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Natural Guide for Menstrual Health

Natural Guide for Menstrual Health

istock_000003691524xsmallHaving a healthy menstrual cycle is instrumental to having abundant fertility. The menstrual cycle can tell us a lot about what is happening in the body- if the uterus is getting enough circulation, if hormones are imbalanced, if you are ovulating and so much more. In this article we will cover the different phases of the menstrual cycle, how to use different signs of the menstrual cycle to determine your health, and how to use natural therapies such as fertility cleansing, herbs, and a natural fertility diet to help support and maintain a healthy cycle.

Also, determining what is ‘normal’ or what should be the goal for us to get our cycles back on track is equally as important. While everyone cannot fit into one box, there is a general range that represents a healthy cycle. But let’s start from the beginning…

What is a period?

Menstruation (the period) is the shedding of the endometrial lining of the uterus. This generally occurs monthly, releasing blood and tissues from the uterus through the vagina.

Note: There are many resources and texts explaining menarche through menopause, including menstruation and other natural processes of the female body. One of them is Women, Hormones and The Menstrual Cycle – herbal and medical solutions from adolescence to menopause by Ruth Trickey. In an online resource, Dr.s Jennifer Knudtson and Jessica E. McLaughlin of the University of Texas Health and Science Center at San Antonio explain the female process of menstruation in great detail for the world’s most widely used professional and patient-centered medical information resource, Merck Manuals, the resource in linked in the references below. Let me try to simplify it for you though…

How the cycle works…

The period is only one part of the amazingly complex monthly fertility cycle orchestrated by the endocrine system. The endocrine glands work together to send messages via hormones. This is called the feedback loop.

In very simple terms, the hypothalamus produces GnRH (gonadotrophin-releasing hormones) which signals the pituitary to produce LH (luteinizing hormones) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) to send a signal to the ovaries that it is their turn to release estrogen and progesterone which is recognized by the pituitary gland.

Simple right? Not so. As you can see a healthy cycle is dependent on each part of the feedback loop and whether it is functioning properly. Think of it as an orchestra, if just one part of the cycle is off, it will throw the entire cycle off, causing imbalances that can affect fertility.

Phases of the menstrual cycle

Follicular phase
The hypothalamus responds to the different levels of estrogen and progesterone secreted from the ovaries. When estrogen drops during the period, the hypothalamus secretes GnRH which signals to the pituitary to release FSH which then initiates the follicular growth in the ovary. 10-20 follicles will begin to develop, but only one of these will mature to become an egg. While they are developing, the follicles are producing estrogen, which stimulates the endometrium to develop in the uterus (the uterine lining in preparation for the implantation of a fertilized egg).

As the estrogen increases (secreted from the developing follicles prior to ovulation), the cervical mucus begins to change to ‘fertile mucus’ which is like an egg white in its consistency. The increasing levels of estrogen then trigger the secretion of GnRH from the hypothalamus which then signals the surge of LH and FSH, which normally triggers the release of the egg. Once ovulation occurs, FSH levels and LH drop quickly.

Luteal Phase
Ovulation is followed by the luteal phase. With LH present, the corpus luteum begins to secrete increasing quantities of progesterone and fairly constant levels of estrogen.

The endometrium is now influenced by progesterone causing it to develop to be capable of nourishing a developing embryo.

If fertilization does not occur, the decline of the hormones causes the endometrium to shed, which is dependent on hormones at all times for its health, maintenance and development. When estrogen reaches a low enough point, the hypothalamus releases GnRH and the cycle starts over again.

Counting the days of your menstrual cycle
Day one of the menstrual cycle is always the first day of your period. If you spot before your period has come, that is not counted. The days between the first day of your period and ovulation is called the ‘follicular phase’. Generally, this is 14 days long, but varies woman to woman. When ovulation occurs, the luteal phase begins.

The luteal phase is the days between ovulation and menstruation. It is generally 14 days long. This is the time when a fertilized egg is attaching itself to the lining in the uterus to establish itself. If the luteal phase is too short (less than 12 days), this can make implantation almost impossible as the egg has not had sufficient time to properly implant and signal to the cycle that pregnancy has occurred.

I find using a tool such as CycleBeads or fertility charting can be helpful in keeping track of your cycle so you can know the length and generally when ovulation will occur.

What is a normal period?

We get asked often what is an ideal period. Unfortunately, there is no one answer to this question as we are all different. A ‘textbook’ menstrual cycle is 28 days long with menstruation lasting 3-5 days. The information that is most important about your cycle is the length of your period, the length of your entire cycle, the amount of pain, and the color and consistency of the menstruation. We can use this information to learn how to best use herbs and natural therapies to help create a healthy, balanced cycle.

Length of a Healthy Cycle
The usual range of a healthy cycle is between 21 and 35 days. Some women will have cycles that are very different from this, but as long as there is a pattern, regularity, and a healthy body and the follicular phase is between 12-14 days in length, there should be no cause for concern.

Hormone levels and ovulation create the regularity of your cycle. Failure to ovulate will affect hormonal levels and hormonal imbalance will affect/inhibit the secretion of hormones that stimulate ovulation.

There are many factors that can affect hormonal balance and ovulation, stress being one of them.

How to use the signs of your menstrual cycle to determine your hormonal balance

Below is a list of associations and is not in any way intended as a diagnostic tool. My goal is to help you read your body and listen when it is telling you something is out of balance. The menstrual cycle is one of the best ways the body communicates about your fertility. The details of your menstrual cycle can be used as a window into your fertility, telling you just what is going on, where an imbalance may lie, how your reproductive circulation is and if there is a hormonal imbalance.

Missing a period
Missing one period is no cause for alarm. Hormonal balance is very delicate and can be affected easily by stress. It generally will reset itself. Missing one or a couple of periods does not imply infertility necessarily as you can still ovulate even if you are not menstruating. This happened to a friend of mine and she became pregnant. Missing a period for 6 months or more is called amenorrhea and is covered below and here in this guide…

Short Cycles
Short cycles can cause fertility issues due to lack of ovulation, too short of a follicular or luteal phase, lack of nutrition, deficiencies, anemia or low body weight. One of the best herbs that has been used for luteal phase defect is vitex. In studies, vitex helped 83% of women experiencing luteal phase defect.

Longer Periods
A longer period may be an indication of hormonal imbalance and/or a failure to ovulate. Progesterone secreted by the body after ovulation normally helps to stop excess bleeding because of its effect on preserving the uterine lining. If estrogen is high or progesterone low, bleeding may continue longer than usual. Some herbal therapies that have been traditionally used for balancing longer periods are vitex and Slow Flow.

Heavy menstruation
This is known to be caused by a progesterone imbalance and/or over-stimulation of the uterine lining from estrogens (estrogen dominance). Traditionally this imbalance can be helped by:

  • Supporting the liver in excreting excess estrogen
  • Modifying the diet and utilizing medicinal herbs to help regulate progesterone and hormonal balance

Nutritional imbalances have also been linked to prolonged or heavy bleeding. Vitamin A deficiency may be a contributing factor in heavy menstruation. Studies have shown vitamin A intake to significantly decrease the amount of blood and the duration of the menses.

Another important vitamin, vitamin C, has been shown to help reduce heavy bleeding by strengthening the capillaries, helping to reduce their fragility. One study reported an 87% success rate in reducing heavy bleeding with vitamin C.

Slow Flow is the best herbal-supplement blend I have seen to help with heavy menstruation. It contains herbs that are astringent (helping to slow blood flow) and nutrients such as vitamin A, C and K. In addition, vitex and liver supporting herbs have been found to be helpful.

Light menstruation with strong cramping
Generally, the cramping could be helped by using herbs that have an anti-spasmodic, calming effect on the uterus. If there is light, bright red menstruation, this may also be a sign of a lack of circulation to the uterus (called a ‘cold uterus’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine). This may be helped by these herbs and natural therapies:

Bright Red Blood
Generally bright red blood indicates a healthy period. Rejoice!

Dark, brown or thick blood
Thick dark blood that looks old or is brown is old blood left over from the previous cycle. This may be caused by a sluggish menstrual flow, lack of uterine tone or low uterine circulation. Herbs and therapies used traditionally for this imbalance are:

Pale Blood, Watery or thin menstruation
Pale pink, thin blood traditionally signifies poor blood quality which can be enriched by using blood building herbs, hormone balancing, and increasing circulation. Eating a healthy diet will also be beneficial.

As viewed from a holistic perspective, menstrual clots are seen as a sign of stagnation created from excessive flow that is not being expelled. Herbs and therapies that are beneficial for increasing uterine tone are:

Spotting and bleeding between periods
Spotting is a tricky subject as it can be caused by many different factors. Most times it is not something to be concerned about. Some of the causes may be:

  • Disturbance in hormone balance – feedback loop
  • Failure to ovulate
  • Endometriosis
  • Abnormalities of the cervix
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Ovulation has occurred – some women experience spotting during ovulation due to the estrogen changes mid-cycle.
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Excessive exercise
  • Poor nutrition

No period (amenorrhea)
It can be quite frustrating if you are trying to get pregnant and yet have no period. Having a healthy cycle is step one for boosting your fertility naturally and being able to get pregnant. There are a couple of reasons a menstrual cycle may be irregular in women in their reproductive years such as stress, dietary deficiencies, low body weight, getting off of birth control pills, hormonal imbalance, perimenopause (the phase leading up to menopause), or other underlying health issues.

Since the lining of the uterus is not being shed, it is very important to clear out the old blood and establish a healthy cycle again. This can be done naturally and effectively with herbs and nutrition. I have talked with many clients who have been offered synthetic estrogen to get their periods going again… taking synthetic estrogen for this issue is like using a sledge hammer on a thumb tack.

Natural therapies such as the liquid herbal blend RejuvaFlow, fertility cleansing, Dong Quai, Fem Rebalance or Vitex have been found helpful.

It is very normal for women who are in perimenopause to experience sporadic cycles. Perimenopause is the time leading up to menopause. As perimenopause progresses toward menopause, it is normal for menstrual cycles to become irregular, or absent due to hormone levels fluctuating. As ovarian reserve diminishes and egg health declines, hormone levels change preparing the body for menopause. This is completely normal. A woman who has not had a menstrual cycle for a year or more and is between the ages of 40-55 is considered to be menopausal. Learn more about this here…

Steps to maintaining a healthy cycle

Depending on each situation, the herbs and therapies may be different. In addition to a specific herbal, supplemental, and therapeutic protocol, here are 4 steps every woman can take to promote a healthy menstrual cycle.

1. Hormonal Balance
Promoting hormonal balance with the use of nourishing herbs and supplements. As you have read, there is a delicate balance between hormonal balance and imbalance. In some cases, the endocrine system may need some nourishment and support. There are herbs and supplements that are specific for this (see list further down). Diet is also very important for hormonal balance.

In addition, the 3 other steps below also help to support hormonal balance.

2. Liver Health
The liver helps to filter toxins from the body including excess hormones. If there is an overabundance of estrogen, the liver will be overloaded and in need of a little herbal help. Doing a Fertility Cleanse or using liver cleansing herbs such as Milk Thistle, can help to continually support the liver in detoxification. I personally am constantly using herbs and juices to help support the liver to cleanse itself as our modern world can be so toxic.

3. Nutrition and hydration
Nutrition plays a big role in a healthy menstrual cycle and hormonal balance. It is important for us to consume a wide variety of minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. Some of the nutrients that are specific to hormonal balance (remember a healthy diet is VERY important, not just getting these singled-out nutrients) can be found in a whole food multivitamin.

You can learn more about eating a diet specific for fertility here…

Hydration is also important. In many cases of stagnation (such as blood clots or dark menstrual blood) dehydration is a contributing factor. In order for the menstruation to FLOW from us, it needs to have a liquid consistency and not a sticky, thick consistency.

Drinking plenty of water and fresh-squeezed juices is important for a healthy flow. Starting your day with a quart of water (with lemon if you like) is a great idea. Make sure to get another quart throughout the day. In addition, add at least 1 quart of fresh juiced vegetable and fruit juices and you are on your way to abundant health.

4. Stress reduction
Stress can have an impact on your menstrual cycle. Traveling, work stress, family stress, stress about infertility, financial stress can have an impact on the hormones that are released.

Stress boosts levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which inhibits the body’s main sex hormones GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) and subsequently may suppress ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count.

Supporting the adrenal gland is also helpful for hormonal balance as it can get burned out from too much stress for too long and can negatively affect the endocrine system.

There are many ways to begin to reduce the amount of stress and alter your reaction to stress such as:

Herbal Formulas for Menstrual Health

FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2
FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2 Monthly Program is a liquid herbal program designed to support general reproductive health throughout your monthly fertility cycle. Utilizing two organic herbal formulas, one for the first half of your cycle and another for the second half, you are able to support your body’s natural fertility cycle with specific herbal formulas for each phase.

FertiliCare Phase 1 supports the first half of the cycle from menstruation through ovulation (day 14 average). FertiliCare Phase 1 helps to support:

  • Normal ovulation*
  • Balanced hormone production*
  • Healthy uterine lining in preparation for implantation*

FertiliCare Phase 2 supports the second half of the cycle from right after ovulation until menstruation begins (day 15 until your period begins). FertiliCare Phase 2 helps to support:

  • Normal progesterone production.*
  • Circulation to the reproductive system.*
  • Calming the uterus to support implantation.*
  • The hormonal system.*

Dong Quai
Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis) works by promoting blood flow to the pelvis where it will stimulate an absent or scanty period. It also nourishes the blood (it is in nearly all Chinese herbal blood-building formulas). Dong Quai helps with iron deficiency and anemia. One of the best uses is it helps women who are not menstruating to invite their menstruation back. The increased circulation also helps to strengthen and balance the uterus.

Herbalist Roy Upton shares of therapeutic use of Dong Quai root for pain management, circulation promotion, and both stimulation and relaxation of the uterus (and much more) in his 2003 report in the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. Dong quai has been used by herbal practitioners for thousands of years to help build the lining of the uterus.

Slow Flow
Slow Flow is an herbal and nutritional supplement blend designed to promote normal menses.* This formula contains astringent herbs and nutrients which are to be used on heavy bleeding days.

Fem Rebalance
Fem Rebalance is a unique blend of herbs traditionally used to restore and re-balance a woman’s internal hormonal state. Hormonal balance may need restoring after discontinuing oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, during stress, or weight loss.

Vitex (Vitex agnus-castus) is an incredible hormone balancer, which adapts to women’s different needs. Vitex has been shown to normalize heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia), relieve amenorrhea (absent menstrual cycle), and decrease polymenorrhea (too frequent periods). Vitex even eases inflammation of the uterus or ovaries, so it’s a good choice for women prone to painful fibroids or cysts, too.

Blood Builder
Iron is an essential mineral found in both vegetable and animal-based foods. In iron-rich foods, the mineral iron is found with other beneficial nutrients such as B12, folic acid, and vitamin C, which are all important for iron absorption. These important nutrients have been included in Blood Builder, helping to increase absorption and utilization of iron in the body. Blood Builder is an easy way to supplement your diet with a whole food iron that is easily absorbed and utilized by the body. Plus, this formula is non-constipating and easy to digest!

Maca (Lepidium meyenii) is a nourishing food for the endocrine system, aiding both the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands (all involved in hormonal balance.) Maca has the ability to affect key hormones in both women and men without containing hormones itself.

Maca helps to stimulate and nourish the pituitary gland, acting as a tonic for the hormone system. When the pituitary gland functions optimally, the entire endocrine system becomes balanced, because the pituitary gland controls the hormone output of the other three glands.

The hypothalamus is fed by essential fatty acids (EFA’s) and other nutrients. The glandular system utilizes essential fatty acids to produce hormones. If you are deficient, the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make the proper hormones. A sign that you may not have enough EFA’s in your system is dry skin and hair.

Harmonize Formula
Harmonize Formula is a liquid herbal extract designed to encourage a healthy monthly fertility cycle that may have been missing due to long term hormone imbalance. This blend contains 6 organic herbs known to support and guide the body’s natural hormone and ovulation cycle and to alleviate common discomforts associated with PCOS.


  • Trickey, Ruth. (2003). Women, Hormones and The Menstrual Cycle – herbal and medical solutions from adolescence to menopause. Crows nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
  • Knudtson, J. and McLaughin, J.E. (full review/revision August 2016). Female Reproductive Endocrinology. Merck Manual. Retrieved from
  • Lithgow, D. M., & Politzer, W. M. (1977). Vitamin A in the treatment of menorrhagia. S Afr Med J, 51(7), 191-193. Retrieved from:
  • Cohen, J. D., & Rubin, H. W. (1960). Functional menorrhagia: treatment with bioflavonoids and vitamin C. Current therapeutic research, clinical and experimental, 2, 539. Retrieved from:
  • Hobbs Christopher. (2003). Vitex The Women’s Herb. Summertown, Tennessee: Healthy Living Publications.
  • Upton R. (2003). Dang Gui Root; Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels Standards of Analysis, Quality Control, and Therapeutics. American Herbal Pharmacopoeia and Therapeutic Compendium. Retrieved from
  • Hudson, Tori N.D. (2008). Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine – Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellness. Revised and Updated. New York: McGraw Hill.
  • Romm, Aviva. (2010). Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, Missouri: Churchill Livingstone Press.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Hi there,
    I am 27 years old. Throughout my life I have had pretty normal 27-29 day cycles, although I didn’t start tracking until last year. Then suddenly last year, I had a 16 day cycle. My cycle length went back to 27-30 days until just last month when I had another 16 day cycle. It’s back to normal now, but is this cause for concern? I would like to wait a few years until my early 30s to have children, but I am worried these irregularities are signifying infertility problems in future. But I don’t want to make something out of nothing! If you had any advice for me that would be great. Worrying about this more than I maybe should. Thanks

    • Dear Rachel,

      So many things can impact menstrual cycle… periods of stress, even as a result of remembering a past traumatic experience, diet or lifestyle changes, being more sedentary than usual, even travel. Might there be anything in common the two short cycles that could be at play?

  2. Avatar


    I have a complicated question. I am 44yo and have been experiencing amenorrhea for about a year. I have consulted a few docs and my high FSH levels suggest menopause, which I cannot accept. I have not had children and have read of natural ways to balance hormone levels with herbal supplements, acupuncture and other methods of ovarian stimulation. I took rejuvaflow for one month and took 30 drops 2x/day. I have been a vegetarian for the last year (one month after I stopped eating meat, my cycle abruptly stopped), I exercise a lot and have a pretty lean build. I know there are many factors that could impact my cycle. Do you have any suggestions that might help my situation?

  3. Avatar

    Good Day Dr, I am a female 27 years of age, I have been having problems with getting my menstruation, I think I have only had a normal menstruation 10 years ago as I got my periods very late and ever since even a drop nothing.

    I have consulted with a lot of different Dr, Gynaecologists and most of the time the diagnosis will be my unbalanced hormones and I will be given the hormone balancing capsules, tablets but still nothing. I have changed my lifestyle and still nothing is changing, the last gynae I consulted told me that I will have to go for an operation so that I can be able to conceive.
    I am getting frustrated everyday because of this and I am hopeless that I will ever have a child.

    • Dear Mosa,

      I am sorry you are going through this! May I know what the operation is for and what needs to be operated on?

      I think a better starting point will be to review our guide How To Get Your Period Back to better understand the causes of amenorrhea (absent menstruation).

  4. Avatar

    I’m 14 years old and for school we have a swim unit. My mom thought it would be helpful if I use birth control. I’ve been skipping my period for a while and sometimes I get brown discharge, maybe old blood, I’m not sure. I use pads while out of the water but on the warning paper for tampons it says “do not use tampons between periods or for non-menstrual discharge” I’m concerned as to whether or not I should continue using tampons while swimming.

    • Dear Kara,

      It is my understanding that a using a tampon for a short period of time at any pt. of bleeding in the cycle is fine. I think the warning is to prevent women from using them when not bleeding (for whatever reason).

  5. Avatar

    Hi, Iam 28yr old done D&C last year, after that my period is light compared to the old days (but not too light) no cramping pain. Started to do workout at home last month as Iam feeling that am getting fatter and for me cycle is longer 31-35 days. Now the period is little what watery red color and small small clots. is there any problem? is this anything to do with fertility? had fertility issues previously.

    • Dear Michelle,

      I’m not sure there can be a correlation made yet. It may be best to continue to make the lifestyle changes you have and work on bettering your health, while monitoring your cycles/periods for a few cycles in a row. This will give you or a healthcare provider you work with a little better picture of what may be going on.

      Try not to worry!

    • Avatar

      Hi there, Have you found an answer for watery periods? I am trying to conceive and not have had success yet. After my first child had 2 D&Cs and still having light watery periods with fatigue during menstruation. Nobody was able to change the situation. I wanted to check with you. Thanks.

  6. Avatar

    HI, am 25yrs old, since late 2015 I noticed I have an unusual strenuous pain during my period (different from normal cramps).this is mostly evident when am either defecating or urinating. at times I even bloat.also I have been trying to get pregnant for a year now but no results.i have gone for a medical test and also scan but no definite diagnosis.i and my husband have been carefull to have sex on all days of the month just incase I miscalculate my fertile days.please I need your advice

    • Dear Tessy,

      Could you be having intercourse too much? Could this be why you are feeling this pain? Have you considered taking a few days of off from intercourse to see how the feelings change? I think that may be best!

      If the pain while urinating or defecating does not change when you take a break from daily intercourse, it really should be addressed medically. Think about or ask your doctor about seeing a urologist or gastroenterologist. Could it be from a UTI or yeast overgrowth or a hemorrhoid? Were you evaluated for endometriosis? Could the pain be structural, meaning an issue with your spine being out of alignment?

      Intercourse every day of the month is not necessary, unless of course it’t no strenuous or becoming a chore. There are many ways to determine the fertile window for certain, basal body temperature (BBT) charting is the best way. We don’t want the spark to get lost in your relationship because intercourse is being made a chore!

  7. Avatar

    Im 28 years old and married before 10months. Im suffering from missing periods for a long time. Once taking medicine i get my period and when it stopped i never get periods.after my marriage i went for a doctor. He said that i cannt conceive from my own eggs as my egg quantity is in low level. He said that i need to do IVF. Pls requesting a help from you

    • Dear Kushani,

      I am sorry to hear this!

      Have you considered working with a specialist, a reproductive endocrinologist, who can help you know why your period have been absent for so long. Understanding the cause may influence the course of treatment. As you reach out to a provider, consider reviewing our guide How To Get Your Period Back as a place to start learning more about why this happens and natural support for the body.

  8. Avatar

    I am 35 yrs old. My periods have always been between 27-29 days and they have always been heavy, painful and last around 5 days. My May period was very light, only two days with no pain. My June period was only there when I wiped and with a couple of spotting, there was no pain. I was extremely bloated throughout May and June. My July period started with brown spotting and then a pink flow, which lasted for two days but then stopped. Then for one day it was just there again but only when wiping. I had a scan and no abnormalities were found. Do you have any ideas why suddenly the irregularity?

    • Dear Fran,

      Do you know the root cause of your heavy, painful periods? Do you have a fertility health issue?

      Many things can cause a shift in the menstrual cycle – changes in weight and exercise routines, age, starting or stopping natural therapies, changes is diet, being sedentary or moving more, stress and even travel.

      It may take a bit of detective work to pinpoint the cause and hopefully this helps.

  9. Avatar

    Hi, I m 45 old and my menstrual stopped before 7 years so can it start again please suggest me

    • Dear Jecquline,

      I’m sorry to hear this! Have you been to your doctor or a specialist to know the cause (what has made your period stop)? This would be the best first step!

  10. Avatar

    hi im Angela and i wish to know why my periods are so strong i get super heavy flow and very large clots and they last even 8 days i always need nighttime pads or maternity pads is this normal? should i see a doctor ? thanks for any help you can give me thanks

  11. Avatar

    I’m 14 years old and i just started my period. This is my second time having my period and the blood is black. My sister was concerned about me so she told me to search it up and from this website it stated that there will only be black blood at the end of a period cycle. But for me, my black blood occurs at the beginning of the cycle, and as stated in the website, it said that i should visit a doctor because it might be a clot.

    • Dear Ling,

      I am sorry you are worried! Having a period should not be scary or worrisome. As shared here, dark blood is often old blood left over from the previous cycle or from heavy menstrual flow that isn’t coming out properly due to sluggish menstrual flow, lack of uterine tone or low uterine circulation. Easy ways to support uterine health are to stay hydrated (drink lots of water or coconut water, fresh-squeezed juice), exercise and move daily (walks are great, swimming, jogging, Yoga) or massage. All of these things can be helpful for menstrual clots as well. Menstrual clots are seen as a sign of stagnation created from excessive blood flow that is not properly being expelled, perhaps due to lack of uterine tone or poor circulation to the uterus.

      All that said, if you are worried, please do talk to an adult you trust or your doctor, someone who can help you know if this should be investigated further. My guess is not, but I am also not a medical professional. Consider the tips I shared and see how things change. We also share a bit more hopefully helpful information in our guide Herbs for Teen Reproductive Health: Steps for Healthy Choices.

      My best!

  12. Avatar

    I am 32 yrs old trying to conceive for 6 months now. Maybe a year now I have been having irregular periods. They have been light (almost not there, just a panty liner) bright red and no tissue/lining or clotting and very mild cramps on the first, second day. I have tried the company progesterone cream and this past cycle bought the fertility cleanse. I felt great on the cleanse and thought it would make my period regular. No luck after the cleanse it is still light bright and red. What should I do next to get a regular period and conceive a healthy pregnancy soon? Readings from the site I might be estrogen deficient. I take Maca and Vitex for about a month and a half now.

    • Hello Amber!

      I am sorry that you thought this comment was deleted (from your other comment which I will close without comment). It was posted after hours on Friday afternoon, we are closed on weekends and I moderate comments (they do not automatically post). My apologies for the confusion and any upset! We do offer free support! Thank you for your patronage.

      It is great that you cleansed and it was a good experience! It is a great first step to supporting healthy hormonal balance yet there is often more that needs to be done. Vitex and Maca are wonderful! Clinical research shows that Vitex may start working within 10 days, but full benefits may not be experienced until 6 months or longer. We suggest starting with three months of consistent use.

      With that can you clarify irregular? How long does a period last? Do you have around the same cycle in total length each month? Are you ovulating?

      It may be helpful to learn more about the other natural therapies suggested in this guide, particularly Self Fertility Massage, Castor Oil Therapy and even an herb like Dong Quai.

      If you’d like to share more about your cycle here you can (please allow me 24 hours to reply) or click here to contact me directly…

      I look forward to offering continued support!

  13. Avatar

    am 31 years old & have been trying to get pregnant from past 1 year with no luck. so i visited doctor she gave me Clomifene citerate 50mg, DHEA supplement,follic acid & progestrone sustained release tablets from day 16 to 25. i have completed my 4 cycles but still am not pregnant. from past 1 year my periods are very scanty & light i only bleed first day of my period. My uterus lining on ovulation day is approxmiately 11mm. i am not certain of my egg size because everytime i go it would be ruptured state. & present 4th cycle there is no dominant follicle at all even on my 19th day. could u pls guide me wat to do. should i go for IUI treatment or should i contiue clomid. y periods r light

    • Dear Rapan,

      I’m sorry conceiving has proven challenging!

      We aren’t able to suggest herbs with medications unless your healthcare provider has advised you otherwise. Yet, the Self Fertility Massage
      Castor Oil packs linked to in this very guide could be considered. I can not know if you should continue Clomiphene or try IUI. That is decision to be made by you and your partner. Listen to your heart!

      I hope this guide has been helpful, but I can’t help but wonder if you may benefit from personalized support through a Fertility Consultation. By booking a Natural Fertility Consultation you will have access to: an herbalist who is assigned to you, answers to all of your questions, a detailed plan created specifically for you to get the best results with your Natural Fertility program. This may be worth considering!

  14. Avatar

    This week I was supposed to start my period,I thought that I had started because I had the normal signs like cramps and my other regular signs but there was no blood only a brownish discharge which is weird because I have always had regular flows and they have always been at least in a 3 day range each month so I just was wondering if it was any thing serious. And is there any thing I need to be doing to keep a regular flow?

    • Dear Rachel,

      Have you been actively trying to conceive? Have you tested for pregnancy? This would be a best first step before considering any natural therapies.

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    Last month I think I had a chemical pregnancy as my period was 4 days late and I had a faint positive pregnancy test. Since then i have started drinking iron and folate rich smoothies and taking pre conception vitamin along with coq10. I’m nearly 39 and this month my period started with a very dark red / black blood from day 1-2 then spotted mainly day 3 the period is causing me worry. I am due to have a hsg test next week so please can you point out some ideas for me to try. Thank you

    • Hello Bella!

      I am sorry to hear of your loss!

      Were you perhaps more sedentary over the past month than usual? The shift could be contributed to by this, or the stress of what you’ve been through, or a result of hormonal shifts post loss. The suggestions of Self Fertility Massage, Cleansing for Fertility, Systemic Enzyme Therapy, Hydration by drinking plenty of fresh water or herbal tea, or the use of herbs such as those in the biphasic herbal formulas FertiliCare Phase 1 & 2 that are made in this very guide would be worth learning more about.

    • Avatar

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thank you for your reply, I normally lead a regular life whereby I generally walk an hour each day. I have tried drinking nettle tea and I could try fertility massage is it best to try this after af? When I am pre ovulating or post ovulation? Can you tell me how the biphasic herbal is different to taking coq10 and fertility supplements and eating healthy foods?

    • Hello Bella!

      This is great to hear. Self Fertility Massage can be started after menstruation ends and used until ovulation when actively trying to conceive (ttc), or for the rest of the cycle when not actively ttc. Biphasic herbal formulas are two specific herbal formulas formulated for each phase of the cycle – one for the follicular phase and the other for the luteal phase. CoQ10 is not an herb or formula. It is classified and a nutrient and fertility supplements are typically the same, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. They all have differing effects on the body. Herbal formulas are supplementary and often in part support the systems of the body instrumental in hormonal balance. I hope this helps!

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    I suffer from severe ammenorhea and severe estrogen dominance. Last cycle I had was in Oct’2015. I have been using natural progesterone cream with all the supplements advised in your blog and am off the cream for past 3 days but still no cycles and the symptoms have returned like mild depression, anxiety, severe mood swings, vaginal dryness etc. Just wanted to know do you think I should continue with the same recommended time frame for everyone who has a normal cycle or should i do 25 days 5 days off as loading dose. I take 200 mg currently and go through tubes and bottles like crazy (not complaining) but do i need to up my dose?

    • Dear Richa,

      Do you know the underlying cause of the amenorrhea and estrogen dominance?

      It sounds to me as though the dose being used is too much! Large doses (100mg+) of progesterone can cause side effects, sleepiness, loss of libido, mild depression, exacerbated symptoms of estrogen deficiency, and serious hormonal imbalances. Was that dose suggested to you by a practitioner? If so, do be sure to follow up with him/her to share your experiences. Please do not use more progesterone cream until you have done so or sought guidance.

      The very best way to receive a full plan designed specifically for your fertility health needs is to have a Fertility Consultation. It will be helpful to learn about your overall and fertility health to approach creating an entire natural fertility program from a holistic perspective.

  17. Avatar


    Thank you for a great article!
    I have regular periods lasting about 7 days. Before they start, my nipples may itch a little or feel tender with a dull discomfort in my abdomen. Is this Qi Stagnation or Liver Qi Stagnation? I am also prone to stiff neck, shoulders and a sore back on my lower right side near the back ribs. It’s only noticeable if I apply firm pressure. Otherwise, it’s a dull ache. This comes and goes every couple of weeks. I also have thick off-white discharge occasionally when not menstruating. Is this Dampness?
    The first 1 or 2 days of my period is light flow & very dark brown. Day 3-4 very heavy flow & dark/bright red. Day 5-7, light flow & brown/pink. Is this normal?

    • Dear Jennifer,

      Thank you for reaching out to us!

      I am not a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and we do not have one on staff. I am not able to answer your questions from that knowledge base.

      What I can share is that as hormones shift near the end of the menstrual cycle, some women do feel breast tenderness and abdominal discomfort. This is viewed as part of PMS. I am not certain it the discharge seen would be considered normal cervical mucus. Learn more about cervical mucus shifts throughout the menstrual cycle here...

      This very guide shares about the differences in menstrual blood color and what they mean, bright red being optimal. So, consider revisiting that portion of this guide for natural therapies to consider. It is normal to have light flow that grows heavier before tapering off back to light flow through menstruation.

      I hope this is helpful!

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    i gave birth on 8th of november 2015, since that time i have not had my period. although i am still breastfeeding my baby. please what may be the cause?

    • Dear Rachael,

      It is very common for women’s periods to be absent while breastfeeding. Many women don’t begin regular menstruation until they stop breastfeeding. This is perfectly normal and not cause for concern!

      Congratulations on the birth of your child!

  19. Avatar

    My period have been regular for 3 months after the doctor have opened my blocked Fallopian tubes, I was the placed on fertomid for 5 days. This month I missed my period and the pregnancy test is negative. I need to know what can be cause of a missed period since I took fertomid which ensures ovulation.
    I really need need a baby, the sad part is I really am tired of trying “I’m close to giving up”
    Please advise what herbs I can use to regulate my period and hormones.

    • Dear Josephine,

      Many factors could be a cause. Periods of extreme stress, for instance, can throw the body out of whack and make it so that a month or two goes by before things return to normal. The body attempting to achieve hormone imbalance, dietary changes, starting new herbs that support hormone balance, taking hormonal medication, weight loss or gain, changes in exercise routines and even travel can all impact the timing of the menstrual cycle. I am sorry this is even a concern!

      That said, one missed period may not be cause for concern. A woman can still ovulation when menstruation is absent. It will be best now to discuss what has happened with your doctor and think about if any of the things I mentioned above may be a cause.

      If you are still unsure how to proceed with a natural fertility program if you are interested in following one, please consider working one on one with our fertility herbalist who can lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs through a Fertility Consultation.

  20. Avatar


    My menstruation is regular (red blood, 3-4days) and my schedule for this month (April) is on the 11th but I had a brown menstruation which started 8th of April until the 10th, but on the 3rd day it is not a flowy menstruation, actually even on the second day, it is very light menstruation for this month. On the 11th I had a red blood menstruation but it is also not in full blood, just some drops I think. Will this indicate something?

    • Hello April!

      This may indicate you were more sedentary this month than last, that diet, levels of hydration and exercise routines changed, or could be a result of hormone imbalance, age, stress and changes in stress levels (even minor changes), or weight loss or gain. Travel can all impact menstruation. Think about if anything here rings true for you. Brown blood is old blood leftover from the previous period and light flow is a sign of lack of circulation to the uterus.

      Typically a shift for one month isn’t cause for concern. That said, do try taking a brisk walk each day and staying hydrated. Fertility Massage may be helpful as well.

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    i have pcos, i take provara 5 days a month. i took my 5 pills 15 days ago and havnt received a period. I noticed my bladder has been weak as i been having little accidents when i cough sneeze or just sit down. i been having weird pain that feels like a sharp knife being shuved up my hoo ha , and now i have a really thick dark brownish balck discharge on my panties. and it has been this color for a day and a half now. and is pasty. should i be concerned?

    • Dear Lainy,

      It would be best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about what you are experiencing. I am not familiar with potential side effects of Provera. Dark and old-looking blood/discharge could be old blood leftover from a previous menstrual cycle now coming out which is a good thing. Bladder weakness and knife-like pain however have to be discomforting and are not symptoms of PCOS that I have heard of.

      Are you making dietary and lifestyle changes to support your reproductive health? We know this is key when living with PCOS. Our guide to How to Reduce the Damaging Effects of PCOS on Fertility Through Diet and Herbs offers reasons why and tips for making these changes a new lifestyle.

      Take care!

  22. Avatar

    I tend to have short periods lasting sometimes 2 days or sometimes 5- sometimes the periods last a couple days- stop and then start a day or so later. And on top of that I have to use 2 of the super size tampons in order to not leak when Im on my period. Im thinking about conceiving in the next 2 yrs and I was wondering about supplements I should take- If I start taking the suggested supplements here is there ever a too early to start or a point where you should stop taking it so as not to overdo it- Like where maybe only for a couple months youre supposed to do this and no longer or it could be overdoing it? – (obviously with following bottle directions for taking the supplement on a daily)

    Also I tend to have the clots and the dark brown/thick blood chunks sometimes alongside these short periods . Any advice appreciated

    • Dear Amanda,

      Much of what is suggested in this article can be used long term if need be, but if the desired outcome is achieved, natural therapies can be weaned off of to see how the body maintains hormonal balance on its own. The time it takes to achieve the desired differs for each woman.

      While this guide may be helpful, consider learning through the article 12 Weeks to Improving Your Period ways to transform the quality of your menstrual blood, length of bleeding time, and the health of your uterus in 12 weeks, through 6 simple steps.

      I hope this is helpful!

  23. Avatar

    I took an emergency contraceptive the day I began my period (I had not realised it until later that day, otherwise I would not have taken the EC). I had my period, but I’m also experiencing what I believe to be spotting for the last 2 days. Very minimal, lighter in color. Is this normal? My period typically lasts 5-6 days, and I am now on day 8. Where can I purchase Vitex and will it help decrease the spotting?

    • Dear Elle,

      Emergency contraceptive use may cause light, unexpected vaginal bleeding. This pill contains hormones and taking it can cause hormonal shifts and likewise slight changes in the menstrual cycle. This could be simply a result of its use this cycle.

      Given that Vitex takes at least 3 months of use (and often 6 months or longer) to share its full benefits, it may be worth considering if this is herb is right for you. In my professional opinion, it may be best to wait this cycle out and observe the next before considering Vitex. Be sure to be exercising daily, eating a nutrient-dense diet rich in whole, fresh foods including those rich in fiber, and work to manage stress.

      There could potential be a variety of factors contributing to this cycle shift, but given what I know about this cycle for you, I am not sure there is great cause for concern. I am also not a doctor, so if this continues to worry you, please reach out to your doctor to talk about what you are experiencing.

      Take care!

  24. Avatar

    For a few days I have been experiencing brownish discharge instead of my normal red blood period. My mother says it’s natural and the lining is just cleaning itself, but with all the scary stuff on the Internet, it is very concerning. I just don’t want an infection. It’s not very thick and I normally would get this type of color towards the end of my period, not when it should start.

    • Dear Cherry,

      As you have read in this article, blood that looks darker, brown or old is more than likely old blood that was not able to be expelled rather than an infection. Consider revisiting the suggestions for supporting uterine tone and circulation to the uterus under the heading “Dark, brown or thick blood”. Each blue highlighted phrase is a link to more information about that natural therapy.

      I hope this eases your mind!

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    How often would you recommend one to do the fertility cleanse after the first round of cleanse? You have said you constantly using herbs and juices to help support the liver to cleanse itself as our modern world can be so toxic.

    • Dear Gee,

      The Fertility Cleanse is its entirety can be done two times a year with a 6 month or so break between cleanses. This being said, Milk Thistle Seed extract and something like Liver Cleanse Flushing Tea are two products that can be continued outside of cleansing to support healthy liver function. Why Liver Health is Important to Your Fertility shared additional thoughts on creating a healthy liver if interested.

  26. Avatar

    Good article. I have PCOS and it is my first cycle OFF birth control. I believe Progesterone cream previously helped me to prevent miscarriage as I had low progesterone when I fell pregnant. I am on it again at the moment. I would like to know if I normally have a 32 day cycle OFF birth control on which day do I test before stopping progesterone and waiting for normal period? Can I continue the cream for a few days after my period is due or would it delay my period if I am not pregnant?

    • Dear Juanita,

      If actively trying to conceive while using progesterone cream, it is best to test for pregnancy before stopping its use (and to not stop if you are pregnant). There are at-home pregnancy tests, like Babi pregnancy test strips, that detect pregnancy as soon as one day after a missed period. It is best to test as instructed on whichever test you choose before stopping progesterone cream.

      If not pregnant, continuing progesterone cream may delay the start of menstruation. While some women get a period on their own while using progesterone cream, some have to stop it in order to menstruate.

      I hope this is helpful!

  27. Avatar


    I just came to know I am diabetic (I am not taking any medicine). I am trying to get pregnant, but no luck yet. My period is regular, every 40 days. Please let me know if I have to do anything, or use any medication? I am so frustrated about not getting pregnant.

    • Dear Sudha,

      I am sorry you are frustrated!

      Glucose levels can impact one’s ability to conceive. Consider taking time to read the article
      Diabetes and Fertility: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Fertility to learn how, as well as natural ways to support the body in achieving and maintaining healthy glucose levels.\

      We support using herbs, nutritional supplements and natural therapies which are not medications. So, if you have questions about taking medications, please speak with your doctor or a pharmacist.

      All my best!

  28. Avatar

    Please, what should I take? I experience VERY painful mentruation. The cramps are killing me. Kindly help!

  29. Avatar

    thank you so much it was so wonderful

  30. Avatar

    Will dark brown menus affect me in getting pregnant?
    I’m trying to get pregnant.

    • Dear Sandy,

      While I have not heard of dark brown blood during menstruation alone affecting one’s ability to get pregnant, the reasons for this dark brown blood – sluggish menstruation, lack of uterine tone, or poor circulation to the uterus – may impact implantation. It may be worth considering the suggestions made in this article for supporting uterine health.

  31. Avatar

    kindly plz let know which vitex should i buy to regulate my periods?on internet there are alot vitex’s available i dont get which one to buy.. kindly tell me that if i have to buy vitex from your fertility shop will you guys send it here in abu dhabi United arab emirates ?? and maca in which form should i take powder or tablets ?can i get it via shipment ?plzzz replytyyyy

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Nuur,
      We support taking Vitex also know as Chaste tree berry in either capsule, or liquid extract form. In general we feel it is best to take organic Vitex when available.
      Maca does come in many forms. Often it is not that one id necessarily better than the other, rather some prefer the ease/convenience of taking a capsule while others like the potency powder offers and to mix it into smoothies or food. Again, in general, organic is best. It has also been found that gelatinized Maca in powder form is easiest on the digestive system and and is also more cost effective since it is more concentrated. Gelatinization is a process by which the starch is removed from the maca (it does not refer to “gelatin”, and no animal derived ingredients are incorporated into this process).
      Please contact our customer care team for further guidance.

  32. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. I apologize for not being able to reply to every past comment. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  33. Avatar

    Thanks for making such a great website!
    Since tracking my ovulation, i have noticed that I start to spot about 8/9 days after ovulation and my period begins properly on the correct 14 days after. I also sometimes get some spotting during my cycle (which doesn’t appear to be ovulation time). I have been to my dr and have been checked out for any sinister cause and have been given the all clear, and told it is likely hormonal. From reading up I wonder if it is low progesterone. Could you recommend anything that you think would help with this & how I take it please? Also is it ok to take with a normal pre-natal multi vitamin? We are wanting to start trying for a baby in August, I have had one previous miscarriage and I have an almost 2 year old daughter, who I bled heavily with for the first 4 months. I want to try and prevent these things happening again, if possible, thank you.

  34. Avatar

    Hi Dalene,
    I’m wondering if you’ve ever heard of a period that starts and then stops and starts back up again? For the last year, my period will start, then go for a few days, stop for about 24 hours and then start up again. When it starts again, I’ll have bad cramping like my period is starting over and the bleeding will last another 24 hours or so but the bleed is irregular. I’m not sure what this means but I would appreciate any advice you could give me. Thanks!


  35. Avatar

    Hi,rght from time of start,i have been having heavy and light period.please quide me on hw to go about it thank you.