When it comes to our periods, tummy cramps, tender boobs and a teary mood are things we expect as standard. But did you know a whole load of other random stuff goes on in the body throughout the month too? Here are four surprising things that happen during your menstrual cycle…
The cervix moves
Your uterus is about the size of a fist and shaped like an upside-down pear. The opening – the cervix – actually looks like a pink doughnut and its position and texture moves throughout the month. When you’re bleeding, the cervix will be low and firm. After your period is finished, rising oestrogen levels causes the pelvis to tighten and the uterus draws up – meaning the cervix sits higher. This explains why sometimes you might be able to feel the tip of your cervix at the end of your vagina and other times it disappears.
Poo patterns change
The changing hormones throughout your monthly cycle are to blame for you wanting to poo more, or maybe not being able to go at all. The dipping and rising of the two major players – oestrogen and progesterone – can play havoc with the digestive system. Both can delay or increase the transit time of food through the intestines which results in the constipation or diarrhoea. Drinking plenty of water and exercising can help, as can avoiding processed food as much as possible.
Mouths get sore
Ever wondered why you’re more likely to get mouth ulcers and sore gums before and around the time of your period? Well, the rise of progesterone levels at around week three of your cycle plays a big part in this painful party in your mouth. The hormone surge can cause mouth tissue to swell and increase the build-up of plaque and bacteria. High levels of progesterone can also hinder the production of collagen, making it harder for the mouth tissue to repair itself. Extra brushing, flossing and mouth-washing is a must-do at this time of the month.
Knees work differently
You probably don’t give your knees a second thought – they tend to just do their thing – but if you do suffer from the occasional knee twinge, your period might be the reason. A research study revealed that throughout the monthly cycle the muscles in the knees do react differently. The researchers found the firing rate of the muscle fibres in women to be significantly higher later in their menstrual cycle and right before their period. This fluctuating function was found to destabilise the joints, resulting in aches and pains. Fascinating huh?
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