What is the menstrual cycle?
If you are reading this, you probably need advice about your menstrual cycle. Don't worry, you came to the right place. If you don't know what it is, menstruation is a monthly shedding of a female's uterine lining; it lasts up to 3 to 5 days on average. Your uterine lining contains blood that exits your body through your cervix and vagina. I know, it's a lot of weird words that might not make any sense to you, but trust me, this information will probably make things a whole lot easier to understand.
What happens during the menstrual cycle? well, in the first half of the cycle, levels of estrogen (the "female hormone") start to rise. Estrogen has the wonderful role of keeping you healthy. Estrogen helps keep your bones strong and stay strong as you grow older. It also makes the lining of the uterus grow and thicken. Long story short, a lot of weird things happen during the menstrual cycle.
Why does your period affect your weight?
The menstrual cycle can be in fact one of the reasons you gain a little bit of weight each month. Some women can gain up to five pounds (or more) during their period. It sometimes is because of the estrogen. The estrogen peaks right before your period. High levels of it can indirectly lead your body to retain fluid, making you feel bloated, and sometimes causing you to gain a few pounds of water weight.
Another reason for the change on the scale would be because of constant cravings. This is because of the serotonin levels, which generally are lower during for PMS. When the serotonin levels are low, we crave sugar and other carbohydrates. That's because the body uses carbs to make serotonin. The sugar and fats in most carbohydrates usually make you feel more relaxed and happy.
Why does your mood change when you're on your period?
When you are on your period, you can go through a basket full of emotions, especially during PMS. It can cause wild, uncontrollable mood swings in some women, who may go from crying spells to angry outbreaks and anxiety attacks, then back to their normal, stable emotional state — all in one day. sometimes it can all happen in a matter of hours.
One reason your mood changes so drastically, is because your hormones are wildly fluctuating. Guess what controls this? That's right, it's estrogen. The estrogen is known to take you on a roller coaster ride. It slowly rises right before menstruation hits, but suddenly drops when you start bleeding. Then it increases again once your period ends. A few other reasons could be because you aren't sleeping well enough, or you aren't on a balanced diet.
Cramps and Pains
Lots of girls experience cramps before or during their periods. Cramps are caused by prostaglandins, chemicals a girl's body produces to make the muscles of the uterus contract. The contracting muscles help push the blood out through a girl's vagina during her period.
Of course, there are a few ways to relieve these cramps and pains you have during your period. One good way is chamomile tea. Chamomile tea is a natural anti-inflammatory, which helps to decrease the prostaglandin production, which helps relieve menstrual cramps. Another way, which personally is my favorite, is heat. Heat helps relax the contracting muscles in your uterus, which are causing your pain. Plus, if you lay on a heating pad, and put a movie on, it helps you fall asleep faster, thus relieving you of your pain.
Periods aren't the best thing in the world, believe me, I know. It's just another normal experience us women have to go through eventually. I hope these tips, and facts helped you out because they sure helped me when I was first introduced to my period.