A monthly period can make life uncomfortable, socially awkward and even physically painful – but menstruation is surprisingly good for a woman’s physical, mental, and emotional health! These benefits of having a period will make you happy to menstruate.
“I’d always considered my period a nuisance,” says Dr Trina Read, author of Till Sex Do Us Part: Make Your Married Sex Irresistible. “When I was pregnant and later breastfeeding, it was a relief not to get my period. But after I had Andrew, I began missing it! It felt like a part of me went missing…and I was shocked by how happy I was to get my period back.”
Menstruation is good for a woman’s physical and emotional health. The benefits of having a period are especially good when your hormones are stable and your cycle is regular. Unfortunately, most women have irregular periods at least once or twice in their lives (which is why I write articles such as 9 Foods to Help You Get Regular Periods). But even if your menstrual cycle is unpredictable, you are still benefiting from having a period.
Before we dive into the benefits of getting your period, let’s acknowledge two serious problems with menstruation. One is premenstrual pain or PMS. Bloating and moodiness are uncomfortable symptoms of PMS – but the physical pain of menstruating can be extremely debilitating for some women (which is why I wrote 5 Proven Ways to Ease Painful PMS Symptoms). PMS is not an example of how menstruation is good for you!
I’ll save the second serious problem with getting monthly periods until the end of this article. Like bookends, or a sandwich; the best part is in the middle!
8 Surprising Benefits of Having Your Period
Some of this information can from gynecologist Dr Rebecca Booth’s The Venus Week: Discover the Powerful Secret of Your Cycle…at Any Age. She helps women feel less at the mercy of their hormones and more in control of their monthly cycles. In this updated and revised version, Dr Booth also reveals the surprising ways women can manage their body’s weekly hormonal shifts to their best advantage, no matter what age or stage of life they’re in.
Okay, enough preamble! Here are the surprising benefits of getting your monthly visitor or “Aunt Flo”…
1. Your period can slow the aging process
Women age more slowly than men because menstruation causes iron loss, says to Dr. Thomas Perls, a leading U.S. longevity expert. Losing a lot of iron is not good because it leads to anemia, low energy, and other health problems. But too much iron feeds free radicals, which increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Alzheimer’s disease. When you have your period, you lose some iron every month. This can help lengthen your lifespan – and it may be one reason why women live longer than men. A longer life is a definite benefit of menstruation.
2. Your period offers hints that indicate and prevent disease
“When women menstruate, the color, odor, and texture of the menstrual blood can provide invaluable information as to the well-being of the woman,” says Dr Lauri Grossman, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Humanistic Studies at the American Medical College of Homeopathy. The benefit of paying attention to your menstrual blood is that it can offer early signs of developing illness and help prevent disease. It’s important to pay attention when you’re getting your period – even if it feels, looks, or smells gross. Your cycle may not be the prettiest discharge that leaves your body, but it can reveal what’s happening in your body.
3. Your period can lead to more satisfaction in the bedroom
When you’re menstruating, your testosterone (a hormone all women have, but most don’t have as much as men) increases and enhances libido. Testosterone makes bedroom activities better for some women, which can be a benefit for having a period. But should you have sex while menstruating? “There is no reason not to have sex while on your period,” says Dr Booth. “But, contrary to popular belief, pregnancy can happen if there is no contraception, because sperm can live for several days and fertilize the developing egg.”
4. Having regular periods gives you information about your hormones
A regular cycle isn’t just predictable, it offers the additional benefit of alerting you to a possible hormonal imbalance. If you normally get regular periods but you miss a month or two, your hormones may be out of balance (unless, of course, you’re pregnant, nursing or in menopause). A regular menstrual cycle shows that your body is working the way Mother Nature intended. “While most women associate premenstrual syndrome or PMS with their hormones, it’s actually the absence of hormones during this period (a few days before menstruation) that leaves them feeling less than ideal,” says Dr Booth.
5. Your period improves your mood and appearance
This isn’t true for all women – and of course, nothing is true for all women! But some women experience a happier mood and better appearance when they’re having their period. “The hormonal recipe that kicks in on or about day three or four triggers a significant improvement in how women feel and look,” writes Dr Booth in The Venus Week.
6. Getting your period reduces bloating
You may feel bloated and uncomfortable before you menstruate, but the benefit of actually having your period is less bloating and increased metabolism. “The period follows a drop in progesterone, a hormone that encourages water retention and slows metabolism,” says Dr Booth. “Usually a day or two after the period starts progesterone is low and most women lose water weight and metabolize carbs better.”
7. Your period is a natural cleanser for your body
Having a menstrual period is a natural cleansing process for internal system, which releases bacteria from inside the reproductive system and helps you discharge excess iron. This “cleaning process” can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. When you suppress or stop menstruation by using birth control pills, you may interfere with your breast and bone development. Your fertility levels are also affected when you don’t get your period for a long time. This is one of those benefits of having a period that isn’t visible or observable, but it is powerful.
8. Having a period can release pent-up frustration and anger
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the liver plays a pivotal role in both menstruation and whole-body health. When liver qi (energy) is stagnant, women experience irritability, tightness in the chest, and feelings of frustration and anger. Premenstrual symptoms or PMS are related to blocked liver qi. Having a period flow releases the liver qi that builds up every month; you benefit by feeling lighter, happier, and free!
At the beginning of this article I mentioned two problems with monthly menstruation, but only shared one.
The other serious problem with having monthly periods is the financial cost. Having your period every month is so expensive – especially if your flow is heavy and long! That’s why I’ve explored different ways to make menstruation cleaner and less expensive, such as Lena Menstrual Cup – Reusable Period Cup.
Another option for women who don’t want to pay for sanitary napkins are Heart Felt’s Sanitary Reusable Cloth Menstrual Pads. Reusing your menstrual pads may not seem like a benefit of having a period, but it’s so good for the environment! When you consider how much garbage a woman’s monthly period brings (used pads, plastic packaging, tampons flushed), you start to realize the benefits of reusing your sanitary supplies.
May your menstrual cycle be regular, your flow easy, and your body light. And may you enjoy the benefits of having a period – and hold on to the thought that one day they, too, will pass.