As Karen Quan once said, “Push my buttons, and I’ll push you off a bridge.”
For many women, it’s the darkest time of the month. According to new research, many overlooked habits could be making your period worse, from caffeine and alcohol to work anxiety. However, thanks to a recent study, figuring out which habits are making your period worse just got easier.
According to Glamour, Mental Daily, an online psychology magazine, surveyed 2,000 young women between the ages of 18 and 29 to find out which habits made menstruation more painful. Utilizing Facebook ads and Survey Monkey, Mental Daily was able to determine that work anxiety, caffeine, and smoking were the biggest contributing factors affecting participants’ menstruation.
The researchers over at Mental Daily revealed a lot about how bad habits can significantly affect menstruation — enough for me to compile a list of the worst ones. So, without further ado, here are seven things making your period worse.
1. Work Anxiety & Stress
Researchers have always noted that anxiety or stress originating from the workplace is the biggest contributor to bad menstruation cycles. Also, work anxiety ranked number one as the greatest contributing factor which made menstruation worse, based on Mental Daily’s survey.
Of the 2,000 participants in Mental Daily’s study, 98 percent placed work anxiety or stress as one of their top triggers for a bad period. Essentially, mental health professionals have warned that job stress can increase the risk of depression and even suicide.
2. Caffeinated Drinks
In Mental Daily’s survey, 78 percent of participants placed caffeine as one of their top triggers for severe menstruation, for several reasons. Let me explain: caffeine, specifically soft drinks like Pepsi, can increase the chances of painful cramps and nighttime fatigue. Insomnia, a common symptom of cramps, can keep you up all night, draining you of your energy when it’s time to get up to work.
3. Smoking Your Lungs Away
When it comes to menstruation, smoking is a big no-no! Here’s why: smoking can impact your estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone levels. Those hormones play a crucial role in the development of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which may leave you looking like the devil.
Additionally, smoking is often mixed with drinking alcohol, and alcohol is another adverse factor in making your period worse. Since we mentioned alcohol, let’s talk about it.
4. Consuming Alcohol
Hands off the booze! Why? Drinking alcohol right before your period can exaggerate the risk of PMS symptoms, and they’re not pretty.
Drinking alcoholic beverages can also dehydrate you and lower your magnesium levels, which is not good news. Other symptoms caused by alcohol includes mood swings, depression, headaches, and breast tenderness.
5. Skipping On Sleep
Yes, PMS can cause insomnia due to the amount of pain brought forth by cramps. However, there are several things you can do to help you fall asleep quicker. But first, let me explain why skipping sleep during your period is a bad thing.
Your sleep-wake cycle has a tremendous influence on regulating sex hormones, so when you disrupt this cycle, you are messing up this process. And get this: your period may last longer if you decide to skip sleep while on your period.
Now, if you feel it’s going to be a long, dreadful night, try melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone that improves your sleep regulation cycle.You can purchase it at any local pharmacy or drug store.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but taking painkillers can make bleeding worse. Aspirin is one of those drugs that doesn’t mix well with menstruation; however, other over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Ibuprofen can do less harm to your body.
Dr. Nupur Gupta, a consultant Gynecologist, and Obstetrician, gave the following comment when speaking to The Health Site.
“You should only take a pill if the menstrual pain is affecting your day-to-day activities. And before taking one, you should always consult a doctor about the same.”
7. Salty or Fatty Foods
And, last but not least, consuming salty or fatty foods can cause bloating and abdominal cramps. Foods high in fat can alter the hormonal levels in the body. Here are the following foods to ignore: fatty cuts of beef, whole-milk dairy products, sausages and burgers.
Instead, try eating fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which don’t affect your hormonal levels. Also, reducing the amount of salty or sugary foods can boost your immune system and reduce fatigue during menstruation.
Final thoughts: As science continues to improve our understanding of how the human body works, pain by menstruation will be a thing of the past. If we’re lucky, and still alive by then, I’ll still take male menstruation any time of the month!
Do these habits sound familiar? Share your thoughts below!
Featured photo credit: Huffington Post via i.huffpost.com