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From severe cramps to fatigue—5 common period issues in winter

Did you know it's possible to experience a change in the menstrual cycle with the change in season? Here are 5 common winter period problems.
papaya seeds
Don't suffer period troubles. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 23 Oct 2023, 11:10 am IST
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Due to the drop in temperature and lower levels of the sunshine vitamin, which is necessary for multiple bodily processes, period pain is more common in the winter. All we want at this point is to curl up in bed with our blanket. But we can’t always do it. So, it is important to understand the actual issue before coming up with solutions. Check out these 5 common period problems that increase in winter.

In an exclusive chat with Health Shots, Dr Sushruta Mokadam, Senior Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune, revealed that winter is not easy for women due to the rise in various period issues.

Why do period issues worsen in the winter?

Seasonal change can impact the menstrual cycle, especially in winter. Women tend to stay inside, warm up in bed and avoid physical activity. This results in sun deprivation during chilly days, which can have a negative impact on one’s menses. One falls sick quickly too. Read about the other causes of menstrual issues during winter, explained by Dr Mokadam:

1. Hormonal imbalance: Various studies have confirmed that menstrual periods are shorter in the summer when compared to the winter. This occurs as a result of increased hormone release and decreased ovulation during winter, which results in longer cycles.

2. Low immunity: A large number of women have low immunity during winter and are prone to various health problems. So, the unpleasant changes in the immune system will have an impact on one’s menses.

period problems
Cold weather can lead to period pain. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Lack of vitamin D: Sun deprivation may lead to a slowing of the thyroid and endocrine systems, which lower metabolism and cause a longer menstrual cycle. Moreover, less follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is released in the winter, making the cycle longer and worsening other symptoms.

4. PMS symptoms: The winter can lead to severe premenstrual symptoms. A person who is found to be deficient in vitamin D may experience mood swings. There can be increased abdominal pain, cramping, and menstrual irregularity.

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5. Arteries contract: Your arteries contract when it’s cold outside, restricting blood flow and making your heart work considerably harder to pump blood throughout the body. This can make the cycle painful.

So now you know that factors like less sunshine, low metabolism, infrequent ovulation, less hormone release, lower immunity, and vitamin D deficiency and magnesium can lead to a variety of menstrual cycle changes. Let’s check out, which common period issues you may experience due to these causes.

Take a look at the 5 most common period issues during winter:

1. Cravings

Hormonal changes in the body during cold weather cause a dip in blood sugar levels, which leads to sugar cravings. In addition, serotonin, a feel-good chemical in your body, is in charge of making you crave foods like sugar and carbohydrates. Due to this, women experience a constant urge to eat something.

period problems
Curbing your cravings with junk food? Think again. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Longer period cycle

Even though an abnormally long period cycle is a cause for concern, the winter season may also be to blame. Hormonal imbalance triggers such period issues.

Also read: 5 age related period problems you must never ignore

3. Period pain

It can impair blood flow and make period discomfort worse when blood vessels contract during the winter.

4. Period bloating

Digestive problems worsen during the menstrual cycle and in colder months. The two primary factors that contribute to period bloating and constipation are a lack of adequate fluid intake and a deficiency in dietary fiber.

period problems
Bloating is common during the period. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. Menstrual fatigue

Period tiredness or fatigue from a heavy menstrual cycle, is a typical side effect. The shorter days of winter and a deficiency in vitamin D are two important contributors to weariness.

How to manage period problems?

Try to raise your vitamin D intake before your period. Have orange juice, cereals, and fatty fish like tuna and salmon. Dr Mokadam says, “Opting for ginger tea can relieve period cramping. Use hot water bottles to ease cramps. Avoid junk, oily, processed, and canned foods. It is imperative to eat fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, and lentils.” Moreover, a warm shower can also reduce period pain and make you feel relaxed and fresh. In case of heavy flow, keep changing the pad after every 4 hours.

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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