The side effects of periods are not as commonly known as they should be. Period education in schools can vary dramatically and as a consequence our understandings of periods can also be lacking. The education we get in school can also be a little abstract, focusing more on the biology side of periods rather than the social experience of them. Today, we are going to outline some of the side effects of periods and symptoms linked to periods which are rarely discussed in school and tips on how to cope with them!
Bloating is a common side effect of periods and it is estimated that 70% of women and people who menstruate experience this during their period. Bloating is caused by fluctuation is hormone levels and can be pretty annoying an uncomfortable. Bloating is nothing to be ashamed of and going about your regular day with confidence is highly encouraged! However, if you are looking for methods to try and ease the uncomfortableness, drinking herbal teas, avoiding sugary and fizzy drinks and getting some rest or going for a light walk can help.
Period poop is a real thing! A change in the smell, consistency and frequency of your poop during your period is completely normal. Putting it simply, this happens because prior to your period, your uterus begins to produce chemical which smooth the muscles of the uterus helping it to contract and shed the lining (menstrual blood) every month. If there are left over chemicals or the body has produced too many, they will enter your bloodstream and will smooth other muscles in the body such as your bowels! Being constipated on your period is also very common as low levels of these chemicals can prevent or slow down digestion.
Feeling exhausted during or prior to your period is also completely normal. Menstrual bleeding can lead to exhaustion or tiredness as oestrogen levels drop resulting in your energy levels decreasing. They will increase again after your period. It is important to stick to a healthy sleep pattern and remain hydrated to look after your body, but there is nothing wrong with having a chill shay or an afternoon nap to increase your energy levels! (Chocolate can also help of course!)
To learn more about our education programme and how we aim to discuss the social side of periods in the classroom click here.