Although it is unlikely, it is still possible to get pregnant whilst on your period for three reasons.
Your menstrual cycle from the very first time you get your period versus your menstrual cycle the last time you get your period may be completely different as your cycle changes over time. Once you get your first period, your cycle may be longer which means that more time may pass between when your period starts to when the next one is coming. For a teenage girl, a typical cycle is between 21 to 45 days. Over time, a period generally gets shorter and more predictable averaging about 21 to 35 days.
Hormone changes that happen during perimenopause can throw your cycle out of loop. The time between periods may get shorter or longer and you can have heavier or lighter bleeding during your period. This phase can last up to 10 years before reaching menopause when you get your last period.
Gradual and slight period changes are generally normal however sudden and unusual issues such as heavy bleeding and missed periods are not. If you notice anything unusual, it is recommended to talk to your doctor to investigate or understand further.
Generally, one or two weeks before you start you period you might experience breakouts, sluggishness, cravings, bloating and mood swings. That is known as PMS which for every woman is different but very common. Doctors don’t know exactly why PMS occurs but believes it to be a mix of hormone changes during your cycle, chemical changes in the brain and other existing emotional issues (such as depression etc.) that can make PMS worse.
Studies show that during the ten days leading up to a woman’s period, she is more likely to go shopping and spend money more than any other time of the month. University of Hertfordshire’s Professor Pine surveyed almost 500 women about their spending habits to see how they correlated with their menstrual cycles. The results found that 60% of the surveyed women admitted to impulse shopping in the later stages of their cycle.
When on your period, it may feel as though your flow never stops, however women generally lose between a few tablespoons and a cup of blood each period. The NYU Medical Centre says that “your bleeding is probably normal as long as you do not have to change a soaked tampon or pad more than every two hours.” The blood you actually lose seems so little considering a period lasts around seven days.
I’m sure that at some point in your life your period has lined up to your mum, your close girl friends or your sister; however, this may just be a coincidence. Science seems to oppose each side to the argument that periods may or may not be a real thing. Research conducted in 1971 by psychologist Martha McClintock from the University of Chicago found that women’s bodies react to other women’s pheromones when we are around them. She believed that this is what causes our cycles to sink. However, other research recently conducted found that out of 350 pairs of women, only 79 of their cycles synced up. There are studies that have been conducted on either side to prove if period syncing is real or not however nothing has entirely confirmed if it’s true or not.
This statement does not suggest that you should lose weight in order to avoid your period. In fact, having a regular cycle is important and healthy for your body.
When a woman’s body weight falls below eight to twelve percent, her period may stop. This may happen because oestrogen levels are partially determined by fat cells. Women who lose weight and re-gain it may experience missed periods whenever they lose too much weight.
When a woman is on her period, her cognitive ability can be reduced because of period-related pains such as cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, backaches, headaches and nausea. These period-related pains can influence how a woman feels and thinks which can directly affect her cognitive ability. A 2014 study found that “menstrual cramps may interfere with attention span, switching and dividing between two tasks, and selective attention.” Period-related pains have the ability to completely cloud your thinking which makes it harder to focus on the tasks at hand. Although period-related pains can potentially make daily tasks more difficult, you may still be able to complete them, it might just take a little more work.
Funnily enough, your messiest time of the month seems to be when your sex drive is potentially at its highest. There are a few reasons to support why this may be the case.
It has been hypothesised that around the time of ovulation into the second half of your cycle, your immune system becomes suppressed so that your body doesn’t reject sperm and if you get pregnant, it doesn’t reject the embryo. Leading up to your period, your body is also more sensitive to allergens as a result of lower immune function.
If you suffer from irregular periods, it is important to visit your doctor to investigate further.
Sleeping with the curtains open during a full moon or sleeping with a nightlight or dim hallway/bathroom light may actually help your period cycle. Both natural sunlight, moonlight and indoor lighting affect melatonin (the sleep hormone) which controls the release of the hormones that tell your body when your period should start and end.
In the human body, all hormones constantly talk to each other so when one hormone is affected, the others generally are to. Most often spotting is due to low progesterone. When stress levels are high, hormones cortisol and epinephrine kick into gear which depletes other hormones such as pregnenolone and progesterone which can lead to spotting between periods.
A study published in 2014 found that 73% of women surveyed experienced abdominal pain and diarrhoea before and during their periods. Before the start of your period your progesterone levels considerably drop which causes your uterine lining to shed. When this happens, prostaglandins simulates muscles contractions in a woman’s uterus. If too many prostaglandins are released, it can affect the bowels and lead to diarrhoea.
Medical Disclaimer: Articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. Ask a medical professional if you have any health-related questions or concerns.
Fowler, P. (2021). 5 things you may not know about your period. https://www.webmd.com/women/5-things-about-your-period
Jardim, N. (2020). 10 weird facts you didn’t know about your period. https://nicolejardim.com/10-period-facts/
Kaylene. (2016). 15 things you still don’t know about your period. https://www.thetalko.com/15-things-you-still-dont-know-about-your-period/
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