Vaginal Health

Science says there is no such thing as period brain

One of the first studies of its kind finds our mental ability is not impaired by menstruation.

By Holly Royce
There is a time old misconception that during times of menstruation, a woman becomes slow, vague, scattered and fundamentally cognitively impaired.
Earlier research supports this way of thinking, providing reasons why we may feel particular dopey during our time of the month.
In 2014 a study found that pain caused by menstrual cramps impacted brain function and cognitive ability, which in turn negatively affected test scores, multi-tasking ability and attention span.
BUT thanks to new research, we can now consider this to be an outdated way of thinking.
A new and very long overdue research study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience has finally debunked the idea that periods impair your ability to think.
The study investigated whether the time during menstruation affects a woman's cognitive ability.
They found no link between impaired cognitive ability and menstrual cycles.
Now, we're not saying having your period can often be a painful and unpleasant time, but does it affect you mentally? Maybe not.
The test followed women from Germany and Switzerland examining them at four different stages over their menstrual cycles, checking levels of hormones, then re-examining the same women over a second cycle.
They found no link between 'Monday brain' and periods. So again, sorry to burst that bubble.
Author of the study, Professor Brigitte Leeners confirmed, "The hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle do not show any association with cognitive performance. Although there might be individual exceptions, women's cognitive performance is in general not disturbed by hormonal changes occurring with the menstrual cycle."
This is one of the first studies to follow women across two menstrual cycles and compare results.
The myth around cognitive ability and menstruation is so prevalent in our society that Professor Lerners says women are more inclined to believe it.
She said,"As a specialist in reproductive medicine and a psychotherapist, I deal with many women who have the impression that the menstrual cycle influences their well-being and cognitive performance.”
Because of this, we're "prone to inflated effect sizes and probable false positive findings due to methodological biases and random variance."
More studies need to be done on the topic, but one thing is for certain - we can't use 'period brain' as an excuse anymore.

4 weird things that happen to your body on your period

Your bathroom habits may change
You might have noticed a change to your usual poo-tine (poop routine) during your period. This is due to progesterone changes in the cycle, which can alter intestinal motility and bowel movements.
While it may make some of us a little blocked up, this hormonal shift can also have the opposite effect on others, causing more frequency in toilet visits and in some cases, diarrhoea.
You might feel a little ~frisky~
That same dip in progesterone can also be held responsible for the reason why you might suddenly find yourself attracted to just about every Tom, Dick and Harry that walks by you in a suit.
During this time, even the cheesiest pick-up lines may send you into a hot mess of eyelash fluttering and hair flicks.
Hot tip: Maybe don't watch 50 Shades of Grey.
Your voice can change
A 2011 study found that the menstrual cycle can alter a woman’s voice, so much so, that men were actually able to detect a difference.
From recordings taken before and during, male participants had a 35 per cent success rate in determining when a woman was on her period.
And while that may not sound like a high achievement, it’s a considerably better rate than if they were to simply guess.
Your skin can become super sensitive
Anyone who’s ever had a bikini wax during their period can vouch for this…
The release of prostaglandin hormones, which help the uterine lining shed, make the body significantly more pain sensitive.
Not only that, prostaglandin also makes the blood vessels more constricted, causing that delightfully blotchy flush.