Doctor responds to viral TikTok claim that you can "optimise" your menstrual cycle

If you've been on TikTok lately, then you might have seen one clip doing the rounds which claims you can "optimise" your menstrual cycle. The TikTok has gone pretty viral, prompting many users (like us) to question whether that's actually true, and what ~optimising~ your menstrual cycle might entail.

"A normal menstrual your cycle, when your hormones are optimised and balanced, is less than three days," a – presumable – medical expert says at the start of one TikTok, which is then stitched with a response by Dr Karan Raj, a well-known doctor on the social platform.

"That's actually completely and utterly wrong," Dr Raj says, going on to say it is "worrying" that the person in the clip seemingly "doesn't know the basic biological difference between a menstrual cycle, which is the entire chain of activities occurring in the brain, ovaries and uterus, and a period, which is a component of the menstrual cycle associated with bleeding."

"Typical periods can last anywhere from two to seven or eight days and have nothing to do with optimised hormones," Dr Raj adds, noting that the "uterus isn't a machine".

Explaining what's actually going on during the "bleed" phase of your menstrual cycle, Dr Raj says: "During a period you get a rise in the level of a chemical called prostaglandin, which causes contraction of the uterine muscle, which is painful."

Although "some pain is normal," according to Dr Raj, he stresses that: "Debilitating pain or very heavy, very irregular periods that prevents a person from functioning normally isn't normal and this can be associated with a number of conditions." As for what those conditions are, Dr Raj says those suffering with extreme period pain could have endometriosis, adenomyosis or PCOS. "In these cases, it's worth seeing your gynaecologist – not taking advice from rogue wellness bros!" he says at the end of the clip.

This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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