Periods are unpredictable, volatile, and downright bizarre at times. They can be light, late, early, and painful but thanks to things like period tracker apps and planet-saving period underwear, there are ways to make them more tolerable—but did you know the weather can affect your period and cycle?
That’s right, just like the moon can affect our moods, the weather can affect our menstrual cycles. As if it wasn’t annoying enough to worry about working out on your period, or whether the covid vaccine can delay your period, now we know the weather stirs things up too.
Tammy Richards, health practitioner and skin specialist at Pure Optical explains the main effects that the weather genuinely has on our periods.
How sunshine affects your period
Alongside the classics, stress, diet, and hormone levels, Richards says: “Studies have shown that the amount of sun exposure affects the length of our period. Equally, when people move to a new area where the weather is either hotter or colder to what they are used to, the body is unable to regulate automatically.”
So if you’ve wondered why your periods are longer and more frequent in summer compared to winter—there is a reason.
Studies have shown, that Vitamin D—which comes from the sun—encourages the body to increase the production of the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is known to regulate reproductive functions. So with more sun, comes more ovarian activity, meaning longer periods.
How temperature affects your period
As we’ve discovered already, it’s vitamin D that causes FSH not heat, Richards says that temperature doesn’t necessarily affect your period but it does exacerbate the symptoms of a period. Such as discomfort, stress, fatigue, and breakouts.
Also, things like yeast infections are more likely in hot weather, Richards says: “Infections like yeast vaginitis can then lead to disrupting our menstrual cycle, as getting the two together can cause severe discomfort.”
Basically, heat just makes everything worse—which is great now that it’s summer.
How winter affects your period
In winter months we experience shorter periods, but with less vitamin D comes a lower mood. We are also likely to exercise and go outside less which can have negative effects on PMS.
Richards explains that studies have shown that those who exercise regularly and stay active, have more regular and manageable periods. She says: “The less we get moving during the winter, the more we will find ourselves feeling worse with our periods.”
It can also be harder to motivate because of our lower moods—but try your best to keep moving.
How air pollution affects your period
It’s not weather, but sadly it’s just as important and present. Researchers from Boston University Medical Campus and Harvard School of Public Health analyzed data from over 34,000 women and found that as exposure to pollutants increased, so did period irregularity.
Richards explains: “The menstrual cycle is responsive to hormonal regulation, and essentially air pollution can affect this. Air pollution exposure has also been linked to infertility and gynecological diseases. "
Naomi is a trainee News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team. She has a background in design, having studied Illustration at Plymouth University but has taken a leap into the world of journalism after always having a passion for writing. She currently writes pieces on fashion, wellbeing, and entertainment for GoodTo and My Imperfect Life and is training for an NCTJ Qualification.
Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.
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