During the initial consultation, I often ask my female patients a number of questions about their menstrual cycle. How long is the cycle? Is it regular? How heavy is the flow? What color is the blood? Any blood clots? As a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner, these seemingly ordinary questions can be very helpful for me to understand a woman’s health condition and her unique body type, thus allowing me to customize an herbal remedy or select the most appropriate points to apply acupuncture and moxibustion. Check out the seven common body types based on different menstruation symptoms and see which one is yours.
Generally, your menstruation period will last longer than 7 days. The menstrual volume could be heavy or light. During the beginning of the cycle you may be spotting small amount of brownish period blood. When the flow gets heavier, the color of the blood becomes dark red. The texture of the menstruation is sticky, and sometimes blood clots occur. Because of poor blood circulation, menstrual pain is severe that you can hardly walk or get out of bed. To relieve the pain, you may have to take oral painkillers. Before menstruation, your belly will feel swollen and your lower abdomen will protrude. Constipation is more likely to occur during menstruation. This body type is prone to endometriosis or uterine fibroids so an examination is recommended as soon as possible.
Your cycle is frequently shorter than normal (28-30 days) or advanced by 7 days or more. The period lasts longer than normal menstruation period which is between 3-7 days. Because this body type has excessive heat, the flow is quite heavy and the color is crimson red with a thick texture. You may find yourself prone to acne, nose bleeding and constipation. Your urine color is on the yellowish side. Your mouth may be very dry which makes you feel thirsty all the time and generally prefer cold beverages. Your temperament is hot and impatient. You may have more unpleasant dreams and compromised sleep quality at night.
Your cycle is frequently longer than 30 days and delayed. Volume is light, the color is purple red and period blood sometimes comes with blood clots. Your limbs and lower abdomen always feel cold and you may be prone to diarrhea. The menstrual pain is very intense. The pain could be relieved when you put a hot pad on your belly or drink some hot ginger tea.
Your menstruation cycle is regular, either in advanced or delayed by 7 days or more. The flow is light and blood color is pale red, with a watery consistency. Your lower back always feel sore and it gets worse before or during menstruation. Some people of this type may develop tinnitus. In TCM, kidney system governs the reproduction function. This deficiency will cause symptoms of premature ovarian failure such as hot flashes, night sweats, facial redness, decreased sex desire, or vaginal dryness. If an ultrasound examination or laparoscopy is conducted, you may find reduced ovarian and uterine sizes, lack of mature follicles and no evidence of corpus luteum. This can increase the risk of infertility.
Your period may come early or late. The blood color is purple red. As the liver system is responsible for regulating the flow of qi and blood throughout the body and governs our emotions while pre-menstruation symptoms would appear or increase if liver qi stagnation happens. You may easily get agitated, suffer from anxiety, insomnia, eating disorders, burping, bloating and flatulence. You may also have constipation or diarrhea, breast tenderness or soreness before menstruation. Once the period begins all these symptoms will probably disappear.
You may experience irregular bleeding during the cycle. The volume and color of the blood can be very extreme, sometimes heavy and sometimes light, sometimes pinkish and sometimes brownish. Often you will see heavy discharge which is sticky like phlegm. Premenstrual water retention is likely to happen before the onset menstruation and you may feel tight and swollen especially on the lower part of your body. Sometimes your feet are so swollen that your shoes do not fit. You are prone to fatigue, colds or diarrhea.
The cycle is always late and sometimes goes beyond 40 days. The flow can be extremely heavy or extremely light. Usually the color is light red with diluted texture. You may look pale, your abdomen feels heavy, your stool is often loose, you feel particularly weak and fatigued after the period ends. You may feel light-headed or dizzy upon movement. You have problems with concentration and are very forgetful. Sometimes you have a rapid heartbeat and feel your heart fluttering.
The human body is very complicated. Your menstruation cycle may not be a hundred percent aligned with body types mentioned but can be a mixture of two to three types. The conditions may also change according to your lifestyle. These are just basic concepts of body types related to your menstruation patterns so as to help you better understand the signs that your body is telling you. Please follow me on social media and I will share some wellness tips for different body types very soon.