5 Common Period Issues During Winter: From Severe Cramps to Fatigue
By NCVC Staff | Published on Oct 09, 2023
Winter brings with it chilly temperatures and reduced exposure to the sunshine vitamin, both of which can contribute to heightened discomfort during menstruation. While all we may want to do is curl up in bed, it’s important to understand the root causes of these issues and how to manage them effectively. Let’s delve into the 5 common period problems that tend to worsen in winter.
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Why Do Period Issues Worsen in the Winter?
Seasonal changes, particularly during winter, can have a significant impact on the menstrual cycle. As women tend to stay indoors and avoid physical activity, the lack of sun exposure can negatively affect their menstrual health. Additionally, low immunity during this season further exacerbates the problem. Let’s explore the causes behind these menstrual issues, as explained by Dr. Sushruta Mokadam, a senior consultant obstetrician and gynecologist at Motherhood Hospital.
1. Hormonal Imbalance:
Research has shown that menstrual periods tend to be shorter in the summer compared to winter. This occurs due to increased hormone release and decreased ovulation during the colder months, resulting in longer cycles.
2. Low Immunity:
Women often experience a decrease in immunity during winter, making them more susceptible to various health problems. These changes in the immune system can also impact the menstrual cycle.
3. Lack of Vitamin D:
Sun deprivation during winter can slow down the thyroid and endocrine systems, leading to a lower metabolism and longer menstrual cycles. Moreover, a decrease in the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) during winter worsens other symptoms.
4. PMS Symptoms:
The winter season can intensify premenstrual symptoms, such as mood swings. Deficiency in vitamin D can contribute to increased abdominal pain, cramping, and irregularity in the menstrual cycle.
5. Arterial Contraction:
When it’s cold outside, your arteries contract, thereby restricting blood flow and making your heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body. This can result in more painful menstrual cycles.
Now that we understand factors like reduced sunshine, lower metabolism, infrequent ovulation, hormonal changes, decreased immunity, and deficient levels of vitamin D and magnesium can affect the menstrual cycle, let’s explore the 5 most common period problems that may arise due to these causes.
Hormonal changes during the colder months can cause a dip in blood sugar levels, leading to sugar cravings. In addition, serotonin, the feel-good chemical in our bodies, can make us crave foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Consequently, women often experience a constant urge to satisfy their cravings during their period.
2. Longer Period Cycle
While an abnormally long period cycle may be a cause for concern, the winter season itself can also contribute to its prolongation. Hormonal imbalances triggered by the colder weather can result in longer menstrual cycles.
3. Period Pain
When blood vessels contract during winter, it can impair blood flow, intensifying period discomfort and pain.
4. Period Bloating
Digestive problems tend to worsen during the menstrual cycle and in colder months. A lack of fluid intake and dietary fiber deficiency are the primary factors contributing to period bloating and constipation.
5. Menstrual Fatigue
A heavy menstrual cycle can lead to period tiredness or fatigue. The shorter days of winter and a deficiency in vitamin D are major contributors to this weariness.
How to Manage Period Problems?
There are several ways to manage period problems during winter. Increasing your vitamin D intake prior to your period can be beneficial. Including foods like orange juice, cereals, tuna, and salmon in your diet can help. Ginger tea is also known to relieve period cramping, while hot water bottles provide comfort for cramps. It is important to avoid junk food, oily and processed foods, and instead focus on consuming fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and lentils. Lastly, a warm shower can alleviate period pain and leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed. Remember to change your pad every 4 hours, particularly during heavy flow.
By understanding the causes behind these common period issues during winter and adopting effective management strategies, you can navigate this time of the year with greater ease. Stay warm, take care of yourself, and prioritize your well-being during your menstrual cycle.