6 Things That You Likely Don’t Know Happen During Your Menstrual Cycle
It’s already a well-known fact that during their periods, women can still get pregnant, but there are plenty of other things to learn about the body. The menstrual cycle is a complex process that regulates the female body, and there’s no doubt that it impacts women’s lives dramatically.
We at Bright Side rounded up some facts that your gynecologist probably didn’t tell you and are sharing them with you.
1. The hippocampus actually grows in size.
The study showed that when estrogen levels rise, the hippocampus grows in size. These brain changes actually affect women’s behavior. Researchers concluded that if women in certain phases of their cycle are particularly receptive to changes in their behavior, it can be a good time for therapy to fight mood swings, for example.
2. Hormones influence your body differently depending on the week.
Hormones play a huge role in your body. Normally, a menstrual cycle looks like this:
- In the first week, you may feel some menstrual issues before your period starts. Then your estrogen levels begin to increase, and you start feeling better.
- In the second week, you feel your best, and your testosterone levels increase briefly. You may feel like you want to have a more intimate time with your partner.
- In the third week, your estrogen level decreases dramatically and progesterone increases. You may feel mood swings and suffer from despondency.
- In the fourth week, estrogen and progesterone decrease, and some women start suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).
3. Menstrual cramps may actually change the structure of women’s brains.
Researchers say that menstrual cramps affect between 20% to 90% of adolescent girls. It can last up to 72 hours. One more study showed that women who reported menstrual pain showed decreases in volume in regions of the brain that are involved in processing transmission, higher-level sensory processing, and regulation of endocrine function. If you feel like you started performing worse at work, maybe menstrual cramps are the reason for it.
4. Menstrual cramps can travel.
Nope, this isn’t a joke. Menstrual pain can literary travel. Sometimes you can feel cramps in places like your legs. The pelvic region is “made up of a network of nerves,” and when pain occurs, it also affects your legs, lower back, and butt.
Moreover, the loss of essential minerals during a period (like iron, magnesium, and potassium) depletes the body, and muscles respond with spasms or cramps. Doctors also say: “It’s like a nest where the twigs are intertwined. So if something feels irritating on one side [like the abdomen], you may feel it on the other side [such as the lower back] just as easily.”
5. Your menstrual cycle can affect your voice.
This isn’t good news for singers, but a study showed that during your period, you may experience premenstrual vocal syndrome, which means the loss of vocal power and a reduced ability to sing.
Dry vocal cords can make it even more difficult to control vibrato.
6. Your periods get worse when it’s cold.
According to doctors, women complain about their periods getting worse in winter. Cold weather can also have an effect on the cycle length. In the summer, the cycle is shorter by 0.9 days.
Which facts were the most surprising to you? Which week of your cycle is the most difficult for you?