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New Year’s Resolutions and Your Period


Image source: amyshamblen

The New Year is here and with it comes the resolutions, some of them easier to keep than others.  Common resolutions are to lose weight, quit smoking, save money, exercise more, read more, learn a new skill.  These are all laudable goals.  But how do they affect your period?

Weight Loss

If you’re determined to lose weight to improve your health, that’s awesome!  Rock on, Sister.  But take it easy – don’t expect to lose an extreme number of pounds quickly and keep them off (no matter what the faddists on the internet have promised you).  It’s actually much healthier to lose a maximum of 1 or 2 pounds a week and gives a much more sustainable reduction in weight.

Another reason to lose weight at a healthy, moderate rate is the effect it has on your overall health and your menstrual cycle.  An insufficiency of calories can interfere with the hormones you need for ovulation and can cause your period to stop.  

According to Dr. Aparna Sridhar, “women who lose too much weight or are underweight can have changes in menstruation including but not limited to cessation of menstruation or prolonged periods of amenorrhea”.  (Amenorrhea is “an abnormal absence of menstruation”)

While there are any number of women who might view their period disappearing as a bonus, honestly, it’s not a good indicator of general health. 

Your best bet is to consult a qualified healthcare practitioner to get a nutrition and exercise plan that’s right for you, one that will help you to reach your weight loss and other health goals in a way that enhances your wellbeing. 

Quitting Smoking

There are all sorts of very good reasons to quit smoking.  On the downside, there can be withdrawal symptoms associated with ditching the cigarettes -- the weight gain, the insomnia, the irritability, and all those other not-very-much-fun effects.    Withdrawal symptoms are sometimes referred to as “difficult”.  What an understatement!  The New York Times Saturday crossword puzzle is difficult. Quitting smoking is in a whole different league. 

But for those who can manage to soldier on through the withdrawal symptoms (and huge kudos to those who do), there’s a big pay-off.

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According to Dr. Jennifer Leighdon Wu, an Ob/Gyn at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, smoking constricts the blood vessels, including the blood vessels in the uterus.  Dr. Wu says that when this happens, it can cause pain.  The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists agrees.  They say that smokers can have more severe PMS symptoms and up to a 50 per cent increase in cramps.  An article in Environmental Health Perspectives warns that “cigarette smoke contains compounds that are suspected to cause reproductive damage and possibly affect hormone activity” 

The Women in Balance Institute at the National University of Natural Medicine says that “Hormone balance will be easier to achieve and maintain when you quit smoking. In quitting, more can be gained than lost towards mood stability and weight loss, thanks to better hormone balance. It’s a great trade-off. Even using nicotine patches and gum instead of smoking will help, because the chemicals added to cigarette tobacco and created by burning tobacco are thought to be those responsible for most of the negative side effects.”

So that’s the good news, health-wise and period-wise.  The other good news is that you’ll save yourself a pile of money if you quit.  

Exercise More

Apart from all the overall health reasons that some exercise is a very good thing, it can also help with your period.

According to Dr. Anna Klepchukova, exercise during your period can help to alleviate pain, cramps, bloating, depression, mood swings, irritability, fatigue, and nausea.  She says that exercise can increase the production of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones (and who would say no to feeling good!) that results in a reduction of the menstrual symptoms that plague so many women.

This doesn’t mean that you should immediately enter an Iron-Man Triathlon.  In fact, you’ll probably do better with something a little less extreme than a grueling workout. 

Light cardio exercises such as hiking, bicycling, swimming, and dancing (that sounds like fun), will help.  Walking or short sessions of aerobic exercise such as running or jogging are also recommended.  Low-key yoga and Pilates are popular choices. 

What’s the best exercise to do during your period?  Dr. John Thoppil, an Ob/Gyn says that the best exercise to do during your period is the one you feel like doing. Don’t you just love it when medical advice sounds real?


Another thing you can do to help alleviate menstrual discomfort is to use NannoPads.   Read what users are saying about NannoPad and try it for yourself.

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