Have you noticed that your period flow has suddenly increased with the changing weather conditions? Well then we must tell you that you are not alone. Whatever you feel during your periods right from these menstrual cramps to crazy mood swings, it all gets amplified during winters. With the days being shorter and night longer, your periods and premenstrual health also gets affected. If you are wondering why we are educating you about the length of a day while talking about menstruation then you must know that there is a direct relation between the two. Shorter days eventually result in less sun exposure which means that the body gets less vitamin D during this season. Excessive pain during periods is caused due to the secretion of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. Vitamin D is an effective nutrient that tends to lower the production of this hormone and provide relief from period pain. Let us take a step ahead to understand more about the relation between our periods and the change in season with Dr. Bharti Kalra, Head, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Bharti Hospital, Karnal.
Do Periods become heavier during Winters?
Just like other things around us, change in season also takes a toll on our menstrual cycle. During these winter months one might experience a heavier flow than usual, painful cramps and the chilli days tend to mess up with your mood a lot. Premenstrual symptoms also tend to go worse during this season due to lack of physical activity and spending more time indoors. Another reason behind these unbearable menstrual cramps during winters is the lack of vitamin D found in women due to shorter days and staying indoors. Dr. Bharti explains that-
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“Menstrual cramps occur because of high prostaglandins pgE2 and pgF2 alpha secreted by progesterone withdrawal and shedded endometrium in the uterine cavity causing pain. Vitamin D reduces gene expression for prostaglandins pgE2 formation. If 300000 units of vitamin D are given to a woman for 5 days before menses, it can help reduce menses pain.”
What is the relation between season and your flow?
A question that would be living in all your mind’s relentlessly is, what does the outside weather have to do with our menstrual cycle? You all must know that the outside environment and weather conditions have a direct relation with what goes inside of our body as with the season our lifestyle habits tend to choose as well.
Where in winters most of us love to snuggle inside heavy, warm and cozy blankets, there is a reduction in a person’s physical activity. Staying active and working out leads to release of hormones that in turn results in lighter flow, lesser cramps and helps to subtle down the changes during your periods.
An important nutrient also known as the sunshine nutrient, vitamin D is known to increase the calcium absorption that results in stronger bones. Deficiency of this nutrient in body can lead to several health issues. Not just healthy bones but vitamin D has a relati with your menstrual cycle as well. As the days become shorter during the winter season, there is less sunlight present and hence the body gets less vitamin D.
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Menstrual pain and other discomfort such as nausea and vomiting is caused due to the secretion of a hormone-like substance called prostaglandins. High levels of prostaglandins tends to alleviate the PMS symptoms in women. Vitamin D is one such nutrient that can help to curb and lower the production of this chemical substance while providing relief from the discomfort caused.
Ways to manage these symptoms
- Well you can not change the weather but can surely change some of your lifestyle habits and can inculcate some good ones into your routine. Here are a few practices that you can indulge in, to manage the symptoms of PMS and ease the pain during winter season.
- Stay active and perform some kind of physical activity
- Maintain an optimum weight
- Use hot compress in form of heating pads or hot water bottles
- Eat a healthy and well balanced diet
Apart from all this, Dr. Bharti also suggests that- “In order to reduce the menstrual pain and uneasiness during this season, one can also take 300000 units of vitamin D about 5 days before menses as it can help reduce menses pain.
With inputs from Dr. Bharti Kalra, Head, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Bharti Hospital, Karnal