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Health & Wellbeing / Ali Horsfall

The Body Experts: Can Orgasms Help Period Pain?

Yes, Yes, Yes! Orgasms can be yell-from-the-rooftops amazing, but it’s not just the pleasure factor that makes them really great; did you know that an orgasm can ease period pain too?

Today we hear from Dr Jolene Brighten, on why having more orgasms can help your periods and general health and wellbeing.

What hormones are released with orgasms?

Orgasms release feel-good endorphins and a powerful chemical called oxytocin – or the love hormone, as it’s typically called, into the body. “Oxytocin combats stress like a champ. It buffers against the negative effects of cortisol, it’s a pro-aging hormone, and it protects your body from being bombarded with stress hormones, says Dr Brighten. “Many women are familiar with oxytocin as it relates to childbirth and breastfeeding, but you don’t need a baby to get the benefits of this hormone. Orgasms release oxytocin (so do big, long hugs), which promotes bonding with your partner and social bonding in general. Your orgasms are important,” she adds.

How do orgasms help periods?

When orgasms are few and far between, periods can become more sporadic, says Dr Brighten. “In studies of women having sex less frequently, menstrual cycles tended to be shorter, which may be an indication of low progesterone and oestrogen dominance. It would seem that regular sexual activity may actually have a hormone balancing effect,” she explains.

Plus, would you rather reach for the painkillers, or have an orgasm to ease your period cramps? The latter can relax the uterus and increase pain tolerance by up to 70%. “The hormones and endorphins released during orgasms have a pain relieving effect and promote relaxation,” says Dr Brighten.

What are the other health benefits of orgasms?

Dr Brighten believes that they promote better sleep thanks to the flood of oxytocin and “vasopressin that’s released during an orgasm, and often accompanies the release of melatonin.” Other benefits include reduced anxiety and lower levels of stress hormones along with improved circulation and healthier skin thanks to anti-inflammatory chemicals released into the body.

Dr Brighten also rates the release of DHEA during orgasm. DHEA is an anti-aging hormone that declines in women beginning in their mid to late 20s. “The good news is that every orgasm (and every time you get sexually excited, for that matter), helps increase your DHEA. When it comes to the autoimmunity, DHEA has been shown to reduce antibodies and be a protective for those with autoimmune disease. DHEA can also act like a natural anti-depressant and help improve your mood. However, the most exciting thing about DHEA is that regular orgasms can actually help you live longer – researchers have shown a 50% reduction in overall mortality in those with ‘high orgasmic frequency’,” says Dr Brighten.

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