Being on your period can really suck. If you're anything like me, at a certain time during the month you'll be feeling extra tired, lethargic and possibly a little emotional, amongst other things. Some side effects seem to make sense, but others are sort of head scratchers. For example, why do your boobs get sore before your period? Let's take a deep dive into why you experience certain side effects when it's your time of the month.
Why Do Your Boobs Get Sore Before & During Your Period?
If you suffer from boob soreness, you'll usually find that a few days prior to your period, things will be a little tender and sometimes lumpy. These symptoms are normal and usually go away during your period or shortly afterwards. But why does it happen in the first place?
Well, it's actually all about fluctuating hormone levels which we experience during our menstrual cycle. "Estrogen reaches a peak around the middle of your cycle, and progesterone reaches its peak the following week," Dr Judith Reddrop of Women’s Wellbeing told The Huffington Post Australia.
"As it turns out, both are at very high levels during the second half of your cycle. It's like a hormone party in your breasts. On top of that, breasts are particularly affected because they have estrogen and progesterone receptors, so they are especially picked on in that way."
That seems to sort out that mystery, then...
Why do you get extra tired on your period?
No, you're not imagining it: you definitely feel far more lethargic and tired during your time of the month. Getting up in the morning can feel a struggle, and making it through an entire day's work without a nap? Forget it. So why is this?
Good Housekeeping spoke to Detroit-based paediatrician Dr. Molly O’Shea, who revealed the real reason behind our fatigue.
She told the publication, "In the 10 days or so before your period, your body is geared up in the hopes that the egg you sent down the old fallopian tube met some sperm there and landed in a plush uterus ready to grow a baby."
"When your uterine lining isn’t invaded by a fertilised egg, the hormones sustaining the environment aren’t needed anymore and the hormone levels plummet," she continued. "When this happens, your body goes from high alert to nothing hormonally and that shift causes other changes too and all of those changes are exhausting. Until your hormone levels increase again, you are really tired."
Why do you get emotional on your period?
From crying because you missed the bus to screaming at your flatmate for using the last of the toilet roll, being on your period means a rollercoaster of emotions. And if you suffer from anxiety like me, you can forget it; the week of your period is straight up hell. Much like most symptoms associated with menstruation, our emotions are connected to our fluctuating hormones during this time. According to Everyday Health, the rise and fall in oestrogen in particular can cause our mood swings and there is even a suggestion that our hormones can interrupt our brain chemicals such as serotonin, which when low can cause depression and anxiety.
Why do you get headaches during menstruation?
Feeling achey and sore pretty much everywhere is a symptom of PMS, and 'hormone headaches' are particularly common. They can range in severity, but can become as bad as debilitating migraines.
"Migraine is most likely to develop in either the 2 days leading up to a period or the first 3 days during a period," Dr Anne MacGregor, formerly of the National Migraine Centre told the NHS.
"This is because of the natural drop in oestrogen levels at these times. The attacks are typically more severe than migraines at other times of the month and are more likely to come back the next day."
In short: once again, it's those pesky hormones playing around with us.
Being on your period can be tough, so make sure you take extra care of yourself and get enough sleep to survive the week!