As the mercury soars, you may wish you’d prayed a little less for sunshine, especially if your period coincides with this week’s heatwave. Surviving your daily commute, staying zen at the office, eating a balanced diet and remaining active is no easy feat at the best of times, but combine it with sweltering temperatures and hormonal changes brought on by menstruation and you’ve got yourself the perfect storm.
We know from our own and others' experiences that the heat makes your period even harder to deal with – be that because wearing sanitary towels becomes incredibly uncomfortable, hormonal acne increases or bloating and water retention is worse than normal. And almost everyone we asked agreed they were cranky AF.
Medically though, can a heatwave really make period symptoms worse? According to Dr Tosin Sotubo, GP and founder of Mind Body Doctor, the answer isn’t as simple as yes or no.
"While heat itself won’t make your periods worse, it’s how the heat affects your lifestyle and stress levels that can have an impact on symptoms associated with your period. One major factor is stress. Our hormones regulate our period by altering the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in the body. Periods of high stress, like the assault of heat when you’re trying to go about your everyday activities, can lead to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn decreases progesterone and results in oestrogen dominance. This imbalance can worsen your period symptoms," explains Sotubo. Add dehydration into the mix and the slight rise in body temperature that occurs around one's period, and it can feel like you’ve entered the gates of hell.
Read on to discover how to manage the six symptoms most affected by the heat...