The color of your period blood says a lot about your health... here's what it indicates
It’s time to unravel what Aunt Flo and your hormonal health have to do with one another
Women always complain about periods when they come every month. Aunt Flo, as the process is comically known as, visits every month and it's a time of great displeasure for women. What can we learn about the health of our bodies though from our period?
Turns out, there's a lot. The American Heart Association did some new research and found out some interesting stuff.
They found that women whose periods start at age 10 or younger or if they are 17 or older have a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and health complications related to high blood pressure.
Women whose period starts when they are 13 have the least risk of the above-mentioned conditions. This does not mean that any of these problems will happen to you but it's a good reminder for you to keep a check on your body and its many functions.
The simplest way to check how your body is doing is by checking your blood. The content of this article is a little serious so we've put some funny illustrations to get you through it. Enjoy!
Your period blood comes in different colors and each is significant:
If your blood is pinkish then you may have low estrogen levels. Studies have found out that excessive exercise can lead to lower estrogen levels. This can lead to your period stopping altogether and it's not an uncommon thing for professional athletes to stop ovulating. This may seem too good to be true but low estrogen levels can lead to osteoporosis if left untreated.
You could probably have a nutritional deficiency. This leads to your flow being whiteish or diluted which can be a symptom of severe anemia, especially if you notice your period getting lighter and lighter when it would ordinarily get a bit heavier. If you have to wake up in the middle of the night to change your tampon or pad or if you feel regularly tired and foggy, you might need to consult a physician.
#4 Dark Brown
Don't panic! This is just your body getting rid of the older bits of uterine lining and blood. It's completely normal. Even ob-gynecs are baffled by why this happens sometimes. Each woman sheds her uterine lining at a different rate (like fingerprints, each period is unique), but for the most part, seeing some dark brown blood at the beginning of your period or toward the end of it is nothing to worry about.
#3 Thick red with large clots
This is indicative of low progesterone levels and high estrogen levels. Clots are fine but if they're larger than quarters then that means you have a hormonal imbalance. If you reduce your consumption of dairy, soy, and sugar then that should do the trick. Uterine fibroids are another possibility. They're most often benign, but they can be painful, so if you suspect they're behind your heavy, clot-filled periods, ask your doctor for an ultrasound.
#2 Mix of gray and red
You may actually have an infection or an STD/STI with this one. You'll also know because it'll smell terrible. Basically like something died. Women who have miscarriages often notice gray chunks so check with a doctor if you're expecting and then this happens.
#1 Bright red like cranberry
You have a healthy, regular period so you can stop freaking out! Everybody's "normal" will look different, but generally speaking, a consistently bright red flow that looks a little like cherry Kool-Aid is a signal that everything is working as it should.
Aside from checking your blood, there are other ways to tell if you're in good health.
There are other conditions that could tip you off about your health:
#6 Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Women who have PCOS suffer from a hormone imbalance. This leads to problems with their periods and their ability to get pregnant. It can also lead to excess facial hair, obesity, ovarian cysts, and other side effects. Hormonal birth control can help treat the syndrome.
If you have a super heavy flow, you may be anemic. Anemia is a condition in which your blood lacks red blood cells or hemoglobin (red blood cells are made of these). When this happens, your body doesn't absorb enough oxygen, making you sluggish and giving you other unpleasant symptoms, such as headaches and dizziness. Since this can also cause an iron deficiency, your doctor may recommend supplements.
#4 Uterine cancer
Irregular bleeding, bleeding after menopause, and bleeding in between menses are some of the earliest noticeable signs of uterine cancer. Experiencing pain during sex can also be a tip-off. Of course, these can be signs of other, less serious conditions but it's worth checking with a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.
#3 Thyroid imbalance
Your thyroid plays such a large role in hormone production and regulation and hormones are front and center of any woman's period. Noticeable changes to your period could be an indication of thyroid issues. Thyroid tests can tell you if you have any problems and if this is the one that is affecting your flow.
#2 Pituitary Tumor
If you miss a period, it could be pregnancy (Duh!). If there is milky breast discharge, it might mean that you have a pituitary tumor (a benign or cancerous mass on your pituitary gland). It sounds disgusting but it could be a major problem if left untreated. Headaches are also a possible symptom. These are most often found in older adults (please don't self-diagnose), but they can occur at any age.
#1 An eating disorder
Eat right or else your flow will get affected. Eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia become more common when you don't eat properly. If this is behind your period changes, then you know you have an eating problem. If you haven't come to terms with it yet, hopefully, this will help you help yourself by seeking help from a professional.
Hopefully, this article helped you identify some signs, in case you have any. Please refer to the links below if you need any more info.
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