Spire Healthcare have provided answers to the most Googled questions around the menstrual cycle. Google searches are at their highest, with an average of 45,000 monthly searches on menstrual cycles alone.
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The most asked questions were:
- Can you sync your cycle with your friends when you spend lots of time with them?
- Is wearing a tampon totally safe?
- How often should you change your pad?
- Should you be feeling tired during your period?
- Do some foods aid period cramps?
- Does heat help with period pain?
- Why do we crave junk food on our periods and does it help?
- Will periods come around like clockwork each month?
Below are the answers to these questions, as provided by Spire Healthcare’s consultant Kevin Phillips.
Hospital: Spire Hull
Can you sync your cycle with your friends when you spend lots of time with them?
Many women who live together or spend a lot of time together feel as though they have periods around the same time; also known as menstrual syncing. It has been suggested that this is due to pheromones they release that synchronise their menstrual cycles. However, clinical research hasn’t been able to conclusively prove this actually occurs. If you have your period at the same time as your close friend it is, therefore, it might just be due to chance.
Is wearing a tampon totally safe?
Wearing a tampon correctly is safe. You should follow the recommended advice of not leaving a tampon in for more than eight hours. After eight hours, your risk of developing an infection or irritating your vagina increases. In very rare cases, leaving a tampon in for too long, usually when it is forgotten about, can cause a severe bacterial infection called toxic shock syndrome (TSS), which is life-threatening.
How often should you change your pad?
How often you need to change your pad will depend on how heavy your menstrual flow is so is very personal to each woman. In general you should change your pad every 4–8 hours or sooner if it is soaked.
Should you be feeling tired during your period?
Many women feel tired during their periods due to changes in their hormones and dealing with pain or discomfort, such as period cramps. However, if your tiredness is affecting your ability to carry out everyday activities, it is important to see your GP. Excessive tiredness during your periods, especially when accompanied by heavy vaginal bleeding, can be a sign that you have anaemia for example.
Do some foods aid period cramps?
Period cramps are caused by your womb contracting in response to changes in your hormones, specifically prostaglandins. Although inconclusive, some research suggests that avoiding dehydration, including a source of omega 3 fats and fresh fruit and vegetables could help reduce symptoms. In general, eating a healthy, balanced diet should help with well-being during your period
Does heat help with period pain?
Applying a heat pad or hot water bottle can help ease period pain. However, it is important not to use them for too long as this can cause skin changes, especially, for example, if a hot water bottle is placed directly against your skin.
Why do we crave junk food on our periods and does it help?
Changes in your hormone levels during your periods can cause your body to crave foods high in carbohydrates and sugars, which are often found in junk food. Some studies suggest that eating these foods releases the hormone serotonin in your body, which helps you feel happy and combat low moods caused by hormonal changes just before and during your period. It’s possible that highly processed junk foods can promotes inflammation, which may worsen period pain.
Will periods come around like clockwork each month?
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. However, regular menstrual cycles can vary from 21 to 40 days and your period may not occur at exactly the same time each month. If you notice that your periods have suddenly become irregular and you’re under 45, for example, or you have other concerns about your menstrual cycle, it is important to see your GP.