We are all too familiar with the toll we pay for the absolute pleasure of being women, right? Listen, women are strong, amazing humans, and we are constantly reminded by just how fascinating our bodies are and the seemingly limitless strength we posses on a daily basis. But as much as we love being women, there's one thing we could 100% do without: the dreaded period. That lovely visitor who graces us with their presence once a month (or more!). For some women, it's not a big deal. Inconvenient, maybe? But manageable. But for a lot of women, periods and period pain can drastically affect their lives in a negative way. We're not talking mild cramps - we mean nearly debilitating pain and other menstrual symptoms that are nearly impossible to live with.
There isn't much you can do to make it better, aside from crawling into bed for a week with a heating pad and some pain meds. But a study suggests that period pain may be worsened by stress. It's not a magical cure to the cramps that double you over, but it might be a small way to help minimize your pain, just a little bit.
The study, published in the Journal of Women's Health in 2010, found that being stressed in the weeks leading up to your period could actually make your period pain and PMS symptoms worse. PMS symptoms can include cramps, back pain, bloating, fatigue, breast pain, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Researchers found that women who reported feeling stressed in the two weeks before their period started were two to four times more likely to experience moderate to severe symptoms when compared to women who did not report being stressed out in the same time frame.
Researchers were unable to pinpoint exactly why stress seems to make PMS symptoms and period pain more severe. But they theorize that stress may actually affect ovarian hormones. Another theory says that cortisol, the stress hormone, may impact menstruation and PMS symptoms directly in some way. It's definitely worth further research, and we hope more research is done. We know it's easier said than done, but if you experience severe PMS symptoms, it's worth keeping an eye on your stress levels in the weeks leading up to your period. If you can de-stress a little, it might help.