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The period

Let’s talk science11.03.21 4 min. read

Every month, a part of our body renews itself: our uterus sheds part of its mucous membrane to prepare for a new cycle from that point on - and so we spend about a quarter of our "childbearing" time bleeding.

It doesn't always pass by without a trace: We experience pain, mood swings or dizziness. As teenagers, we are often taught that periods are primarily something unpleasant and that we should put up with them.

As late as 1963, the following could be found on the package insert of tampons "If you don't menstruate at a normal time of the month and instead withdraw for a few days each month as if you were sick, then you are actually taking advantage of your husband's good nature. After all, he married a full-time wife, not a part-time wife. Therefore, you should be active, peppy and cheerful every day." 

Today, this seems like a (very) bad joke - but even today, the period is not always perceived as the natural process that it is. Yet our menstruation is not a disease, but a natural regulation of our body. And strictly speaking, none of us would be here if menstruation didn't exist. 

So what if we accept our menstruation as a phase of our body with the same naturalness as we do with the seasons in nature? Perhaps we could then learn to listen to our body even better, to develop more understanding for it and to get even closer in touch with it.

 

At a glance: The period

  1. From dizziness to ravenous appetite - when can discomfort occur?
  2. What physical symptoms may occur?
  3. How menstruation can affect our psyche 
  4. When should you go to the doctor?
  5. A hug for the soul
  6. Sources

 

 

From dizziness to ravenous appetite - when can discomfort occur?

Possible symptoms occur mainly in the second phase of our cycle, called the luteal phase:This begins with ovulation and ends with the first day of menstruation. While the estrogen level is relatively low during this phase, the hormone progesterone dominates. The concentration of both hormones reaches a low point around menstruation and gradually rises again from then on. Often, therefore, the symptoms are most intense before and at the beginning of the period and improve from then on. 

Menstruation - how to deal with symptoms

What physical symptoms may occur?

Period pains occur frequently, especially in young women - sometimes more, sometimes less intense. In a quarter of women, however, the discomfort is so severe that they have to resort to painkillers or can no longer cope with the demands of everyday life [1]. Moreover, especially shortly before and during menstruation, the occurrence of dizziness is not uncommon [2].

Our skin is also not left unaffected by the hormonal changes. In the second half of the cycle and around menstruation, our sebum production is more strongly stimulated [3]. So our skin tends to be oilier and more prone to pimples, especially on the chin or jawline.

Sometimes, we may develop cravings during the luteal phase. We may have a particular craving for carbohydrates [4] and sweets [5], but also for fats or proteins [6]. One possible reason: progesterone - a hormone that also occurs during pregnancy and can boost our appetite. A temporary weight gain in the second cycle phase is therefore also possible.

How menstruation can affect our psyche

In the days before, or at the onset of menstruation, it is possible that we may suffering from mood swings. Low estrogen levels in particular may cause us to become easily irritable  and feel restless [7].

While this is unfortunately often dismissed as "she's just on her period," we can instead try to be more understanding with ourselves. If we have the opportunity to acknowledge this phase of heightened sensitivity, we can begin to understand more clearly what we need, and in turn, what is not good for us during this time. Our instincts are sharpened - so shouldn't that also be considered something immensely valuable?


When should you go to the doctor?

When there are repeated impairments in the second half of the cycle and around the period, we speak of Premenstrual Syndrome ( PMS). As long as the symptoms are not too severe, listening to our body and doing something good for ourselves can begin to bring us relief. 

Beyond that, however, there are symptoms which are not natural and that we should not have to put up with: If your period is extremely affecting you, it is advised to seek a professional medical opinion. For example, severe PMS symptoms, but also diseases such as endometriosis or PMDS (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) can have a significant impact on your well-being. 

CBD Period cream

A hug for the soul

Provided our symptoms around our period are mild and we have the opportunity to listen to our body, we can welcome it as a time to connect with our inner strength and the miraculous processes happening in our body.

What is true elsewhere is even more true during periods: what is good for our body is good for our soul - and vice versa. No matter what that may look like for you and whether you like to do some gentle yoga exercises, watch a few episodes of your favorite show or take extra time for good conversations with friends. Even a hug can sometimes be a real relief on challenging days - from a loved one as well as from our CBD Cream The Hug with hemp extract and St. John's wort. With the latter, you can even treat yourself to a little massage and give your body an extra dose of love and gratitude.

Sources:

[1] Prevalence of menstrual pain in young: what is dysmenorrhea?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3392715/

[2] Gynecologic disorders and menstrual cycle lightheadedness in postural tachycardia syndrome

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3413773/

[3] perimenstrual flare of Adult Acne

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4142818/

[4] Food intake changes across the menstrual cycle: A preliminary study

https://www.pzp.umed.wroc.pl/pdf /2020/10/1/5.pdf

[5] The relationship between premenstrual syndrome and anger https: //www.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500841/

[6] Menstrual cycle and appetite control: implications for weight regulation

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9221991

[7] Food Cravings, depression, and Premenstrual problem

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi = 10.1.1.494.6627