The idea that there’s a link between periods and blood pressure isn’t new, by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there are studies going all the way back to the 80s and 90s that have covered different parts of the topic! The second of these studies, which was carried out in 1991, even came up with quite a good jumping-off point for the question “does your period affect blood pressure?”.
Studies done since this time (decades later) have elaborated a little bit more on the answer the scientists involved originally gave. We’ve written it all out for you to take a look here ‒ the answer is more complicated than you think, and it’s certainly more complicated than they would have known when the research was first started!
So, does your period affect your blood pressure?
In short, the answer to this question is “yes, it does affect your blood pressure”. However, this doesn’t mean it will affect everyone’s blood pressure to a noticeable degree. The 1991 study found that blood pressure peaks for most people when menstruation starts and is at its lowest between the 17th and 26th days of a person’s cycle. It also discovered that blood pressure varies in a similar manner in all people with periods, depending on the phase of the cycle that they’re going through, no matter whether they had normal or above-normal blood pressure to begin with.
Putting all of this together allowed the study to clearly demonstrate the link between blood pressure and hormonal variations. But it didn’t quite go far enough; that was up to a later study. This later study, which had its findings published in 2015, found another link between the risk of developing high blood pressure and having moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms, something which affects between 8 and 15 percent of women, non-binary, and transgender individuals with periods.
What else did the newer study find?
In the study, it was discovered that people who experience moderate to severe PMS symptoms are 40 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure and are at a higher risk of hypertension than those with fewer or no PMS symptoms. This is when taking into account other, outside factors that are commonly linked to developing hypertension, such as obesity, overuse of alcohol or tobacco, lack of exercise, or the use of birth control pills or hormone therapy. It also made sure to cover factors like genetic predisposition to hypertension, so no one slipped through who might have had it simply because they were more likely to get it.
The study also found that this link between high blood pressure and periods is especially strong in people under the age of 40. For people in this age group, the odds of developing high blood pressure are actually three times as high for those who aren’t. Unfortunately, subsequent studies haven’t yet identified why this happens, so the best recommendation experts can give is to talk to your doctor and get your blood pressure checked if you have more serious PMS symptoms.
Is there any good news to take from this?
There is actually something good that can be taken from this study; there is a way around the possibility of hypertension. People who had a significant intake of B complex vitamins (such as those found in dark green vegetables) didn’t experience this increased risk of high blood pressure. The only thing is, the vitamins aren’t stored by the body so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting them regularly through either supplements or (more naturally) through your diet.
Periods, lifestyle, and hypertension
So, there you have it ‒ there is an established link between hypertension (or at least high blood pressure) and the menstrual cycle. But there are also a lot of similarities to be found between PMS and the risk of developing high blood pressure, and developing high blood pressure due to lifestyle.
The scientists conducting the research were sure to discount things like lifestyle when carrying out their study. As this isn’t really an everyday option, there are some things you can do in your daily life to make sure your diet and your habits are less likely to be a factor in developing high blood pressure. These include:
- Taking in less salt; it causes the body to retain water, increases blood pressure, and is terrible for bloating when you get PMS
- Making sure you’re drinking enough water; it reduces bloating
- Cutting down on the coffee, alcohol, and sugar
- Eating enough complex carbohydrates; things like fruit and vegetables, whole grain bread or pasta, pulses, and brown rice ‒ some of these foods help with period cramps, too!
- Managing stress; this can be done in the way that suits you best, but we’d always recommend taking up yoga. Again, there are even some yoga positions that help period cramps!
- Getting enough sleep; experts all agree you should get somewhere between 6 and 8 hours
- Exercising for thirty minutes a day, at least 5 days a week
Keeping as comfy as possible on your period
We believe in helping every person with a period to relax, no matter what they can expect from their menstrual cycle. That’s why we’re here to provide super-soft, super-absorbent pairs of period pants for any kind of flow!
All of our fabulous pairs are made using the same sleek-yet-practical multi-layer technology, making them breathable, moisture-wicking, and leak proof, while keeping them totally discreet! Just slip them underneath any outfit you’ve planned to wear and no one will be any the wiser; because they’re reusable, you can even put them straight in the wash when you’re done.
You’ll even get to take advantage of a fast, free UK delivery when you buy all your favourite pairs from us, so what are you waiting for? Browse through our collections and find all the undies that will keep you feeling fresh and secure, no matter what kind of cycle you’re having, today!