Are you someone that gets really hot during your period or the lead up to it? One minute you are sitting comfortably and the next your face is turning red and you can feel the sweat dripping off you. Yep, you aren’t alone – it’s completely normal! In this blog, we’re discussing how your menstrual cycle can affect your body temperature.
Hot flushes are just a sign of menopause, right? This isn’t actually true. Many women of different ages have reported random hot flushes and late-night sweats throughout different points of the month. Numerous people in our community have described how they find themselves overheating and sweating more than they normally do when they are on their period. One person in our community, Heather, told us: “I sweat, a LOT, just before and during my period. I’m a sweaty person at the best of times, but at this time of the month it’s almost incredible how much I sweat.” But why is this? Let’s discuss.
There isn’t a huge amount of research done in this area currently, but this is what we know so far…
Let’s talk hormones
If you happen to feel hotter than normal when on your period or leading up to it, your hormones could be to blame. Your hormones will naturally fluctuate throughout the month and can lead to a range of symptoms. When you ovulate (around mid-cycle), you have a spike of progesterone. This, in turn, can cause an increase in body temperature. For the next two weeks during the Luteal Phase of your cycle (just before you start your period) your body temperature can stay at a slightly higher rate. This is due to progesterone levels staying high. As you approach the start of your period, your progesterone levels will start to drop again, and your body temperature will begin to decrease.
Hot flushes can be a side effect of some medication. Make sure you check the side effect with your GP before you start taking any medication. This includes your contraceptive pill. If the pill you are on is progesterone only then this could raise your temperature, thus making you sweat.
Digesting food uses energy and therefore generates heat. This is called diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT). The amount of food and the calorific content of the food you eat will determine how much heat you produce digesting it. Meals that are animal protein heavy can take longer to digest and create more heat. Having a balanced diet can help keep your temperature stable.
TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) is caused by a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus. This bacteria can be found on the surface of a lot of people’s skin and is harmless. However, if it gets inside the body and begins producing toxins, it can cause life-threatening problems. TSS isn’t just caused by tampon use. It can also be caused by boils, burns, cuts and bites.
If you begin experiencing a significantly high fever (above 39 degrees) accompanied by a rash resembling sunburn, headaches, vomiting or diarrhoea it’s vital that you immediately seek medical attention. This is not to be confused with general temperature changes during your cycle.
For more information on TSS and a real story from a TSS survivor and more information, head here.
What can we do to cool down?
Constant hot flushes and night sweats can be debilitating, but there are ways we can make things more comfortable for ourselves during these times and try to reduce them!
Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, your heart rate, breathing rate and temperature.
Try swapping out a coffee for:
Lots of women struggle with hot sweats at night. Breathable sleepwear made from organic cotton or bamboo is perfect for helping you regulate your heat levels. Synthetic fabrics can trap heat and leave you feeling hot and bothered. More sleep tips here.
Rinsing a flannel under cold water and resting this on your forehead can help cool you down. This isn’t always easy or ideal in some situations, so another alternative is a face mist. These are super refreshing and offer some relief. We love the Bybi ‘Mega Mist’. Not only will this cool you down, but it also contains hyaluronic acid so is hydrating, softening and refreshing!
When we feel our faces flushing it can be easy to start panicking and feeling anxious. It can be tempting to try hide our faces or avoid looking at people through fear of embarrassment. When you feel a hot flush coming on, remember to stay calm and take deep breaths. The more anxious and worked up we get, the more your temperature will rise. Acknowledge that it’s happening and that it is normal and always remember you aren’t alone!
We hope this blog has given you more of an understanding about hot flushes and helped you feel more confident when it comes to dealing with them! Do you experience hot flushes on your period? How do you deal with them? Let us know in the comments below or chat to us on socials.