How Cold Weather Affects Your Menstrual Cycle

does winter delay periods

Winter can be a tricky season when it comes to health. Days are shorter and nights are long and cold which means more time indoors. The cold also restricts physical activity and lifestyles become sluggish.

Due to drastic changes in lifestyle, cold weather affects people both physically and mentally. According to top gynecologists in Pakistan, women’s menstruation cycles also come under the weather and cold usually makes matters worse for a lot of women.

Awareness of the effects of cold on your menstruation cycle can help you cope better with these changes. Here are some of the ways the cold affects your menstruation cycle and tips to deal with these changes.

1-Pre-menstruation symptoms:

Pre-menstruation syndrome (PMS) refers to multiple symptoms that appear some days before periods. These symptoms include mood swings, bloating, irritability, anxiety and depression. In winters, most of the time is spent indoors which can make one feel lonely and isolated. Lack of exposure to sunlight may also enhance feelings of melancholy.

Lack of calcium due to limited sunshine and vitamin D can be a triggering agent for PMS. A recent study has shown that women who took around 500mg of calcium reported less severe pre-menstrual symptoms. Foods high in calcium and regular exercise can improve pre-menstrual symptoms in winter.

2-Period pain:

In winters the blood vessels compress which means a narrower pathway for blood flow. Due to constricted vessels, blood flow during periods can get interrupted. This leads to increased period pain in winter.  A hot water bottle or a heating pad can help the vessels relax and thus reduce pain.

3-Hormonal imbalance:

Hormonal imbalance is another repercussion of the cold weather. Limited sunshine not affects the endocrine system and the thyroid might slow down. A slowed thyroid leads to a slow metabolism. Slow metabolism rates lead to longer period cycles until the body adjusts to the drastic weather changes.

Hormonal imbalance may also enhance the experience of PMS. The hormones generally balance on their own once the body has adjusted to new temperatures. If your period cycles do not return to normal after a month or two then you should consult your gynecologist and an endocrinologist as soon as possible.

4-Menstruation cycle:

Menstruation cycles are drastically affected by the cold weather. These changes have been attributed to many factors associated weather such as atmospheric pressure, air temperature and sunlight. A recent study has however proven otherwise. This study has concluded sunlight to be the main factor affecting menstruation cycle.

According to this study, the ovaries are more active in summers than in winters. Ovulation frequency decreases from 97% to 71% in winters. The secretion of FSH is also less as compared to summers and menstruation cycles are longer. Long menstruation cycles and decreased ovulation can make the experience of periods exhaustive.

To avoid changes in menstruation cycles during cold weather, it is important to soak up as much sunlight as possible on sunny days. Consuming foods with vitamin D can also help compensate for lack of sunlight and thus regularize menstrual cycle.

If you are experiencing irregular or painful periods, you should visit a gynecologist as soon as possible. You can also visit our website at

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About the Author: Dr. Arooba

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