Dear God, it’s me, Richelle. Why do periods exist? Could we just have a fairy knock on our door each month exclaiming that we are not pregnant instead? That seems like it would be much easier! That’s all! Thanks!
No matter how much we dread it, our periods will continue to come every month and bring with it its bundle of trouble. If you’re on birth control, you might not be too thrown off by its presence, but many girls have awful menstrual cycles. I’ve gotten cramps so bad that I’ve had to throw up, and I have colleagues that take entire days off of work during their time of the month. It would be nice if we could all use getting our period as an excuse to hide from the world for a week, but that’s a luxury hardly any of us are able to afford.
You would think periods would only affect the uterus (as that is the guy doing all of the dirty work), but it actually wreaks havoc on many parts of your body. Menstruation causes hormones to be released and they affect your whole body. The lower back is connected to the uterus through nerves, the hormones cause changes in things like your voice, and the pain can cause our brains to not work as well. Hey, no one said being a woman was easy!
Here are some weird things that happen when you get your period (besides, you know, bleeding out of your vagina):
You Get Period DiarrheaWhen you're menstruating, a hormone is released called Prostaglandin that causes muscles in your uterus (and bowels) to contract. If you're spending more time on the toilet during "that time of the month," it's due to the cramping. Source: iStock
You Perform Worse On TestsIf your grades start to slip during your period, there is research to support that your brain function goes down when your uterus starts to cramp. Ed Keogh, a lead researcher in the study, said, "We found across all these tasks a general dampening of performance. [The women who were menstruating] were slightly slower or slightly less accurate then when they’re not in pain. This shows that the effects of pain go beyond the sensory experience, affecting what we think and feel." You might not be able to use Aunt Flo as an excuse to get out of your finals, but taking care of yourself during your period by exercising and taking pain medication can help you keep your head in the game. Source: iStock
Your Voice ChangesThey hormones released during your period affect many areas of your body, including your voice! Psychologist Nathan Peptone and Gordon Gallup did a study on this phenomenon and concluded that a woman's voice is more attractive to men during ovulation and least attractive during menstruation. (It's all about chemistry, baby!) The researchers stated that "the sound of a person's voice contains a surprising amount of reproductively relevant information.” If your boyfriend seems to a sixth sense as to when you're on your period, it could be due to the changes in your voice. Source: iStock
The pH In Your Vagina IncreasesDr. Jennifer Wider of the Society of Women's Health Research points out that during your period your vaginal PH rises. This is bad news for yeast infections, as they have a lesser chance of forming in that environment. Huzzah! However, it can increase the likelihood that you contract a bacterial infection (creating extra discharge and fishy smell.) *Insert sad face emoji here* Source: iStock
Your Boobs Get BiggerProgesterone (which is released during your period) causes the expansion of milk ducts in your breaks. This makes them all achy and swollen. Sure, it's nice that they are a little plumper, but why do they have to hurt, too?! Source: iStock
You Get Back PainObviously you get cramps in your uterus during your period, but that pain also affects your lower back and upper legs. Why? Because the nerves in that region of our body are all connected. Dr. Elizabeth Lyster of Holtorf Medical Group explains, "It's like a nest where the twigs are all intertwined. So if something feels irritating on one side [like the abdomen], you may feel it on the other side [such as the lower back] just as easily." If only we could have our periods without the need for uterine contraction! Source: iStock
You Get BloatedAll those hormones released before and during your period cause a lot of water retention (i.e. bloating). Not only are you cursed with pain from cramping, you have to feel like whale, too! During your period, your instestines may also relax and expand (which creates bloating and gas). #NotComfortable. To help prevent bloating, be sure to avoid salty foods that make you retain water. Source: iStock
You Get Blood ClotsIf you've ever noticed a thick mass of blood during your period, you're not alone: this tends to happen during the heaviest part of your flow. According to ruby-cup.com, anticoagulants are released during menstruation to break down the thick uterine lining. Sometimes, though, your period starts leaving your body so fast that the the anticoagulants don't have a chance to work their magic. As gross as they look, blood clots while "riding the crimson wave" are just par for the course. Source: iStock
Do weird things happen to you during your period? Let me know in the comments below!