Anyone who has been watching bees in a beehive will know how busy it looks and how each bee seems to be moving in a precise, purposeful way. Each of their movements is part of the ‘waggle dance’, a complex communication system that allows bees to explain precisely where a food source is. We’ve known the basics of it for a while. But it was also apparent that a lot of what the bees said was ‘lost in translation’.

Then in March 2019, researchers at Virginia Tech had a breakthrough. After immersing themselves in the beehive and studying the movements and the intensity of the noise bees were making, they were able to interpret the language of bees and translate what bees are telling each other.

When women come to see me with fertility issues, we spend a lot of time talking about their periods and what they look. Periods have a language of their own, one that can help us understand better what sort of hormonal imbalances there are. Chinese Medicine allows us to translate what periods are trying to communicate. We can then find out how women need to be supported to improve their chance of conceiving. In this article, we will address:

  • What the language of periods is
  • Why the language of periods is important to understand fertility challenges
  • What sort of signs during your periods are essential for fertility
  • How periods can help us figure out what kind of support women need

The language of periods includes all the symptoms you get during your bleed.

 This consists of (but is not restricted to):

  • how heavy the bleeding is,
  • the presence of clots or pain,
  • the colour of the bleed
  • how long your cycle is.

It could also include other symptoms happening at the same time. For example, you might feel more tired during your periods or have more vivid dreams. You might notice that you are feeling more irritable or that, on the contrary, when your period arrives, you experience a huge relief from stress.

All these signs put together gives us a picture of what is happening in the body and what sort of imbalances there are. In particular, this provides us with a view of what kind of imbalances there are in relation to the reproductive system and fertility.

Our periods are telling us about what is happening in our reproductive system.

To improve the chances of conception, we need to ensure that the environment is best one for an egg to develop well, be released and then, once it’s fertilised, for the embryo to implant in the uterus.

Through all the symptoms we’ve mentioned above, our periods are telling us:

  • if the egg has enough time to mature,
  • if the egg is getting all the nutrients and Energy it needs
  • if the uterus lining is developing well so the embryo can implant
  • if there are enough nutrients and oxygen arriving to the uterus lining so the embryo can grow well.

Each symptom gives us inside information.

This is essential to check if the environment is right for conception throughout the cycle.

For the egg to develop and mature well, we need to be sure that it receives plenty of nutrients. Both the Energy and the Blood need to be able to flow well to nourish the egg. The egg also needs enough time to mature. The length of the period and how heavy or light the period is will give us some clues about that.

When the egg is released, there is movement as it bursts out of the follicle. This is not possible if the Energy doesn’t move smoothly (we say it’s stagnating). If the period is too long, this could be a sign of the Energy stagnating.

And finally, once the egg is fertilised, the embryo needs to implant to start growing. This is only possible if the lining of the uterus is welcoming, aka it’s thick enough and there is enough Blood coming to the uterus to feed the embryo. If there isn’t enough Blood coming to the uterus, we might get some lighter periods, for example. Or the Blood might not be flowing as it should, thereby not bring the nutrients the embryo needs. In Chinese Medicine, we talk about Blood stasis. Blood clots or very heavy periods can give us some clues about Blood Stasis.

Knowing what sort of imbalances there are helps to choose the right treatment and self-care activities.

Finding the right treatment to optimise fertility means you need to know what are the imbalances in the body. By correcting those, we can improve the environment in which the egg is growing and the embryo is implanting. It also tells us about what we shouldn’t be doing!

An acupuncturist will use all of those symptoms in the context of all the other symptoms you might have outside of your periods to establish the appropriate treatment. They will also be able to give women on what they can do at home. For example, for some women using a castor oil pack will be appropriate, whereas, for others, this would be contraindicated.

Following your symptoms also gives you an idea if things are improving without resorting to blood tests.

Because periods reflect our internal imbalances, there isn’t such a thing as the perfect period. We all have imbalances and this is reflected in our periods. However, knowing how, in that best but unattainable world, they should be is giving us a reference. We can then compare our periods to that reference and see how things are progressing.

For example, we know that, as a reference, the female cycle should be between 27 and 32 days long. If a woman has a cycle that is 45 days long and it is reducing to 42 and then 36 days, we know the body is getting more in balance and things are improving.

If, on the other side, a woman is starting to see many small clots in the bleed when they weren’t there before, you might want to investigate why. Regularly going swimming in a (cold) lake could be a reason for that.

Let’s see what we have covered today:

  • The language of periods is telling us about what sort of imbalances are affecting the reproductive system.
  • The signs to look for are, amongst others, the length of the cycle, the colour of the bleed and how heavy it is as well as the presence of clots.
  • Each symptom tells us inside information on the environment the egg is developing and the embryo is growing.
  • And this will enable your acupuncturist to find the right treatment for you as well as the suitable self-care activities.



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