In this special we take a look at Naturopathic Doctor Lara Briden’s Period Repair Manual, which demystifies the goings of our female reproductive health and lifts the lid on how much we actually know about it. Details may sound icky and uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be. The more we begin to talk about a natural process that 50% of the population experience, hopefully monthly, the more we can understand our body and know when it’s not working as it should.
How Much Do You Know?
Lara likes to think of our monthly cycle as a report card, essentially, it’s a way for your body to tell you what’s going on inside. Getting your period isn’t as simple as your uterus shedding a lining once it is not fertilised. It also reflects a delicate dance of hormones that are firing at various times of the month to promote the “flow”.
We look at a handful of themes in Lara’s manual to help us detect what’s going on.
28 days seems to be imprinted in our minds as the optimal length of a cycle, but for adults Lara says it can be anywhere between 21 to 35 days. Day 1 begins on the first day of heavy bleeding, the spotting that can occur before a period is actually residual blood from your previous cycle.
While a bleed indicates unsuccessful fertilisation, mucus can also tell us a great deal about our cycle and where it’s at. When we are most fertile, cervical mucus will look and feel like raw egg white. Lara explains that the texture is designed to support sperm and essentially act as “sperm escalators”, securing the sperm within the uterus.
Mucus is quite normal, so rather than dismiss it, understand what it should look like at various stages to know where your cycle lies.
For example, Lara points out that if your follicular phase is long, which may occur due to stress, then your oestrogen levels will rise and fall. This may cause many instance of fertile mucus before you actually ovulate.
It could even be that you don’t have a period, which is called amenorrhea. This could be due to a variety of reasons, but Lara points out that stress could be one of them. Our reproductive hormones are fired from our hypothalamus in the brain, which is also where messages regarding stress are regulated. Stress may be physical, an illness, trauma or emotional which could cause a missed period or lack of. Lara explains that when your body detects a certain level of stress it decides that your body is not in a position to make a baby. While you may not be experiencing a famine, your hypothalamus doesn’t distinguish and acts autonomously. To help establish if this is the case you may want to see your local GP or Naturopath who can order tests to check your hormone levels.
Lara touches on so many aspects of our “flow”, which you can read more about with her repair manual*.
*This is a genuine recommendation and was not sponsored.