It very rarely happens when your periods don’t give you much trouble (which is directly equal to pure bliss). But more often than not, they’re one heck of a rollercoaster ride! With the potential of getting much worse in fact.
Yes, as you’ve experienced, some of your already bad period days can take a turn towards the ‘much worse’ category.
So what causes your periods to go from a rollercoaster ride to pure hell? Here are 8 things that can make your periods more serious and painful.
When you’re on your periods, drinking a lot of coffee is not going to help. It’ll make matters worse to be honest. Coffee, as well as other beverages with high caffeine content, increase your chances of suffering from worse than usual period pain and discomfort. The reason is that caffeine dehydration and vasoconstriction in the uterus (contraction of blood vessels), all of which increase pain (1).
According to an Australian study, women who take a drag everyday are more likely to suffer from menstrual pain when compared to non-smokers (2). The study mentioned that the link between smoking and heightened cramps is not clear yet, although researchers believe it might be due to the vasoconstriction of the blood vessels of the uterus, which is caused by nicotine.
Craving a big bar of chocolate during periods is all too common. But however much having that bar may satisfy you, you should try and prevent yourself from giving into such indulgence during your periods. All sorts of sugary delights aggravate PMS symptoms including cramps as they increase the level of insulin in your blood and upset the estrogen-testosterone-progesterone balance (3).
Drinking alcohol, especially in excess amounts, can leave you dehydrated (4). And dehydration, as we told you before, can increase the severity of your menstrual cramps. That’s not all. Alcohol can even decrease your magnesium levels, which too can worsen the cramps as magnesium helps in controlling the symptoms of PMS (5), (6).
Just like processed sugars are bad for you when you’re on your periods, so are foods with high salt content. Some amount of bloating and puffiness are common during menstruation and consuming too much salt will only make these symptoms worse (7). Now you know why you feel worse after having a bag of plain salted chips on your period.
Stress has the power to make almost any health condition worse than it actually is including menstrual cramps. When you’re stressed out, your threshold of pain decreases to a considerable extent. This is why you feel high intensity pain during your periods (8). In fact, severe stress can even disrupt your menstruation cycle.
Not getting your required hours of Zzzzs can increase period pain. The state of sleeping helps in the release of a hormone known as serotonin (9). This hormone helps in regulating several body functions including sensitivity to pain. When you sleep less, your body produces lower levels of this hormone, thereby increasing your sensitivity to pain (10).
8. Junk food
All junk food and processed foods, specifically those made with refined flour play a role in worsening period pain. Such foods increase your sodium levels, which in turn causes inflammation, turning your average period pain into an unforgettable nightmare (11), (12).
A little bit of pain and cramping during periods is inevitable. But you can prevent it from turning into an unbearable pain by avoiding the 8 specific things we have listed above. Here’s to a happy period!