Cramps, headaches and a lacklustre mood may be the most common side effects of your period, but sadly they’re far from the only impact your menstrual cycle has on your health and wellbeing. In fact, throughout all four stages of your menstrual cycle (more on what happens to your body during each stage here) your body is going through a rollercoaster of internal changes, which might explain why you don’t always feel like yourself, or at your best.
Your menstrual cycle can have a significant impact on your digestion, gastrointestinal health, thyroid function and hormones, emotional wellbeing, libido, and sleep. Being aware of how your body responds during each stage of the cycle will help you become better in tune with your body, and deal with the changes as needed.
During menstruation (the day or two before) our bodies tend to go into ‘rest' mode so digestive processes slow down - hence why you may be feeling bloated or experiencing constipation. To combat this, it's important to focus on gentle exercises like yoga or walking, as well as eating nutrient-dense foods like nuts, oats, and dark leafy greens which are all filled with vitamins and minerals needed for healthy digestion.
Your hormonal fluctuations during each phase may also affect your thyroid health and hormone balance as too much estrogen can lead to an underactive thyroid while too little progesterone has been known to disrupt hormone production in general. Eating iodine-rich foods such as seaweed and fish alongside supplementing with selenium (found in Brazil nuts) can help support optimal functioning here. Additionally, keep your stress levels in check with the help of activities like journaling or attending therapy sessions can be beneficial in the long run!
It's no secret that PMS symptoms such as mood swings, depression, and anxiety are all common issues faced by many of us around our period: the cause is often due to low serotonin levels and hormones like progesterone being released into the body right around this time of month. Address any underlying issues that you may have first then consider holistic approaches such as acupuncture or meditation which are great for increasing mental clarity and reducing overall stress.
During ovulation (roughly 14 days after menstruation) our libido tends to increase due to high estrogen levels - this is usually when couples feel most connected physically! Other than this spike, however, there may be dips due to hormonal changes - women experiencing low testosterone level will typically experience lowered sexual desire while those with higher levels don't necessarily need this spike to feel aroused thus making them better able to respond sexually throughout different phases of the menstrual cycle. If you do encounter an issue here, then discussing it with your partner openly is always highly recommended. And head to our guide for the many different ways you can experience an orgasm.
Having trouble sleeping around your period? Not getting quality rest throughout your other phases? These issues could be related directly back to hormonal imbalances so it's important not only to eat nutritiously and get adequate exercise but also try to identify any underlying medical conditions that might be exacerbating the problem. Incorporating relaxing activities into your evening routine such as a warm bath or reading a book can help promote relaxation before bedtime and support good sleep hygiene habits in general.
Overall, understanding the impact of menstrual health on digestion, GI health, thyroid function and hormones, emotion wellbeing and sleep quality is essential for maintaining balanced functioning throughout different stages of your life. If anything feels off, then speaking openly with a doctor about options available is always encouraged first before taking further steps towards managing any issues you might encounter along the way.