Ways Exercise Affects Your Period
If youre someone who loves a good workout , its important for you to know how exercise affects your period.
We all know that exercise is good for you in a lot of significant ways.
“In general, exercise is good,”Dr. Cordelia Carter, orthopedic surgeon and Director of Womens Sports Medicine at NYU Langone, tells Bustle. “There are data to support a role for regular exercise in mitigating period-related symptoms. One recent study out of Taiwan found that women who exercised reported fewer backaches, headaches, and less general bodily discomfort and period-related pain. They also had fewer GI symptoms like diarrhea and constipation, and reported fewer mood swings specifically, women who exercised had less irritability, emotional lability and fewer symptoms of depression or ‘feeling down’ than women who didnt.”
Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control report that regular exercise can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
Basically, exercise can be magic for your body. However, if youre a person who menstruates, then you need be aware of how exercise interacts with your period especially if you have an intense workout regimen. Thats because, although exercise can promote general good health and help to alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS, too much exercise can create problems for your menstrual cycle, which, in turn, can lead to other major health problems.
Ways Exercise Can Change Your Period
Spotting, mood swings and just feeling “blah” … getting your period is not exactly a party. And menstrual symptoms can affect your workouts â after all, it can be tough to train when you have cramps. But is the reverse also true: Does exercise affect your period, too?
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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, common physical symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include:
- Breast tenderness
- Swelling of the hands and feet
- Mood changes like irritability, anxiety, depression and social withdrawal
- Poor concentration
- Changes in sexual desire
Despite these symptoms, doctors agree that it’s perfectly OK to work out if you want to. In fact, it’s encouraged â exercise is one way to reduce PMS symptoms, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
But sometimes, working out can change your period. Here are the ways exercise can affect your period, for better and for worse.
Exercise can change your period by causing a lighter, shorter or postponed flow and can reduce PMS symptoms. However, exercise can also change your menstrual cycle by causing breakthrough bleeding or missed periods.
Up The Magnesium In Your Diet
Dietary magnesium seems to help ease the pain of cramps, says DeJarra Sims, ND, a faculty member at Bastyr University in San Diego and the author of Your Healthiest Life Now.
If you want to take a magnesium supplement, Dr. Sims suggests speaking with your doctor, since the dose you need depends on the severity of your cramps along with other factors.
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Birth Control Pills May Lessen Painful Cramping Too
While not exactly a home remedy, birth control pills and hormonal intrauterine devices are potential tools in your anticramping arsenal and should not be overlooked, Thielen says.
Consider cramp relief a benefit to some types of contraception. Many women find relief from painful cramps when they start the pill, Thielen says. Hormonal birth control typically lessens the amount of bleeding, and less bleeding can translate into fewer cramps, she says.
Is It Normal For My Period To Stop At Night
Is it normal for my period to stop at night? My pad hardly has anything on it in the morning. Serena*
It might seem like your period stops at night, but what you’re noticing is probably gravity at work. When a girl is standing up, gravity helps blood flow out the vagina. But if she’s lying down, blood doesn’t flow out as easily, especially on lighter flow days. It’s like when you hold a bottle of water upside down: Gravity makes the water pour out much faster than it does when you hold the bottle on its side.
If you notice a pad has barely any blood on it when you get up in the morning, that’s most likely what’s going on. Your flow will start up again as gravity plays its part.
On days when you bleed a lot, night flow can be heavy too. So protect yourself by wearing a high-absorbancy nighttime pad, just in case.
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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Can Bad Period Cramps Be A Sign Of Something Else
Period cramps usually dont signify that something is wrong with your health. But in some cases they can be a symptom of a medical condition:
- Endometriosis This disorder occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often adhering to your bladder, ovaries, or even your bowels.
- Uterine Fibroids These are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They can range in size from one tiny speck to several bulky masses.
- Adenomyosis Tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow inside the organs muscle wall.
Pain from these conditions may seem like period pain, but it typically lasts longer and can be more severe than your usual menstrual cramps.
If you experience this type of pain, its important to see your doctor, Thielen says.
Do Transgender Guys Get A Period
Not everybody who gets a period identifies as a girl or woman. Transgender men and genderqueer people who have uteruses, vaginas, fallopian tubes, and ovaries also get their periods.
Having a period can be a stressful experience for some trans folks because it’s a reminder that their bodies dont match their true gender identity this discomfort and anxiety is sometimes called gender dysphoria. Other trans people might not be too bothered by their periods. Either reaction is normal and okay.
Sometimes trans people who havent reached puberty yet take hormones to prevent all of the gendered body changes that happen during puberty, including periods. And people who already get periods can use certain types of birth control that help lighten or stop their periods. Hormone replacement therapy, like taking testosterone, may also stop your period.
If you start taking testosterone, your period will go away. But this is reversible if you stop taking testosterone, your period will come back. There can be some changes in your menstrual cycle before it stops for good. Periods get lighter and shorter over time, or come when you dont expect it. You may have spotting or cramping every once in a while until you stop getting your period, and sometimes even after it seems to have stopped this is normal. Testosterone injections make your periods go away faster than testosterone cream.
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Changes In Your Periods
Your periods can change for example, they may last longer or get lighter. This does not necessarily mean there’s a problem, but it does need to be investigated.
You can see your GP, or visit your nearest women’s clinic or contraceptive clinic.
It might be caused by an infection, abnormalities in the neck of the womb or, in rare cases, it could be cancer.
You could be pregnant if you miss a period and you’ve had sex. See your GP if you’ve taken a pregnancy test and the result is negative and you’ve missed 3 consecutive periods.
They will investigate the cause and recommend any necessary treatment.
Read more about stopped or missed periods.
Ultimately If You Want To Get Your Period In Line With Your Schedule Talk To Your Health Care Provider
I get the most questions about how to manipulate a cycle when someone is going on vacation or getting married, Dr. Minkin says. Theyre used to this. See your doctor, explain how often youd like to get your period , and whether thats just for convenience or because your period makes life awful every time it comes around. No matter your specific situation, your doctor should at the very least have an idea of where to start.
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Menstruation Is Messy But Not Dirty
There is a very subtle but important distinction here:
- Does your period make a mess? Yes.
- Are you dirty during your period? No.
It may make a big mess but there is nothing inherently dirty about your menstruation. Remember why you bleed every month. You bleed because you didnt get pregnant. Your normal menstrual cycle is all about your fertility.
Many cultures and religions have attached negative attitudes to menstruation giving the impression that a person who is menstruating is dirty. Medically this is just not true.
Your menstrual flow is made up of blood and the lining of your uterus. These parts of your body are not dirty. Your menstrual flow passes from your uterus and out through your vagina.
Don’t You Wish Your Periods Could Be Shorter And Lighter Well It Can Be Made Possible
Every month as you deal with cramps during periods, all you want is for the dreaded five days to pass in a blur. But not every wish comes true, right? Wrong. While it’s not practically possible to put on a fast-forward mode, you can make your periods end faster than usual.
Here are 4 simple ways to do that:
According to a report published in LiveStrong, exercise can have a significant impact on your menstrual cycle. By keeping fit and maintaining a regular exercise routine, you may shorten and lighten your menstrual flow. Moreover, it’s going to make your period cramps go away. It also reduces stress, and even alleviates mood, because of the release of ‘happy hormones’ called endorphins.
Bank on vitamin C
According to a report published in the blog Menstrual Cycle Calculator, “If you take this vitamin in right amount, it can reduce the level of progesterone inside your uterus and help to shed the walls of your uterus a lot quicker. This will help to end your menstrual cycle faster than normal.” However, make sure you drink lots of water and consult a doctor before taking in large doses of vitamin C.
Have Lots of Sex
Use sanitary napkins instead of tampons
So there you go ladies, happy periods!
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Exercise Can Also Help With Other Symptoms Of Pms
The benefits of exercise extend beyond helping you cope with menstrual cramps. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends regular exercise as a treatment for a variety of PMS symptoms, including headaches, depression, and fatigue. The organization stipulates that, for exercise to effectively treat PMS, you should exercise regularly, including on days when youre not having PMS symptoms. .
At the end of the day, as long as you’re working out in moderation, it’s going to be good for you. “Any kind of exercise is likely to be beneficial,” Dr. Carter says. “While it may be tempting to use your period as an excuse to stay on the couch, the data tell us that youll feel better if you stay physically active, doing something fun and enjoyable.” I’ll raise a menstrual cup to that.
This post was originally published on June 1, 2016. It was updated on June 14, 2019.
How To Make Your Period Go Away
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Periods are your body’s way of showing you that your reproductive system is working properly, and not getting your period at all is usually a sign of illness or an unhealthy lifestyle. However, there are ways to make a normal, healthy period last a shorter amount of time. To make your period go away faster, you can use heat, exercise, and other habits that speed the flow of blood while also changing your diet to keep yourself hydrated and maximize your vitamin C intake. Certain medications, like birth control, can also change your cycle and shorten your period long-term.
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Skip The Red Bull Binge / Caffeine Iv
Eight million tons of lead in your limbs with a brain fog that never lifts that’s how you feel all day/everyday when you’re getting your period. But before you reach for an energy drink or a Venti Extra-Caramel Frap vices that combine your need for caffeine with your aforementioned craving for sweetness remember this: All that sugar will make you crash hard, plus it can counter-act caffeine’s diuretic effect. Instead, Dr. Ashton recommends green tea or coffee with just a touch of sugar, if you must.
Who Shouldnt Stop A Period
Girls under the age of 15 should not stop their periods as it is important to observe cycle characteristics such as cycle length, the quantity of blood, and associated symptoms in the first years of menstruation.
Observing the duration and symptoms of a girls cycle will help to evaluate and assess for any concerns related to the reproductive system.
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Instead Of Eating All The Chocolate And French Fries Reach For Healthier Carbs
You’d steamroll anything that stood between you and a plate of cheese fries right about now, yes? The struggle is real, and here’s why: During the week before your period, your brain experiences a dip in serotonin, the chemical that makes you feel happy. Your body’s natural response is to crave foods that trigger instant happiness aka high-fat, high-sugar, high-carb EVERYTHING. The problem? That boost is very, very temporaryand the comedown is even worse. “It’s OK to indulge a little, but what will actually satisfy those cravings best is whole grains or complex carbs,” says Dr. Ashton.
Tampons: Friend Or Foe
Whether you prefer pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, do your thing. But you should know tampons can make your period last longer. Menstrual blood is designed to flow down , and tampons can slow the process.
This is a major bummer if youre not on team sanitary napkin. But if youre really trying to move things along, skip the tampons and try an alternative.
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