Have you ever wondered whether your period is normal? Is it hard to
know, when you spot, or skip a period, or bleed unusually heavily if you're
okay or there's something really wrong with you? I see women on a daily basis
who want reassurance about their menstrual flows. Let's face it. Most of us
started our periods pretty much in the dark and are still trying to make up for
our former ignorance. We may have had a basic health education class in the
sixth grade, but who remembers it?
What is a normal period? If you consult a gynecologic textbook,
you'll learn that menstruation is bleeding and shedding of the endometrium of
the uterus that occurs at approximately monthly intervals from menarche to menopause. You will read that
the menarche, or onset of menopause, usually occurs between 11 and 14
years of age, and menopause generally
between age 45 and 55. The book may say that ovulation occurs on day 14
or 15 of the menstrual cycle (I ovulate on day 11). You will then read that any
uterine bleeding which differs markedly from a normal flow, either in
frequency, duration, amount, or discomfort is abnormal. But where, precisely,
do you draw the line between what is a healthy period and what is not?
The point that I wish to make here is that there is a wide range of normal
in the menstrual flow. When I studied ayurvedic medicine a few years ago with
Dr. Vasant Ladd, he always asked us, "What is normal for whom ?
Ayurvedic medicine body types each individual and their range of normal depends
on their specific constitution. Each woman has her own range of normalcy. In
some cases, even when a woman is in her optimal state of well-being, she
menstruates every 26 or 30 days. Some women ovulate twice a month. I use
homeopathy most often with my patients to treat the problems on menstruation.
After being given the correct homeopathic remedy, a woman's cycle will
normalize to the greatest degree possible for her. After such therapy,
I often see a woman's period changing, for example, from every five or six
weeks to every four or four and a half weeks. A woman's period may last seven
to ten days when she comes to see me and, with treatment, will usually reduce
to five to seven. If a woman comes in complaining of spotting before or between
the menstrual periods, this will generally disappear, or at least diminish
considerably, when she is in a state of balance.
How much should my period hurt? The medical term for the pain or
discomfort of the menstrual period is "dysmenorrhea". I consider a slight
amount of cramping or discomfort within the range of normal for a woman.
However, many of the woman I see experience extreme pain with the periods, some
to the point of being incapacitated for a day or two. This pain may be mild or
severe, constant or intermittent, dull or sharp, and may be accompanied by a
wide variety of symptoms including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, back pain,
weakness, confusion, and despair. Many women suffer from severe dysmenorrhea
from the time of menarche and may have tried a variety of over the counter and
prescription medications in order to find relief.
In my experience, the correct homeopathic remedy is likely to put an end
to dysmenorrhea, or at least hold it at bay in a very mild state. In many
cases, diagnostic procedures will reveal no significant cause for the pain. In
other women, however, the diagnosis will be endometriosis.