(WellnessNova.com) - If you’ve felt like your periods are worse during the colder months, it’s not just your imagination. Experts say that fall and winter can have negative effects on premenstrual syndrome. Both biochemical and lifestyle changes happen during the cold season that negatively impact your monthly cycle.
Here are some of these changes and how to counteract them:
1. Lack of Sunlight Means Less Serotonin and This Worsens PMS
The sunny hours are lessened during the colder seasons, which means your skin makes less vitamin D. When your vitamin D levels are lower, your body produces less serotonin. Researchers found that serotonin levels and PMS are closely linked. Serotonin helps regulate your mood and can help prevent mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms associated with PMS.
The easiest and most direct way of boosting your vitamin D levels is by taking vitamin D supplements. You can also bathe mushrooms in sunlight to make them produce vitamin D, then eat them. But you’d have to eat a couple of servings of these naturally vitamin D-enriched mushrooms to get the daily requisite amount of vitamin D.
Getting more sunlight will also help – which means you’ll have to schedule in a jog or walk somewhere between nine in the morning and noon. Psychologists recommend wearing shades and staring at the sun because seeing the sun’s brightness naturally boosts serotonin levels.
2. Lack of Activity Can Worsen PMS
The colder weather can promote lethargy and a more sedentary day. Not being active can amplify PMS symptoms because you notice every ache and unhappy feeling more when you’re idling. Being active also helps relieve pain and boost your mood because your brain releases endorphins and pain-relieving chemicals when you’re working out.
You can boost your overall activity by doing mini-exercises during the day, like jogging up the stairs instead of taking the elevator at work. You can also add five-minute gym sessions into your daily routine, which is especially easy if your workplace has a gym.
If you’re already exercising daily, adding more workout to your daily burn can help lower PMS symptoms. Researchers found that exercising lowers PMS symptoms and any irregular bleeding.
3. Winter Weight Gain Can Worsen PMS
Researchers found that, on average, people gain three pounds over the colder seasons. While this might not be true for everyone, if it’s true for you, then the weight gain could aggravate your PMS. Researchers found that gaining weight makes your periods stronger and longer, which can lead to worse PMS symptoms.
This means that losing weight or preventing weight gain can help keep your PMS symptoms down. If you find yourself gaining weight during the colder seasons, try limiting your daily carbs and getting more exercise.
4. Increased Lifestyle Stress From the Colder Seasons Can Aggravate PMS
Stress aggravates PMS symptoms, like anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome, and aches. Psychologists say that winter brings about more stress because you have longer commutes due to increased traffic and there are more deadlines to meet before the holidays. If you don’t like staying indoors, the cold weather, or wearing thicker clothing, then being forced to deal with these lifestyle changes can cause significant stress too.
Everyday stress isn’t something that you can avoid, but you can significantly diminish it by upping your stress-relieving activities. Meditate more frequently – try for at least one session per day. You can also start practicing yoga more regularly. Both activities have been found to greatly reduce stress.
5. Spacing Out Your Meals Can Lower PMS
How you eat actually influences your PMS symptoms. Eating carbs boosts serotonin production, but eating protein blocks it. Psychologists recommend eating 25 to 30 grams of carbs about two to three hours before eating protein for a quick serotonin boost. Simply separating your carb and protein intakes can mean a month with lighter PMS.
Be more aware of how the colder seasons affect your PMS and try to actively counteract these effects for more pleasant winter months.