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  • Writer's pictureNarelle

Stop and Go Menstrual Flow



Is your period not behaving the way it should be? Is it coming to a screeching halt mid bleed, like a traffic jam on a major freeway, only to flow freely again a day or two later?

"Stop and Go Flow" is my term for periods that start, flow normally for a few days, then stop for a day (or more) and then start again and finish like a normal period. It is really like the “eye of the storm”, a menstrual sabbatical.


Firstly this is not unusual - you are not alone. Many women experience this. In fact this blog was triggered by numerous women asking me about this and from my own experience. But then my period is getting ready to hand her boots up for retirement (although that is another story…).


So here are a few possible reasons.


Firstly the endometrial lining (the thing that sheds) doesn’t always come away from the uterine wall at a steady rate. It sheds at its own pace. This means some periods are heavy and others are light and some periods will slow down or stop mid cycle before restarting. I call this the “perimenopausal lucky dip” in that you never know what you are going to get each period. But it can also happen randomly, regularly and whenever it feels like it.


Secondly, your period is actually a mixture of blood, endometrial tissue, secretions from your vagina and cervix, and bacteria.* Sometimes our periods are free flowing and sometimes there are clots. And these clots or clumps of menstrual tissue can block the cervix preventing (or reducing) the blood and tissue leaving the body. The blockage creates a pause until it clears and flow returns.


Hormonal levels can also be the culprit of the “Stop and Go Flow”, specifically changing levels of oestrogen and progesterone. Both of these hormones need to drop to instruct the uterine lining to shed. Sometimes at this time the oestrogen remains too high or the progesterone won't budge and hangs around too long. Then toward the end of your period, oestrogen begins it’s rise and this can cause menstrual tissue to thicken and affect the flow (or block the cervix). This scenario is really common in perimenopausal women as well as girls when they just start having periods.


Your uterus might also be flexed. Sounds like some sort of fabulous muscular strong power lifting uterus but really it just means the uterus is tipped backwards so that its fundus** or opening of the uterus is aimed toward the rectum. It is a malpositioned uterus and quite common. In relation to your period stopping and then starting again, it just means it may affect your ability to release the menstrual blood evenly and fluidly.


Plus there are a whole plethora of lifestyle factors that can affect the flow - stress, weight loss, over exercising, breast feeding, certain medications and hormonal contraception.


Stop and Go Flow is very common and as long as it occurs within your normal cycle length then you shouldn’t worry too much. Enjoy the brief intermission before the second act begins. But if it is unusual and is accompanied by heavy bleeding or pain, or you are worried, then please check in with your Medical Practitioner.

Your uterus might also be flexed. Sounds like some sort of fabulous muscular strong power lifting uterus but really it just means the uterus is tipped backwards so that it's fundus** or opening of the uterus is aimed toward the rectum. It is a malpositioned uterus and quite common. In relation to your period stopping and then starting again, it just means it may affect your ability to release the menstrual blood evenly and fluidly.

** This is a fabulous word




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