Ladies, ladies, ladies…as much as you may hate periods, there are some things you may or may not know about them. Menstrual blood, for instance, is actually pretty cool. In fact, the stem cells found in menstrual blood are more powerful than those found in bone marrow. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Menstruation is a part of life for women. From the time a woman gets her period until menopause, most women dread that time of the month. It isn’t fun, it’s expensive (tampons and pads, which are basic necessities, are taxed), and you can experience different health symptoms.
Here are some interesting period facts that you may have been unaware of until right now.
#1: Cramps Aren’t Normal
Even though you may think it is normal to have them, it isn’t. Cramps can indicate that there’s something else going on in your body, for example, that your estrogen count is high. Or maybe you ate too much sugar, which triggered the inflammatory response. If you have a fibroid, cyst, or something irritating the uterus, which could also be the cause of cramps.
#2: Don’t Blame Sugar Cravings on PMS
Some women have the urge to go for chocolate or foods high in carbs when they menstruate. This could mean that you have low progesterone levels, and progesterone is the hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. You may want to get some blood work done to check your progesterone levels. A healthy woman’s body requires adequate intake of foods rich in vitamin B6 in order to produce enough progesterone. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include walnuts, bananas, beans, spinach, fermented soy and potatoes.
#3: Tampons Contribute to Bacterial Infections
Tampons can cause bacterial infections, including vaginal dryness or the rare toxic shock syndrome (TSS). This is because tampons are made up of material that certain bacteria like. A good alternative may be a menstrual cup, which is a reusable cup that collects period blood. Pads are also a viable and can sometimes be a less toxic option (stay away from bleached cotton). Think about it.
#4: The Days Before Your Period Mimic Pregnancy
The body is preparing for pregnancy in the days leading up to your period. This means that the body secretes certain hormones such as progesterone. If you’ve ever felt bloated or have had tender breasts, it is because your body isn’t used to that sudden hormone rush. You can counteract this by avoiding alcohol or caffeine in the week leading up to your period. Both of these can fluctuate your mood and hormones, so avoiding these can help keep you level. Additionally, you can eat omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseeds or walnuts are highest) to balance mood and keep your brain healthy.
#5: Insomnia Should Be Looked Into
If your period causes you to have insomnia, it may be because you have a very low amount of progesterone. Proper progesterone levels help you sleep, so you may need to get your progesterone levels checked by a health practitioner.