During the summer, many individuals may experience a change in their menstrual cycle, or their menstrual bleed. This is because the rise in temperatures can affect the production of certain hormones in the body, leading to a different bleed pattern or intensity. Some women may find their bleeding is heavier, while others may experience lighter bleeding than usual. In addition, summertime bleeding can be accompanied by different symptoms such as bloating, cramps, headaches, and fatigue.
We look at some of the most common hot-weather menstrual challenges and share our top tips for staying sane and cool during your bleed. So, grab a cold drink and let’s get started!
Who Could Be Affected By Hot Weather?
Hot weather can potentially affect anyone, regardless of whether they are experiencing a menstrual bleed or not. However, individuals who are menstruating may experience some additional discomfort or challenges due to the combination of hot weather and their menstrual cycle.
It is worth noting that individual experiences may vary, and not everyone will be affected in the same way. However, it is important to prioritise self-care, stay hydrated and adapt daily routines as needed to manage the combined effects of hot weather and menstruation.
What Sort Of Issues Does Hot Weather Bring?
Some potential effects include:
During menstruation, some individuals may feel more sensitive to heat, making hot weather feel more uncomfortable or exacerbating symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, or headaches.
Both hot weather and menstruation can increase the need for hydration. Menstrual bleeding can lead to fluid loss and sweating in hot weather can further deplete the body’s water levels. It is essential for individuals to drink plenty of fluids to stay properly hydrated in these conditions.
Exacerbation of symptoms:
Menstrual cramps, bloating and general discomfort may intensify in hot weather due to increased body temperature. Heat can potentially exacerbate pain and make it more challenging to manage these symptoms.
Some individuals may experience heightened skin sensitivity during menstruation and the hot weather can further contribute to skin irritation or chafing. It is important to wear breathable clothing and use suitable hygiene products to minimise discomfort.
Menstruation can sometimes lead to feelings of fatigue or low energy. Hot weather can amplify these sensations, as the body works harder to cool itself down. It may be necessary to take extra measures to rest, seek shade, or avoid strenuous activities during periods of extreme heat.
When Could These Issues Happen?
The issues could affect individuals who menstruate during periods of hot weather. The exact timing will depend on your menstrual cycle and when hot weather conditions occur.
Typically, these issues can arise during the menstrual phase, which is when menstruation occurs. This phase usually lasts around 3 to 7 days, but the duration can vary from person to person. If hot weather coincides with your menstrual phase, you may find that your periods can be longer and more frequent during the summer season. Vitamin D helps the body to increase the production of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which regulates reproductive functions. Hot weather means more ovarian activity and longer periods so large amounts of sun exposure impacts the length of our period.
It’s also important to consider that premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating and fatigue, can start a few days before your period. If hot weather occurs during this time, you might experience a combination of premenstrual discomfort and the challenges posed by high temperatures.
Where Could They Affect Me Both Physically & Mentally?
The effects of hot weather and menstrual bleeding can impact both your physical and mental well-being. Here’s how they may affect you in these aspects:
Hot weather can exacerbate menstrual discomfort, including cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, and general body aches. The combination of heat and menstruation may intensify these symptoms, making you feel more physically uncomfortable.
Fatigue and low energy:
Menstruation can sometimes lead to feelings of fatigue, and hot weather can further contribute to low energy levels. Heat can make you feel more drained and lethargic, potentially affecting your physical performance and productivity.
Some individuals may experience increased sensitivity to heat during menstruation, leading to a decreased tolerance for hot weather. You may feel overheated or experience more pronounced symptoms of heat exhaustion or heatstroke if exposed to high temperatures for extended periods.
Both hot weather and menstrual bleeding can increase the need for hydration. Menstruation involves fluid loss and sweating in hot weather can further deplete your body’s water levels. You can consider adding electrolyte drinks or coconut water to your diet to stay extra hydrated. Additionally, you may want to carry a water bottle with you at all times to make sure you always have access to fluids. Failure to maintain proper hydration can result in dehydration and related symptoms like headache, dizziness, and fatigue.
Mental and Emotional Effects:
Irritability and mood swings:
Menstruation can be accompanied by changes in mood and emotions due to hormonal fluctuations. The discomfort and challenges of hot weather may compound these mood swings, potentially leading to increased irritability, frustration, or sensitivity.
Managing menstrual symptoms alongside the discomfort of hot weather can add emotional stress to your overall well-being. Feeling physically uncomfortable or limited in your activities due to the weather can affect your mental state, leading to feelings of stress or being overwhelmed.
Body image concerns:
Some individuals may experience body image concerns during menstruation, which can be further exacerbated by hot weather. Feeling bloated or self-conscious about changes in your body during this time may impact your self-esteem or body image perception.
Hot weather can interfere with sleep quality as your body will produce less melatonin (a hormone that signals to your body that it is time to go to sleep) making a good night’s sleep even more challenging. Add that to normal menstrual symptoms such as cramps or discomfort which may disrupt your sleep as well. The combination of these factors can lead to difficulties in getting restful sleep, which may affect your mood, concentration, and overall mental well-being.
It’s important to note that the extent and specific effects will vary from person to person. While some individuals may experience significant impacts, others may be less affected. Taking care of your physical and mental health during these periods by staying hydrated, resting when needed, practicing self-care, and seeking support from loved ones can help alleviate some of these challenges.
Why Does It Matter To Deal With This?
Dealing with the challenges posed by hot weather and menstrual bleeding matters for several reasons:
Taking steps to manage the effects of hot weather and menstrual bleeding can contribute to your overall physical well-being. By addressing discomfort, staying hydrated and adapting your activities, you can help minimise the impact on your body and reduce the risk of dehydration, heat-related illnesses, and exacerbation of menstrual symptoms.
Mental and emotional well-being
Addressing these challenges is important for your mental and emotional well-being. By acknowledging and managing the physical and emotional discomfort that may arise during menstruation and in hot weather, you can help maintain a more positive mood, reduce stress levels, and improve your overall mental health.
Productivity and daily functioning:
When you proactively manage these challenges, you are better able to maintain your productivity and daily functioning. By addressing discomfort and fatigue, staying hydrated, and taking care of your mental well-being, you can minimize the impact on your ability to carry out regular activities, work, study, or engage in hobbies and social interactions.
Quality of life:
By dealing with these challenges, you can enhance your overall quality of life. When you take steps to mitigate discomfort and manage the effects of hot weather and menstrual bleeding, you can experience a greater sense of comfort, improved body image, reduced stress, and an enhanced ability to participate in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
Health and safety:
Managing these challenges is crucial for your health and safety. Extreme heat and inadequate hydration can lead to serious health risks, such as dehydration, heat exhaustion, or even heatstroke. Additionally, neglecting self-care and not addressing menstrual symptoms can impact your long-term reproductive health and well-being.
Top Tips – Stay Cool During The Heat
Here are some top tips to help you stay cool during your period in hot weather:
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and compensate for fluid loss during menstruation. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water or coconut water per day. Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol and instead opt for water, herbal teas, or electrolyte-rich beverages.
Marvellous Tip: If you don’t find drinking plain water easy, add some fresh fruit, slices of cucumber, lemon, apple or herbs like mint. Try sparkling water too.
Use menstrual products suitable for hot weather:
Choose menstrual products that are appropriate for hot weather conditions. This is a great time to try using a menstrual cups. This can be more comfortable and less prone to odour compared to pads or tampons. They can also be worn for longer periods without needing to be changed.
Dress in breathable fabrics:
Opt for lightweight and breathable fabrics such as cotton or moisture-wicking materials. These fabrics allow better airflow, which can help keep you cool and reduce discomfort. Loose-fitting clothing can also provide more airflow and prevent excessive sweating.
Carry personal hygiene products:
Keep a small bag with extra menstrual products, wipes, or tissues with you in case you need to change or freshen up while on the go. This way you can feel more cool and comfortable during your period.
Use cooling methods:
Apply a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a towel to your lower abdomen to help alleviate cramps and cool down your body. Alternatively, you can use a cooling gel pad designed for menstrual pain relief or a cool spray.
Take cool showers or baths:
Cool showers or baths can help lower your body temperature and provide temporary relief from menstrual discomfort. The cool water can also help soothe any inflammation or swelling you may be experiencing.
Use fans or air conditioning:
Stay in well-ventilated areas with fans or air conditioning, if you have them, to keep cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, use portable fans or create airflow by opening windows and using cross-ventilation techniques.
Avoid heat-retaining activities:
Minimise engaging in activities that can generate excessive body heat, such as intense exercise or spending prolonged periods in direct sunlight. Opt for lighter activities in shaded or air-conditioned environments.
Stay mindful of food choices:
Eat light, cooling foods that can help regulate body temperature, such as fruits, vegetables, and salads. Avoid heavy, greasy, or spicy foods that can contribute to discomfort or make you feel hotter.
Rest and prioritise self-care:
Listen to your body and rest when needed. Take breaks, find a cool and quiet place to relax, and engage in self-care activities that promote relaxation and comfort, such as reading, meditating, or taking a nap.
Remember, each person’s experience and comfort levels may vary. It’s essential to pay attention to your body’s signals and adjust your routine accordingly. By implementing these tips, you can help manage the discomfort of your period and stay cool during hot weather conditions.