Truth time: periods, for the most part, aren’t particularly pleasant. And I say ‘for the most part’ because sometimes it’s kind of nice to wear your saggiest undies under your roomiest dress to work, and simply not care because hey, at least you actually left the house. Hormonal rant aside, That Time Of The Month can actually do some very, very weird things to your body too. Find out what they are here:
1. Your bathroom habits may change
You might have noticed a change to your usual poop routine during your period. This is due to progesterone changes in the cycle, which can alter intestinal motility and bowel movements.
While it may make some of us a little blocked up, this hormonal shift can also have the opposite effect on others, causing more frequency in toilet visits and in some cases, diarrhoea.
2. You might feel a little ~frisky~
That same dip in progesterone can also be held responsible for the reason why you might suddenly find yourself attracted to just about every Tom, Dick and Harry that walks by you in a suit.
During this time, even the cheesiest pick-up lines may send you into a hot mess of eyelash fluttering and hair flicks.
3. Your voice can change
A 2011 study found that the menstrual cycle can alter a woman’s voice, so much so, that men were actually able to detect a difference.
From recordings taken before and during, male participants had a 35 per cent success rate in determining when a woman was on her period.
And while that may not sound like a high achievement, it’s a considerably better rate than if they were to simply guess.
4. Your brain may stay in Monday mode
A 2014 study has kindly provided us with the reason why we may feel particular dopey during our time of the month.
Researchers found that pain caused by menstrual cramps actually impacted brain function and cognitive ability, which in turn negatively affected test scores, multi-tasking ability and attention span.
5. Your skin can become super sensitive
Anyone who’s ever had a bikini wax during their period can vouch for this…
The release of prostaglandin hormones, which help the uterine lining shed, make the body significantly more pain sensitive.
Not only that, prostaglandin also makes the blood vessels more constricted, causing that delightfully blotchy flush.
6. Your gums can become swollen
During your period, you may become more susceptible to oral health problems due to hormonal changes, according to some medical experts.
Some women experience oral changes that can include bright red swollen gums, canker sores, bleeding gums, and more. Ouch!
7. You will be more prone to yeast infections
“When your period begins, the pH in your vagina changes,” says Dr Jane Frederick MD. “This change can result in bacteria or yeast growth causing an infection.
If a woman is experience recurrent infections during her period, her physician may prescribe birth control to help with the ph levels.”
8. Your body is generally more sensitive
Getting a wax while you’re menstruating could prove to be particularly painful, as your genital area is much more sensitive during this time.
In fact, women are more sensitive to pain overall, according to research from the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills.
9. You cannot sleep
23 percent of women report disrupted sleep in the week before their periods, and 30 percent report disrupted sleep during them, according to research from the National Sleep Foundation.
This occurs because of the change in your body temperature from hormones, increased stress and anxiety, and increased cramps and muscle pain.
10. You will experience joint pain
In addition to all those cramps and muscle soreness, you can also get pain in your joints, especially in the knees.
According to a study presented at the Integrative Biology of Exercise Conference, your knees work differently at different points in your menstrual cycle, which could destabilise your joints and cause pain.
11. You're Susceptible To Painful Headaches
According to Alyssa Dweck MD at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, “At the end of you cycle, estrogen levels take a nose-drive, which could trigger headaches or migraines,” she told Health.com.
12. You'll Have A Keener Sense Of Smell
While we’ve personally never experienced this, a study done in 2013 by Scientific American, women who aren’t on contraceptives were more sensitive to the odours of male musk and pheromones.
13. You're At A Higher Risk Of Getting A UTI
Gynecologist Dr. Felice Gersh of Integrative Medical Group of Irvine, told Hello Giggles that we’re more susceptible to getting a UTI around our periods.
“While UTIs are generally correlated with sexual activity, they tend to appear around your period. Estrogen is anti-inflammatory and this hormone is at its lowest during your menstrual bleed, so you can be more susceptible during this time.”
14. Your Uterus Gets Bigger In Size
You may have seen that photo that claims to show the size between a non-menstruating uterus and a menstruating uterus.
While it might not always be this way for every woman, the truth is, your uterus does grow in size — slightly.
OB-gyn Sherry Ross, told Glamour that your uterus grows about 10 to 15 per cent its regular size. This happens because the lining of the uterus thickens and causes your uterus walls to swell. Additionally, having your period means you’ll feel bloated and experience water retention as well, which could also lead to you feeling heavier than usual.