Periods might be inconvenient sometimes but they give important information about your overall health. How regular they are, the colour, amount and consistency of the blood, pain, PMS and breast tenderness all signal potential imbalances in your hormones. There might be important reasons why you’re on the pill or not having periods, but for most women, having regular ovulatory cycles is important for protecting your long term health. With acupuncture, herbal medicine, and diet and lifestyle changes, we can work towards rebalancing your cycles and restoring their natural rhythm.
Periods vs Pill Bleeds
Not all bleeds are the same. Periods happen 10-16 days after you’ve ovulated. The lining of your uterus is shed in response to changes in the levels of hormones in your blood. Pill bleeds are also known as withdrawal bleeds, as your body is withdrawing from the synthetic hormones. The lining of your uterus is shed in a similar way to a period, but it’s not giving you the health benefits of a regular cycle because you’re missing out on the main event – ovulation!
It’s all About Ovulation
Regular ovulation is a sign that all is well with our bodies. Many women start thinking about ovulation when planning to have a baby, but aside from the release of the egg, ovulation is also how we make progesterone. Progesterone is essential for maintaining the health of our bones and preventing osteoporosis. Natural progesterone plays an important role in breast health, and decreases some of the risk factors for heart disease in women.
We Don’t Need Pill Bleeds
If you’re on the pill or have an implant the synthetic hormones are blocking your natural cycles. Many women are put on the pill by their doctors to help suppress the painful or difficult side effects of their periods such as PMS or pain. But those same painful and difficult aspects are messages, telling you that something is wrong. The pill is a band-aid, stopping you from treating what’s underneath. If you are skipping periods to manage these symptoms and are ready to make changes, there are natural alternatives to addressing them, without the side effects and potential consequences of long term use of synthetic hormones.
Other Reasons Why You’re Not Bleeding
If you haven’t had a period in around 3 months you may have amenorrhoea. Amenorrhoea has a number of underlying causes, and is a sign that your hormonal axis is disrupted. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders, digestive problems and stress are common causes of irregular periods that can be improved with natural treatments. Without regular ovulation, you’re missing out on all the health benefits of natural progesterone, which can have long term consequences.
Periods are an opportunity to become more connected with your body, helping to identify underlying hormonal imbalances. In Chinese medicine, we use the information gathered from your period to understand the energetic dynamic of your body. If your cycles are heavy, light, painful or absent, the flow of Qi in your body is out of balance. Treatment with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and lifestyle support can help to return you to a natural state of balance.