Connect The Color of Your Menses to Your Overall Health
Kayla Perry, M.S.
CLINICALLY REVIEWED BY : DR. SARAH ANZOLA
If you’ve ever gotten acupuncture, your practitioner has probably asked you a lot of questions regarding the specifics of your period. While this may seem different, the period can actually shed light on not only reproductive health, but also allow the acupuncturist to have a better understanding of general health. Your period is kind of like a report card.
Learn about YOUR cycle.
Cycle length should be between 28 to 35 days and the period should come regularly. Average bleeding should require a pad change about every four hours. Cramping and common PMS symptoms, such as breast tenderness, bloating, and mood changes are actually considered abnormal in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and can be indicative of disharmony or pathologies in the body. Periods should be at least mostly pain free.
Ideally, period blood should be a fresh, crimson red color. Due to the natural process of shedding the endometrium, small clots (about the size of a pea or smaller) are considered normal. However, period blood can fall within a wide spectrum of hues and consistensies, such as pink, reddish purple, thin, thick, and clotty.
The Period Report Card - Which color(s) is your menses?
Crimson Red: This is the ideal period color and the consistency would be similar to bleeding from anywhere else in your body - Thin and fluid. If this is your color, then this is a good sign that there is no blood stagnation and your body should be in overall good health.
Pink/Pale Red: Commonly accompanied by a watery consistency, this color of period blood is indicative of a deficiency.
Our Spleen and Stomach (the TCM digestive organs) are responsible for processing food and drink into the substances that the body needs, such as blood. When the digestion is weak, this can result in a deficiency of blood and the body lacks the resources to produce that crimson red color.
This type of pathological pattern is also commonly associated with fatigue (may worsen immediately before/during the period) and bloating.
Bright Red: Bright red blood paired with a thick consistency is usually indicative of too much heat within the body.
While this heat may be associated with factors such as poor diet, infections and other inflammatory processes can also result in thick, bright red blood. If you are experiencing other inflammatory signs and symptoms such as fever or pelvic pain, you should go see your OBGYN.
Bright red blood is often associated with a high basal body temperature and abnormal ovulation timing.
Dark Red: Dark red blood indicates some sort of stagnation due to Qi (energy) and/or blood not flowing properly.
This may be due to and reflected by a lower basal body temperature as cold causes the menstrual blood flow to congeal and stagnate. Another TCM pattern often associated with dark red blood is Liver Qi stagnation. One of the functions of the Liver is to maintain the free flow of Qi throughout the body, and factors such as stress can negatively affect the Liver. Qi stagnation leads to blood stagnation, causing the period blood to become darker in color.
Those with dark red blood may also be more prone to clots, cramps, breast tenderness, and irritability.
Dark Purplish Red: This color of blood is usually accompanied by stabbing cramps (may be severe), large clots, and a heavy flow.
Typically, this type of period is seen in cases of endometriosis, fibroids, and other abnormal conditions. In TCM, dark purplish blood is indicative of blood stasis, a pathological result of long-term blood stagnation.
If Your Menstrual Blood is Not The Ideal Color - How Can Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine Help?
Acupuncture and integrative medicine address the cycle and period in a holistic manner that brings the body back into balance. Acupuncture can be used to regulate the cycle, treat clots and PMS, and improve blood flow. By evaluating and treating the period, other phases of the menstrual cycle will also improve.
If you experience any of these symptoms, Acupuncture and Integrative medicine can provide relief and improve your overall health. Depending on the severity of your symptoms we may recommend a course of acupuncture treatment for 3-6 months or a nutritional evaluation to regulate your gut microbiome and hormones. Schedule with a doctor of Acupuncture for an evaluation to determine exactly what your menses color means and how Integrative medicine can help.