Why period pain is often worse in winter

Natalie Cornish
·2-min read
Photo credit: Unsplash
Photo credit: Unsplash

From Red Online

If you've been experiencing more painful periods recently, then know that you're not alone. In fact, there's scientific evidence that periods can be more intense and uncomfortable during the winter months due to the impact of seasonal changes on the body.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP, medical broadcaster and spokesperson for Livia (a new femtech device which promises instant period pain relief), says there a few theories as to why period pain can get worse during colder weather.

'Many people with pain say their pain is worse in winter,' she explains.

Dr Jarvis says reduced blood circulation could be to blame, because it can make many types of pain and discomfort worse, including period pain. 'Blood vessels constrict in the cold, reducing blood flow,' she explains. 'If the blood flow from your period is interrupted, it could increase period pain.'

She adds that 'it's also possible that pain receptors are more sensitive in cold weather'.

'Both these theories are supported by the fact that a warm bath or using a hot water bottle on your lower tummy can help relieve period pain,' Dr Jarvis says. 'There is good evidence that women who work in cold environments have more severe period pain than other women. For instance, women who worked in a cold building were almost 50% more likely to complain of period pains than other women in a study.'

Hormonal changes and a lack of sunlight could also be to blame for seasonal menstrual changes.

So what's the best way to ease painful periods? Dr Jarvis recommends using a pain management device, like Livia, to safely block the pain from registering in your body.

'TENS has been widely used for years for labour pains in childbirth and for nerve pains called neuralgia,' she explains.

'Livia is a small, portable device which works on the same principles. It includes electrode pads that deliver small electrical impulses to the part of the body they're attached to. It's thought that these electrical impulses interrupt pain signals passing between the part of the body affected and the brain, helping break the pain cycle.'

It's important to contact your GP for a check-up if your periods suddenly become very heavy or painful.

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