The weather can be quite bossy. It “strongly suggests” where we should go, what we should wear, and what modes of transportation to use. It even drives us to eat certain types of food and kind of chooses what activities we can do. And that’s not all. Even Auntie Flo isn’t spared, especially in the wintertime!
We already know that the cold season can seize control of our lives in one way or another. It can keep us indoors and figuratively—even literally—cloud our mood and dampen our groove. But what many of us perhaps don’t realize is the extent of its influence on our monthly cycles. So, can weather affect your period? It definitely can.
The impact of weather on menstruation
If it’s true, then how can weather affect your period? Let us count the ways.
1. Longer periods during the cold season
A 2011 study discovered that menstrual cycles are shorter by 0.9 days during the summer than in the winter. This was also seen in women living in warmer climates. The explanation is the increase in hormone secretion and ovulation frequency in individuals exposed to warmer temperatures. In addition, more sunshine 2 to 3 days before the expected day of ovulation can mean a shorter cycle.
The opposite is true in wintertime or colder places: There is less follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH discharge, and your periods tend to be longer. Also, the frequency of ovulation significantly drops from 97% to 71%. These changes to your monthly cycles can be pretty exhausting.
2. A weaker immune system in winter
Our period may decrease the number of immune cells and tone down their activity. Hormonal fluctuations might explain this. In one cycle, immuno-enhancing estrogen rises and falls twice. When estrogen drops abruptly after ovulation, and again at the end of your period, your immune system becomes weaker than usual. This makes you more susceptible to inflammation.
And if that isn’t enough, the wintry weather just has to join the inflammatory party, making you even more susceptible to colds and viruses.
3. Worse PMS symptoms
By now, you’re pretty intimate with the crimson gang. Headaches, migraines, mood swings, abdominal cramps, and more—nothing new there. But did you know that dark or cloudy skies harbor more bad news? And that’s because winter can worsen premenstrual symptoms. Here are some of the ways that it can go south:
Without enough sun, your vitamin D supply goes down. This can trigger or worsen PMS symptoms, especially during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Additionally, this can impact the body’s absorption of calcium. A deficiency in the vitamin can also result in period irregularities, such as longer follicular phases and menstrual cycles.
The frosty weather can cramp healthy habits that keep PMS symptoms in check. You tend to stay indoors, which typically means less exercise. And slouching it out on the couch won’t help relieve menstrual cramps nor boost your mood (via the release of endorphins),
And then there’s more snacking when at home. Studies show a strong connection between refined carbs and sugary treats and inflammation, which can aggravate PMS symptoms.
The cold season can be quite stressful. Just imagine snow-covered roads, prolonged commutes, more shoveling, flu, cabin fever, and a whole lot more! When your stress level shoots up, your body releases cortisol. This shakes up your body resulting in period irregularities, such as delayed periods—or no mense at all!
During your period, it’s normal to experience migraines, lower back and muscular pain, and abdominal cramps. But the cold weather can make these body aches and pains more severe. One possible reason for this is the narrowing of your blood vessels as your body reacts to the shift in the weather.
As a result, your blood flow is restricted, intensifying your period pain.
Beating the seasonal blues
Weather out your wintry period woes with these simple yet effective hacks:
1. Warm up
Use a heating pad or indulge in a warm bath to relax the blood vessels and lower your period pain-o-meter.
2. Keep moving
Doing light housework and gentle routines like yoga can enhance blood flow and help drive those pesky menstrual cramps and other body aches away. An easy walk in the woods can also help, but bundle up!
3. Light up
Get your dose of sunshine with at-home infrared light devices, like infrared sauna blankets and red light face masks. These can help you load up on vitamin D even when indoors.
4. Eat a healthful diet
Junk refined and processed foods and satisfy your menstrual cravings with more healthful choices. You can still engage in carbs, the complex kind, that is. Examples are hummus avocado on whole wheat, crispy roasted chickpeas, and sweet potatoes. Or indulge in foods rich in B6 and magnesium, which can help you deal with PMS symptoms.
Drink enough water to shorten the length of menstrual bleeding and the intensity of pelvic pain.
6. Get pain relief
If the pain gets worse, take ibuprofen and paracetamol. However, consult your doctor if it increases in severity and becomes debilitating.
7. Put on period wear
Period apparel can help you navigate your monthly cycle with ease and confidence regardless of the season. With leak-proof and stain-free undies, like Ruby Love period apparel, you don’t have to be affected by any change in the weather—on or off your period.
Be assured of quality period wear with Ruby Love. Our Period Underwear is thoughtfully designed with Dri-Tech Mesh that helps stop all front, side, and back leaks for total freedom from stress, any time of the month. Confidently ride the crimson tide, only with Ruby Love Apparel. Check out our gorgeous and “weather-proof” collection today!