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Does your menstrual cycle affect your skin? Keep a check, says an expert

Published on:18 August 2021, 09:56am IST
Your menstrual cycle can have an impact on your skin. Watch out for any unusual rashes and conditions.
Dr Pratima Thamke
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how does your period affect your skin
Don’t take skin rashes lightly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Did you miss your periods? Or did you get it late? If your answer to both the questions is ‘yes’ ladies, you need to beware as it can invite chronic medical conditions or even a skin rash. It could be due to infections like ringworm or chronic skin conditions like eczema. Moreover, if you are having worrisome changes in the skin or especially with your menstrual cycle, consult your doctor to determine the underlying cause at the earliest.

Look out! Do you notice any changes in the skin while you are on your period? Is it embarrassing for you? Do you avoid stepping out of the house due to it?  Yes, skin rash, acne, or pimples are a common occurrence during menses, but you will have to be vigilant in case of any grave skin issues.

It is a no-brainer that many PMSing women encounter symptoms such as mood swings, bloating, weight gain, and acne. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) symptoms tend to get influenced by hormones that fluctuate throughout the month. Red, itchy, and puffy skin can be some of the prominent PMS symptoms.

how does your period affect your skin
Changes in hormonal levels can cause skin problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Even chronic hives, or urticaria, are commonly seen in women, as in men. You will be shocked to know that hive outbreaks seem to be consistently associated with the menstrual cycle.

Skin problems during periods

1. Anyone can get hives, and this skin condition is more common in women during the childbearing years. Hives can be seen when certain cells, called mast cells, release histamine or other chemicals in the bloodstream. This can be due to the allergic reaction to certain foods, insect stings, sunlight exposure, or medication. But for women whose hives can be seen due to menstrual cycles, there are certain hormones may be triggering this allergic reaction or some woman, the condition may become chronic and severe to be diagnosed as autoimmune progesterone dermatitis (APD). APD is a rare condition  as one’s menstrual cycle is  linked with chronic hives, angioedema (that can be described as swelling below the skin), and eczema (a skin condition that causes patches of itchiness, inflammation, swelling, and cracked skin), When it is specific to hives, it can be known as menstrual cycle-dependent urticaria or even autoimmune progesterone urticaria.

how does your period affect your skin
Your menstrual cycle increases the risk of acne. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. With APD, hives, and skin rashes usually occur and go away depending on the monthly cycle. This can be annoying, frustrating, and stressful and women may also become anxious. They often fear talking about it, and it can make it difficult for women to carry on with their regular activities as it impacts their quality of life.

3. Hives usually appear three days to a week before menstruation and will either greatly improve or completely go away shortly after menstruation, when progesterone levels go down.

This is how to tackle hives during menstruation

On consulting a doctor, you will get many treatment options.  In mild cases, anti-itch creams such as topical steroids or antihistamines can be recommended. Another woman may require hormone therapy to inhibit ovulation and the production of progesterone after the doctor’s suggestion. 

Dear ladies, don’t ignore any unusual skin occurrences, and seek treatment.

Dr Pratima Thamke Dr Pratima Thamke

Dr Pratima Thamke is a Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar