or seven days of heavy flow
- 14-day periods
- Spotting lightly past day 7
- One or two day periods
- Hour long periods
- Purple or black blood
- Flow that stops for a day or two and then begins again
One of the strengths of Chinese Medicine is defining normal. I love that. Normal isn’t really relative to all women. Just because a woman can handle it for three or thirty years doesn’t mean she should have a 9 day period. It isn’t healthy. Just because it is convenient doesn’t mean that a woman should have a 2-day period. Both are indicative of other issues in the body. Again, the menstrual cycle reveals other health issues in the body, not just the health of the reproductive organs.
Other posts in this series.
Week Three: Duration and Frequency
Week Six: Female Intuition During the Cycle
Image credit: yupiramos / 123RF Stock Photo
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