Groove

Day 6: Knowing What's Normal (And What Isn't)

Welcome to Day 6 of The Science of Your Cycle, Groove’s amazing (and 100 percent FREE) 7-day mini-course that will teach you everything you need to know about how your body (and your period) works. We’ve finally gotten to the good stuff: how you can BENEFIT from understanding how your body works. Trying to figure out whether your menstrual cycle and your periods are “normal” can be tricky. Are cramps just a normal part of having periods? How often should your period come? Is PMS healthy? Is digestive health linked to your periods? What can your periods tell you about the health of your body? Each of these questions (along with MANY others) will be addressed in today’s video, giving you the education you need to spot potential health problems in your own body.

Resources

  1. Download Groove to start tracking and benefiting from your menstrual cycle data.

  2. Learn the rules that MUST be followed to prevent pregnancy using your menstrual cycle data.

  3. Download today's slides.

  4. Sign up for The SCIENCE of Your Cycle

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Video Transcript

00:00 - Welcome back, lovelies! Welcome to Day 6 of The SCIENCE of Your Cycle. Today, we’re going to be talking about how you know what’s normal when it comes to your menstrual cycle and what’s not. Today’s goals: learn what’s normal and what isn’t when it comes to your menstrual cycle; understand what symptoms are likely the result of a deeper problem that needs addressing; and, finally, understand what your menstrual cycle data means about your health — things like temperature, cervical fluid, flow, pain, mood, cycle regularity or irregularity. You’re going to learn how each of these things can tell you about the state of your health.

00:47 - Here’s a quick Day 5 recap: cycle tracking tells you when you ovulate, it tells you when your next period will start, it lets you know when you’re fertile and when you’re not, as long as you follow certain rules it’s an effective form of birth control, and it can help you uncover health problems.

01:17 - Before we get started, I want you to understand that the body is a system of systems. What that means is that every system in your body is deeply interconnected and when one system in your body isn’t healthy, problems will likely arise in other systems of your body. Here’s a list of what we’re going to be talking about today — these are the things that we’re going to be covering the normal and abnormal signs of. Cycle length and regularity, menstrual flow, pain, cervical fluid, body temperature, digestion, skin, and then energy and sex drive.

02:07 - We’re going to start off with cycle length and regularity. What’s normal when it comes to cycle regularity? A normal and healthy menstrual cycle will range anywhere from 21 to 34 days long — your menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period and end the day before your next period. It’s normal and healthy for your menstrual cycle length to vary by up to 7 days. This means some of your cycles could be 25 days long, others could be 32 days long, or they could be anywhere in between, and your cycles would still be considered normal and healthy. What’s not normal? If your cycles are consistently less than 21 days long or consistently more than 34 days long then that is not normal. Menstrual cycles that varies wildly in length — meaning some of your cycles may be 60 days, some might be 35 days, some might be more than 90 days, and it could be anywhere in between and beyond. Those things are signs of an unhealthy cycle.

03:23 - Menstrual flow: it’s normal and healthy to have a bright red flow that is free from clots, chunks lumps, etc. And it’s normal and healthy to have a period that lasts between 4 and 7 days (ideally, we want around 5 days, but anywhere from 4 to 7 days is considered normal and healthy). Things that are not normal? Brown, black, or red spotting in the days before you start your period — it’s very common, and it’s often thought to be normal, but it is actually a sign of an unhealthy period. It’s not normal to have very dark red, brown, black, or light pink menstrual flow. It’s also not normal to have a flow that is chunky, lumpy, or heavily clotted. And, additionally, it is not healthy to have such a heavy amount of bleeding that you soak through a highly absorbent pad or tampon in less than 2 hours. So if you’re needing to change a super or super plus tampon more frequently than every 2 hours, that’s probably a sign that your bleeding is a little too heavy. Finally, if your period lasts in less than 4 days or more than 7 days long, that’s also a sign of a potential period problem.

04:56 - Number 3: pain. Regardless of what we’ve all been taught, your periods should be pain-free. If you do have any period pain, it should be so minor that it does not interfere with any of your daily activities. I know that that’s very contrary to what many of us have been taught, but I can’t stress that enough — anything outside of that is very likely an indication that you have an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. What’s not normal and healthy is pain that requires taking a sick day from work or missing school, pain that makes you vomit or feel nauseous, pain that requires the use of NSAIDs (or pain medications), and pain that interferes with your life in any way.

05:42 - Cervical fluid: it’s normal and healthy to have fluid that progressively changes from thick and tacky to slippery and lubricative. It’s normal and healthy to have fluid that is white or yellow or clear in color, or even a combination. So it could be white and clear, it could be clear with a little bit of yellow mixed in — any of those things are normal. You might also have fluid that is tinged pink or brown around the time of ovulation. That’s commonly ovulatory spotting, which not everybody experiences, but if you do, that’s totally normal. Things are not normal? If you have more than a week straight of slippery cervical fluid, that’s an indication that there’s an underlying problem. If you have no slippery cervical fluid at all throughout your cycle, that’s also an indication that there’s a problem. Fluid that does not dry up after ovulation usually signals an issue. And, lastly, any sudden changes in your cervical fluid pattern is probably a signal that something’s not quite right.

06:53 - Body temperature: it’s normal and healthy to have 12 to 16 days of elevated temperatures after you ovulate, which means that your luteal phase is 12 - 16 days long. So ovulating anywhere from 10 to 20 days after your period starts is also normal. And, finally, body temperatures that are above 97.0 degrees Fahrenheit before ovulation are considered normal and healthy. What’s not normal when it comes to body temperature? 10 or less days of elevated temperature after ovulation. So if your luteal phase is 10 or fewer days long, then that’s usually a signal of an issue. If you ovulate less than 10 days or more than 20 days after your period starts, that signals an issue, and if your body temperatures are regularly below 97.0 degrees Fahrenheit before you ovulate, that usually signals a problem, as well.

08:03 - What’s normal and healthy when it comes to mood? This one is pretty basic: it’s normal and healthy to feel emotionally balanced throughout your cycle. That doesn’t mean that you are happy all the time or that you’re smiling all the time — obviously, you’re going to have your ups and downs. But for the most part, you should feel relatively balanced. It’s not normal to have PMS or mood swings that interfere with your daily activities. Or if you have premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), cyclical anxiety, or depression, these often signal an issue. Feeling weepy for absolutely no reason, or for something that seems really minor — or if you feel completely out of control of your emotions — that can signal a problem. I have experience with many of these on the abnormal scale, and luckily I don’t have to struggle with those anymore.

08:59 - Next up: digestion. We’re going to get into the poo talk here, so just FYI. It’s healthy to poop everyday at least once a day during your cycle. You should also have no intestinal sensitivity or discomfort. What’s not normal? To have diarrhea during your period or during any other day of your cycle. It’s not normal to be constipated at any point — you should never feel like your bowels are not fully empty after use the bathroom. Every time you use the bathroom, you should feel like your bowels are fully empty, and if that’s not the case, then that’s probably a sign of an issue. Lastly, it’s not normal to have gas, bloating, or other intestinal discomfort. I read something quite a number of years ago that the average person farts somewhere around 30 time a day, and at the time I thought the way people are. But it’s actually not the case. Excessive gas, or really any gas, is actually a sign that something is not quite right.

10:18 - Next up is skin. It’s normal and healthy to have clear skin, but it’s not normal to have dry, itchy, or flaky skin, to have rashes, to have acne. Now, the occasional pimple or bump is fine, but having severe acne is not normal. Any sort of skin redness or even psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea are abnormal.

10:43 - Next up, and last up: energy and sex drive. For many of us, this is one of the big concerns. It’s normal and healthy to have stable energy levels throughout the day and throughout the month. It’s normal and healthy to have a consistent sex drive — it doesn’t really need to be super high, but it’s normal for it to be there. Obviously, that’s going to fluctuate from day to day, but overall it should be relatively consistent. It’s also healthy to have a high sex drive during certain parts of your cycle, especially around ovulation. What’s not normal? To constantly feel fatigued or to have a lack of energy. If you wake up feeling unrested, that’s a sign of an issue. If you have a low or a basically non-existent sex drive, that’s definitely a sign of a problem. And you shouldn’t have brain fog — if you’re having trouble concentrating, if you have brain fog, or if your head feels fuzzy and you’re having difficulty paying attention to things, that’s also not a normal symptom.

11:52 - If you struggle with any of these, please don’t freak out! I’ve been there. I struggled with many, many of these issues (honestly, it was probably most of those issues) for years before I finally learned that they were intimately tied to my horribly painful periods. You don’t deserve to feel like this: “Everything hurts, and I’m dying.” I felt that way for many a month for a very long time, and you don’t deserve to feel that way.

12:32 - Tomorrow, we’re going to take all of the information that we learned today and discuss the real cause of all of those abnormal symptoms that we just talked about and all of the abnormal symptoms that you might be experiencing. Then we’re also going to discuss things that you can start doing right now — so things you can start doing in your life immediately — to start improving your symptoms, to start eliminating your period problems, and to start feeling balanced and healthy and stable. I can’t stress enough to you how transformative the information tomorrow might be for you. It completely changed my life, and I am truly hoping it will do the same for you.

13:17 - Before you go, this is how I feel right. Because I can’t even put into words how excited I am to teach you how to apply this information to feel like freaking amazing. I’m super excited for that, and I can’t wait! I will see you tomorrow for the 7th and final day of The SCIENCE of Your Cycle. See you then!