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Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle

understanding your menstrual cycle

Understanding Your Menstrual Cycle

Understanding your menstrual cycle should not be a topic of embarrassment. It is a perfectly natural womanly function. What’s more, is that it should be fully understood. 

Many a woman will go through her life without giving her menstrual cycle more of a second thought. Have you ever been into a doctor’s office and been asked the question, “what is the first day of your last period”? If so, did you know the answer? 

You would not be alone if your answer was ‘no’. For it is only when a problem presents itself that a woman will really start to take notice of her menstrual cycle. Sadly, this problem usually comes about when a woman is trying to get pregnant and has difficulties.  

How Long Should My Cycle Last?

Between 24 days to 35 days is a normal guide to a healthy menstrual cycle. Too short a cycle or too long a cycle, and you could be experiencing a hormonal imbalance or significant health issue. 

One condition associated with a cycle being too long is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS as it is known for short. 

Cycles that are too short could be associated with health conditions such as thyroid disfunction. 

In addition, low weight, excessive exercising, eating disorders, and stress may also impact the duration and frequency of your menstrual periods.

How Many Days Should A Healthy Period Last?

A healthy period should last a minimum of 2 days and a maximum of 7 days. 

Too short a period and this could suggest a hormone imbalance, such as low progesterone levels or hypothyroidism. If blood tests come back as being fine, then are you possibly living too much of a sedentary lifestyle? Those who sit all day at a computer will have impeded blood flow. Try high energy exercise 2-3 times a week for a couple of months and see if you notice any improvements to your menstrual flow.

A period lasting for more than 7 days and is generally accompanied by heavy bleeding could indicate conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis or in some cases cancer affecting the uterus. 

A lady suffering with periods that are too short or too long should consult her GP, gynaecologist or other relevant healthcare professional as soon as possible. The first steps will most likely include an ultrasound scan either vaginally or externally going over the stomach and pelvis. Bear in mind that really an internal scan is much better as it will give a much clearer picture (literally).

Blood tests may also be taken to check hormone levels, iron levels and to check the thyroid. The next step from there may include a CT or MRI scan. 

Whilst seeing a health care professional may be a daunting prospect, it is a necessary one. Failure to do so can lead to immense pain and even in some cases infertility.

What Colour Should My Period Be?

A healthy menstrual bleed should be a cherry red colour.

If your period blood is brown, this suggests old blood from a previous period. 

How Much Should I Bleed When On My Period?

A woman should bleed a minimum of 25ml during the entire course of her period. 

This usually means filling 2 medium flow period pads. However the best way to measure period flow is to invest in a menstrual cup. The menstrual cup will usually have a line on it to indicate 25ml, however you could always use a measuring jug. 

How To Use A Menstrual Cup

Using a menstrual cup is one of the best tools for understanding your menstrual cycle. You can quite literally analyse every aspect of your period health. 

Menstrual cups can take a bit of getting used to, however you need only do it for a cycle or two to measure your overall period health. 

Each cup will come with instructions for how to insert. It’s quite easy, you simply fold the cup in half so the two sides are pressed together. You then fold in half again. You’re now ready to push the cup into your vagina opening. Try to push all the way, so the cup sits nicely in your cervix. 

To remove the cup, use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the cup together whilst inside you. Then gently twist and pull the cup out carefully. 

Knowing which type of menstrual cup is right for you can be daunting at first. They usually cost around £15-£20, so not too cheap. Buying an organic silicone menstrual cup is best for internal use, as plastics can leach nasty chemicals leading to much unnecessary hormone disruption. 

How Can I Naturally Reduce Period Pain?

The absolute best way to help reduce period pain naturally is to take magnesium glycinate. 

Magnesium acts as a natural muscle relaxant and is brilliant for helping with period pains. 

You can take magnesium as a supplement or find it through food sources such as dark chocolate and through cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli.

Using massage therapy to help with period pains

One natural way to alleviate menstrual cramps is through massage therapy.

  1. Increases blood flow

Massage therapy increases blood flow and circulation to the affected area, which can help to reduce pain and discomfort. By massaging the abdominal area, you can increase blood flow to the uterus, which can help to relieve menstrual cramps.

  1. Releases endorphins

Massage also helps to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help to alleviate period pain. Endorphins are chemicals that are produced by the body in response to pain or stress and can provide a natural form of pain relief.

  1. Reduces muscle tension

Massage can also help to reduce muscle tension, which is a common cause of menstrual cramps. By releasing tension in the muscles around the uterus, massage can help to relieve menstrual cramps and reduce pain.

Tips for Self-Massage

If you want to try self-massage to alleviate period pain, here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Lie down on your back and place a pillow under your knees to support your lower back.

  2. Use a warm compress or heating pad to relax your muscles and increase blood flow.

  3. Apply gentle pressure to your lower abdomen using circular motions. Start at the center of your abdomen and work your way outwards.

  4. Use your fingertips to massage your lower back and hips, as tension in these areas can also contribute to period pain.

  5. Take slow, deep breaths to help relax your body and release tension.

Understanding your menstrual cycle

In conclusion, understanding your menstrual cycle is essential for every woman. By tracking your menstrual cycle, you can predict when your period will start, identify any irregularities or changes, and be more in tune with your body’s natural rhythms.

The menstrual cycle is a complex process that involves the interplay of hormones, the uterus, and the ovaries. It typically lasts around 28 days but can vary from person to person.  As mentioned before, providing your cycle is between 24 days to  35 days, you’re pretty healthy. The cycle is divided into three phases: the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.

During the follicular phase, follicles in the ovary mature and prepare for ovulation. Ovulation occurs when the mature follicle releases an egg, which travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus. If the egg is fertilized by sperm, it may implant in the uterus and result in pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized, it will be shed along with the uterine lining during menstruation.

The luteal phase occurs after ovulation and prepares the uterus for potential pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the uterine lining is shed during menstruation, and the cycle begins again.

Understanding your menstrual cycle can help you plan for pregnancy, identify any changes or irregularities, and manage any menstrual symptoms or discomfort. If you have any concerns about your menstrual cycle or experience severe pain or discomfort, be sure to speak with your healthcare provider.

How to improve your health naturally

health and wellbeing, women looking out into the distance, beautiful sunset

When it comes to your health, this should be the number one priority. So many unnecessary illnesses, diseases and conditions come about as a result of not looking after your health. This includes looking after your body as well as your mindset. You can have a healthy body but if your mindset is off, then that’s also quite probably a recipe for disaster. 

Thankfully though, you’re reading this article and that’s a great sign that you’re already on the right track. Here is your starter guide to improve your health naturally.


First thing’s first. You need to be drinking enough water or indeed fluid per day. No you don’t get points for drinking 10 pints of lager! And no the wine, gin and tonic or indeed any other alcoholic beverage also does not count here.

So what does count? 

You can drink water, squash, juice and hot drinks such as herbal teas. All of these count as healthy fluids. 

Avoid caffeine if possible. This includes coffee, tea and herbal teas that include caffeine. Together with soda drinks such as coca-cola. 

It’s also best to avoid all other fizzy drinks that contain either sugar or sweeteners. 

So if you want to improve your health naturally and quickly, the first step is to drink plenty of water ideally. Although other liquids (not all) can also help. 

drinking water

Sugar is the enemy

Sugar is quite literally the route of all evil. Whether brown or white sugar, both are bad for you. Indeed so is chocolate, sweets and sugary drinks. 

Carbs too convert to sugar once consumed, so it’s best to focus on complex carbs such as brown rice,  quinoa, berries and vegetables. 

Note that much fruit contains ample amounts of sugar, so if you eat 10 apples in a day that’s not going to be healthy for you. Bananas also contain a lot of sugar, as do grapes. You can of course enjoy a few grapes or an apple or banana per day or every other day. However, you really want to focus on fruit such as blueberries, raspberries or strawberries which are lower on the sugar index. 

Sugar also makes your body act like a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Eat some sugary breakfast cereal such as Cheerios in the morning and your sugar levels will spike. They will then drop again as the day goes on and you’ll feel a dip in energy levels. Have a sandwich, a sugary cake and soda drink for lunch and whoosh your insulin levels will spike again. Followed by a crash in the afternoon. These energy highs and lows cause havoc on your body and also raise cortisol levels, (cortisol being the stress hormone). 

Instead the perfect diet would include complex carbs for breakfast such as porridge with berries. Alternatively, you could enjoy more protein such as eggs and bacon with baked beans on the side, together with a healthy fat such as avocado. A breakfast such as this will balance your energy levels so you don’t have spikes of energy, followed by energy crashes. It will also keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

Avoid Sweeteners

Sweeteners whether natural or artificial are usually found in sugar-free drinks and foods such as 0 calorie jelly, sweets or ice lollies. Quite simply, they are equally as bad, if not worse as sugar. 

These types of foods are known to be huge contributing factors to a wide variety of health issues, including weight gain, bladder issues and tooth decay, to name only a few.

The reason for this is because sweeteners stimulate your taste buds and send signals to the brain that affect your hormones, which then slows your metabolism. All of this means you soon feel hungry again and want more food. 

Eat Your Veggies

The absolute best way to improve your health naturally is to eat vegetables. Any type of vegetable consumption will suffice, whether you prefer more salad based veg or winter based veg. 

You can get so creative with vegetables too! Ever had red cabbage with apple chunks and apple cider vinegar? It’s delicious. Try melting cheese over your broccoli or cauliflower and adding a few ground nuts for some added flavour. 

There are so many recipes online so get creative. 

Vegetables are quite simply the best foods on the planet. They are packed full of vitamins and minerals, which aid in combating cell damage and oxidative stress. 

If you want to go one step further, be sure to check out the clean fifteen and dirty dozen. These are foods that are broken down into two categories. The dirty dozen are foods that are most likely to absorb chemicals and pesticides throughout the farming process. You would want to perhaps eat organic versions of these foods, which include cucumber, celery, bell peppers and lettuce. The clean fifteen are foods that are less likely to be affected by pesticides and other nasties as they’re usually foods with skins on or protected by large leaves such as avocado, broccoli and cauliflower. 

For an up to date list of the clean 15 and dirty dozen, visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website here. 

Get Moving 

You don’t have to get slogging on the cross trainer at the gym (unless you enjoy that)… 

Just a simple walk once a day is a great way to get started. If you haven’t exercised for a while then start with a 15 minute walk and build it up. 

If you lead more of an active lifestyle, then going for a run or swim a few times a week is a brilliant way to get some cardio into your routine. 

Exercise is great for the body, both mentally and physically. For a start it releases endorphins (happy hormones), that could actually be better than having sex! Yes, I did actually say that… 

It can also be a great social thing. A dance class, running or swimming club can be a great way to meet people, make friends and enjoy the social side of things without realising you’re actually exercising and doing amazing work for your body as well! 

It goes without saying although the amount of people who forget to do this is huge… however stretch before and after exercise. This will limit the risk of any injuries. Quite often it’s the people who do not stretch before and after exercise who are visiting me for their Deep Tissue Massages

Also don’t eat for an hour before doing any form of exercise as it will make you feel quite uncomfortable and you won’t digest your food properly. 

ladies exercise class

Vitamins and Minerals 

Stocking up on vitamins and minerals should be an essential part of your lifestyle and a key component to help you improve your health naturally. 

Whilst you will need to supplement in some cases, you simply cannot out-supplement a crappy diet. If you’re diet is rubbish and you’re eating McDonalds every day, then no amount of vitamin and mineral supplementation is going to do any wonders for your body. A supplement should be in addition to a relatively healthy diet. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is quite hard to get from the sun, especially if you live north of the equator in places such as the UK, Canada, Scandinavia and so on. Instead you will most definitely find it beneficial to supplement in order to get the required daily amounts. It’s best to take vitamin D3 with K2. Think of the K2 as a signpost, it literally directs calcium that is transported by the vitamin D to ensure it’s absorbed by the bones, where it’s needed. If vitamin D is taken without K2 then it floods the bloodstream and doesn’t quite go to the right places in the body. 

You can get vitamin D3 with K2 in many different forms such as tablets and capsules. However, I personally prefer a vitamin D3 with K2 mouth spray, such as the Better You Daily Oral Spray.


Magnesium is a mineral and whilst you can take it in supplement form, it’s best to absorb it through your diet. Foods high in magnesium include pumpkin seeds, almonds, boiled spinach, cashew nuts and dark chocolate with a high per cent of cocoa, ideally over 80%. 


Iron is another mineral which is essential for helping to improve your health naturally, as it’s needed for growth and development. The body uses iron to help make red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs to every part of the body. Iron also makes myoglobin, a protein which provides oxygen to the muscles. Foods high in iron include red meat, sea food and dark green leafy vegetables. 


Quite simply the wonder mineral. Selenium is so essential to your health and overall wellbeing. For one it’s a really powerful antioxidant that helps to repair and protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. 

You’re probably thinking to yourself, what on earth are free radicals? Simply put, they are unstable atoms that damage cells in the body. You get free radicals from things such as smoking or passive smoking, environmental stressors such as pollution. As well as hygiene products such as deodorant can sprays and shower gels etc with horrible nasty chemicals in them. 

Selenium however helps your body to combat these horrid stressors. Foods that are high in the mineral selenium include oysters, brazil nuts, eggs and sunflower seeds. 

Vitamin C 

This fantastic vitamin helps to protect cells and is great for maintaining healthy skin, bones, blood vessels and cartilage. It’s also needed for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body. 

Foods high in vitamin C include sweet yellow bell peppers, strawberries, Brussel sprouts, kiwis, lemons and papayas. 

Vitamin E

The scavenger vitamin, quite simply because it seeks out loose electrons or free radicals as they’re also known, which damage cells in the body. Vitamin E comes in and fights those free radicals by providing ample antioxidants. This mighty vitamin also improves immune function protecting the body against viruses and it also cleverly helps stop clots from forming in the arteries. 

You can find vitamin E in foods such as sunflower seeds, olives, red bell peppers, mango and avocado. 

red meat

Your Full Guide To Improve Your Health Naturally

So if you’ve reached the end of this blog post, well done. You’re now geared up with all of the tools necessary to begin your journey on how to improve your health naturally. 

The best bit is that you will start to see or feel the results really quickly. Your energy levels should start to improve. You’re endorphins will create happy hormones meaning you’ll feel happier with life in general. You’ll also start to see improvements to your skin, as you glow more, the bags under your eyes start to disappear and you start sleeping better. 

Benefits of a Swedish Massage

swedish massage

Swedish Massage treatments can be incredibly relaxing. They help to promote blood flow in the body, which in turn helps to relieve tension. An increase in blood flow can also help with the travel of oxygen to vital organs in the body. The biggest organ of course being the skin.

Swedish Massage Helps Protect Against Free Radicals

The skin can become dehydrated and as a result become dry and flaky. Massage mediums such as grapeseed oil contain high amounts of vitamin E, which has very high antioxidant properties. These antioxidants are beneficial for helping the body to fight free radicals.

You may be wondering to yourself, what are free radicals? They are quite simply cells and atoms in the body, that can lead to damage. These free radicals are what ages your body and are also what contributes to you becoming unwell.

Some serious health conditions can be the consequence of an influx of free radicals in the body. These health conditions can include but are not limited to the likes of Parkinson’s, Dementia, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as cancer, fertility problems, plus many more. 

You may be wondering what causes free radicals. There are many contributing factors such as stress both mentally and physically, as well as poor diet and environmental toxins.

Once of the ways to help eradicate free radicals in the body is by eating a diet high in antioxidants. These antioxidants come from mostly fruit & vegetables, so up your intake of these foods. 

Another way to combat free radicals is by reducing your cortisol levels. Contributors of high cortisol levels are stress related. Therefore reducing stress will help to lower cortisol levels in the body and as such will help lower the number of free radicals destroying your body.

A Swedish Massage is known to promote an incredible feeling of tranquility and peacefulness. Therefore regular therapy treatments, such as Swedish Massage will help to reduce stress and lower cortisol. 

Massaging With Grapeseed Oil 

When enjoying a Swedish Massage, the therapist will most likely be using a massage medium, such as grapeseed oil. As a result, you will be receiving a very high does of vitamin E, which your amazing organ (the skin) will absorb and will thank you for considerably.

If you suffer with dry skin, you may wish to invest in a good quality grapeseed oil and massage it into your skin on a daily basis. Grapeseed oil is used by many therapists, as it is the least likely massage medium to cause issues such as allergic reactions.

Being one of the safest and most natural massage oils means you benefit from a chemical free remedy that is unlikely to cause any form of discomfort. The only issue is that grapeseed oil can take a while for the skin to fully absorb and as well it can stain clothing. It is best to massage your skin and sit in an old towel or robe for a short while. 

Swedish Massage & The Mind 

A Swedish Massage will help to calm the mind. It promotes a huge sense of well-being and deep relaxation. This is one of the main reasons why Swedish Massage is so popular. 

The slow, smooth movements help to create a soothing sensation. It is not uncommon for a client to fall asleep during a Swedish Massage, as the slow movements are methodical, helping the client to breathe deeply and simply relax. 

Book in Your Swedish Massage in Gillingham, Kent

If you feel that you would benefit greatly from receiving a Swedish Massage in Gillingham, Kent, then contact Reflections Massage and Wellbeing to book in. We also serve the Medway area by providing mobile massage treatments, whereby we visit you in the comfort of your own home. Please kindly note mobile massages are for ladies only or couples whereby a female client is present. 

You can click here to view our prices. 

To view locations and book in, click here to be taken to our contact us page.