Periods are literally more unexpected than the weather. Sometimes they’re super heavy and feel like you’re bleeding on behalf of five of your besties, while other times you don’t even get it for three full days and can get away with using a liner. Additionally, why is it that sometimes you’re right on schedule whereas other times you’re off by a few days? There’s no consistency!
Then you get to the whole other topic of Premenstrual Syndrome, otherwise known as PMS. It’s a freaking jigsaw puzzle; why are your cramps coming on random days? Why do your boobs hurt some days but not others? Are you really having a hormonal breakdown or not? How can you figure all of this out and pinpoint causes when nothing ever appears to be the same month after month.
Evidently, the root of your inconsistency with periods has a lot to do with lifestyle choices and how hormones respond to it.
According to Dr. Sandy Knauf, PMS occurs when estrogen and progesterone are at their peak right before you bleed. Estrogen can trigger bloating, changes in sleep pattern, headaches, and mood swings. Meanwhile, progesterone is solely responsible for your hormonal breakouts, cravings, fatigue, irritability and breast tenderness.
So that gives us a good indicator as to which hormones in our body control certain side effects we experience. But why does the intensity of your period fluctuate all the damn time?
Two experts have recently broken down certain things that may affect your period a lot more than you think. But let’s break this down into categories, shall we?
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Dr. Jessica Shepherd, a woman’s health expert, says when you don’t get enough sleep, especially during that time of the month, you’ll probably feel annoyed and groggy. This adds stress to your body and affects your hormones. It can actually make your period irregular as well. So having a regular sleep pattern is extremely important for your health!
You’ve Been Eating a Lot of Processed Foods
You know the moment when you’re period comes and you want to eat everything in your reach. Well, don’t reach for processed foods. Dr. Shepherd warns that processed foods pumped with white sugar and flour cause inflammation. To help with inflammation, she encourages women to eat more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables during your period. Sometimes it’s even good to take a probiotic to help normalize the pH balance in your body.
Your Flow Is Heavy
Dr. Heather Bartos, MD, board certified OBGYN, says that our uterine lining sometimes decides to shed more than normal to self-clean itself. Sadly, we are never aware of the fact that our uteruses are doing some extra “cleaning” until it happens. She explained that stress, hormone changes, being “late” and normal fluctuations of hormones can contribute to the change in your flow. She warns though, that if your period is heavier than normal, your symptoms might be more intense too.
Additionally, to all of these listed above, stress obviously is a huge factor as to why our bodies change around that time of the month. Stress has the ability to make our periods seem worse or even get rid of it (which isn’t as healthy as you wish it was). So try to de-stress as much as possible so your periods are a little more tolerable Obviously, there are still some symptoms we can’t change because our body will create those hormones naturally and it’s out of our control. But we can help alter our lifestyle to try and help with what we know we can control.
So, there you have it! You can basically thank your stress levels and lifestyle habits for making your periods suck. Now let’s all wonder what else we can try and change to help minimize our chances of having painful periods.
Image credit by Kristina Petrick