5 ways your periods might be affecting your wellbeing
By: Anyango Russo
First of all this post is not professional advice on menstrual cycle. It’s only to raise awareness on how your periods might be affecting your wellbeing. If you think you need professional help then you should get one from a qualified professional.
Like every woman our periods experiences are so different. Some women have pain free, shorter and regular periods while some have longer, painful and irregular periods. It took me a while to realise that my period somehow affected my life in ways I never thought of. Because the symptom would occur weeks before my actual period so it was hard to know why I felt the way I did.
Beside mood swings and the painful cramps have detailed various ways on how your periods might be affecting your wellbeing.
Decreased energy level
Because of the changes in estrogen level you are more likely to experience fatigue in weeks leading to your periods. This is something that took me longer to pin down because my fatigue would kick in weeks before the start of my period. It hugely affected various areas of my life. Then one day I read that my periods could be the culprit. I went to my doctor and we set out to see the patterns.
Tracking your cycle will help you record various changes to your body, mood, appetite and general wellbeing. This will also help you to know when to plan high energy level activities. I now plan my life around my cycle and have added new ways to improve my energy level during my low energy level weeks. I guess the most important thing is I now know when my fatigue is just about to kick in and I know why.
Periods are not too gross, too weird or too inapropriate to talk about.
I use the Flo app to track my cycle. It has free and premium options. The free option has everything you need to get started. Also you will be able to have access to a community of women going through the same thing you might be going through. They also have various hilarious period stories and various period hacks like how to prevent ‘bedtime leaks’.
Your menstrual cycle can also affect your sleep. This can happen 3 to 6 days before the start of your period. So if you usually sleep well but suddenly insomia kicks in a few times each month, then you should consider your period as a potential causes of your insomia. Tracking your cylce for a duration of time should be able to help you be sure.
“Menstrual blood is the only source of blood that is not traumatically induced. Yet in modern society, this is the most hidden blood, the one so rarely spoken of and almost never seen, except privately by women”
– Judy Grahn –
Change in eating habits
Weeks leading to your period you might realise that you feel hungrier than usual and eat more often. This is because our body’s metabolism increases during our menstrual cycle, hence our body spends more energy when we are at rest. So if you find yourself eating more than usual this could be why. It’s important to speak to your doctor about any significant changes to your health. There might be a totally different cause to the changes in your eating.
Being aware that you period can make you highly irritable is the best way to keep yourself accountable. And be on the lookout for triggers and signs. I have to say this is a struggle. So far and workouts and mediation helps a little bit.
” Every story, each poem that a person shares, each voices that speaks against menstrual taboo, inspires me.”
– Additi Gupta –
If you didn’t know periods can cause several mental health issues such as PMDD (Premenstrual dysphoric disorder). The commonly known PMS (premenstrual syndrome) is a symptom that some women experience in weeks leading to their periods. The symptoms may include mood swings, fatigue, tummy pain, skin breakouts and headaches. PMDD is a severe form of PMS. PMDD symptoms are worse because they can have a serious impact on your daily life. PMDD can trigger vaiour mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. And it can also significantly affect your normal daily life. Mind mental health organisation explains in detail what PMDD is and what symptoms to look for and how to get help.
Lastly I would like to emphasize that this is not professional advice. It’s only to raise awareness to something you might need to speak to your doctor about and I hope you found it insightful.