During each cycle, approximately 100 millilitres of blood are lost. The blood flow will vary according to age, constitution, lifestyle, mental state and any drugs being taken. Each menstrual cycle usually lasts 3—5 days, though in some women it may last 7 days. Menstrual blood is usually light red at the beginning of a cycle, deep red in the middle and pinkish towards the end. A normal blood flow does not contain clots. Questions about a woman's cycle are vitally important to establish where the imbalances are and the best way to correct them prior to conceiving.
• Early periods may be the result of Spleen Qi deficiency or of Heat in the Blood.
• Late periods, where the cycle lasts 40-50 days, may be caused by Blood deficiency, a cold Uterus, Kidney Yang deficiency or by Qi stagnation.
• Irregular periods may be due to Liver Qi stagnation, Kidney Yang deficiency or Kidney Yin deficiency.
• Heavy periods may signify Qi deficiency, Heat in the Blood or Blood stasis.
• Pain before, during or after a period is significant, depending on where it is felt:
♦ pain in the mid to lower abdomen may mean Blood stagnation
♦ pain on both sides of the abdomen suggests Qi stagnation
♦ painful breasts suggest Liver Qi stagnation
♦ lower back pain may mean Kidney deficiency.
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