Yoppie, the pioneers of personalised period care, has researched the various ways in which cold winter weather can affect a woman’s period and how these impacts can best be managed and mitigated.
Periods bring with them many varied and often unpredictable challenges, ranging from physical discomfort to hormonal imbalance. When winter arrives and the weather turns cold, many of these symptoms can, for various reasons, be exacerbated
Pre-menstruation syndrome (PMS) commonly brings with it symptoms of fatigue, troubled sleep, irritability, and general anxiety. As daylight hours shrink during the winter months, increased time spent indoors and away from natural light can make these symptoms worse. Isolation can deliver feelings of loneliness and melancholy, while a lack of calcium from reduced sunlight can itself be a trigger for enhanced PMS side effects.
Winter can also intensify the general feelings of physical pain associated with a period due to the cold weather causing blood vessels to compress, thus narrowing the pathways for blood flow.
Additionally, the colder months have the potential to impact the length of a woman’s cycle. During the warmth of summer, ovulation tends to happen more frequently, thus shortening the cycle by an average of 0.9 days. In winter, more infrequent ovulation leads to longer cycles.
Finally, the cold weather and lack of sunshine can affect the endocrine system and thyroid, both of which control and coordinate the body’s metabolism and energy level, as well as its response to injury, stress, and mood. The confusion this causes the body can result in enhanced severity of common PMS symptoms.
There are a number of simple ways in which winter’s effect on the body can be managed and mitigated. Physical exercise is vital – it can help alleviate pain, cramps and bloating, while also alleviating depression, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and nausea. Exercise needn’t be vigorous or prolonged. In fact, it’s recommended that it be gentle and comes to an end when feelings of fatigue start to kick in.
A healthy, balanced diet goes a long way to relieving winter’s negative impacts and should be combined with reduced alcohol or nicotine intake, both of which are known to make PMS symptoms more severe. And a good night’s sleep of 7-8 hours works almost like magic in lessening negative symptoms, as does a conscious effort to reduce or manage stress through things like yoga and meditation.
Founder of Yoppie, Daniella Peri, commented:
“Winter’s impact on mood and outlook can be profound for anyone. It is physically darker and colder while the human mind and body thrive better in warmth and sunlight. I would advise women to re-create this warmth and light in any way possible. If cold weather is increasing abdominal pain, for example, the humble hot water bottle can make a world of difference. And if a lack of sunlight is bringing down your mood, try a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamp to deliver the benefits of the sun right inside your living room.
“More than anything, it’s about awareness. If we know that the cold weather is going to make things harder, we can prepare ourselves to fight back, recognising the negative impacts of winter and pushing back instead of being allowed to overtake our mind and body. Eat well, sleep well, and wrap up warm: spring will arrive before we know it.”