Women Health

Menses: 10 Unusual Side Effects Experienced During Your Period

Most women are aware of the common symptoms that are experienced during menses, commonly known as Premenstrual syndrome. Symptoms such as cramps, tender breasts, fatigue, bloating, acne, food cravings, mood swings, and some others are not uncommon during menstruation.

However, it will intrigue you to know there are certain side effects that occur as a result of your period which some may be unfamiliar with as these symptoms vary from one person to the other. Let’s take a look at some of these not-so-common side effects.

  1. Ovulation Pain During Menses

This is known as “mittelschmerz” a German word that means pain in the middle. As the name implies, this is a form of discomfort that occurs in the middle of the menstrual cycle when the ovary releases an egg. It is followed by pain on one side of the abdomen or pelvis, slightly above the hip.

Pain may either be on the right or left side, depending on which ovary is releasing an egg and could be mild or excruciatingly painful. It can last for a few minutes or even hours and may be accompanied by nausea especially when it’s severe. Mild vaginal bleeding may also occur. This may come off as strange, as only very few women experience ovulation pain.

So the next time you feel that sharp pain on one side of your abdomen, it could simply mean your ovaries are initiating the baby-making process. However, you should note that this could denote another medical problem that has nothing at all to do with ovulation such as appendicitis, urinary tract infection, and endometriosis.

Your best bet to finding out what the cause of your pain is is to consult a doctor or track your ovulation period. Tracking your ovulation period helps you ascertain if the pain occurs when you are ovulating or otherwise.

What causes ovulation pain you may ask? Well, the exact cause is still unknown but experts believe that it is due to the secretion of the fluid surrounding the ovaries (follicular fluid) and blood. The fluid or blood may irritate the lining of the abdominal cavity thereby resulting in pain. The good news is, ovulation pain disperses immediately the egg is released or when the fluid and blood is absorbed by the body.

Can’t wait for the pain to resolve on its own? You can buy over the counter drugs (OTC) such as naproxen or ibuprofen to help abate it. If you don’t like the idea of drugs, you can use a heating pad or a hot bottle to ease the pain by pressing it to your lower abdomen.



A migraine is a type of headache that causes throbbing pains which typically occurs on one side of the head. It may be preceded by sensitivity to light, pain in one ear or eye, seeing flashes of light or temporary loss of vision. Migraine during menstruation is caused by a fluctuation in estrogen(female steroid sex hormone) level. Some women experience migraine before, during or after menstruation. Exercise, over the counter drugs and some prescription drugs, can be used to treat migraine. Talk to your doctor to discuss the best treatment plan for your period induced migraine.



It is not uncommon to experience feelings of depression, hopelessness, crying spells, and the likes during your period as all these are symptoms of premenstrual syndrome(physical and psychiatric symptoms that occur during menstruation). Anxiety usually surfaces just before your period starts. Severe anxiety during periods may be borne out of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) which is a severe form of PMS. 

Research has shown that there is no known cause of PMS or PMDD related symptoms, it is widely perceived to be a result of fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels during that time of the month which also influences the production of the stress hormone, cortisol.

This may affect neurotransmitters in the brain such as the mood influencing hormones, dopamine, and serotonin. Anxiety during periods could also be as a result of undiagnosed depression or a preexisting mental health condition that intensifies due to menstruation.

The best way to deal with period-related anxiety is to have full awareness that there is nothing wrong with your mental health, just your hormones toying with your emotions. Stay calm and just count the days.

Carrying out certain exercises and infusing your diet with carbohydrate-rich foods that are known for mood-improving functions can be of help. anxiety can also be treated using prescription drugs or antidepressants.


During your period, you are likely to have insane food cravings, especially for junk food. In as much as this is normal, this may induce a side effect in some women. When you give in to your cravings and snack on food that are high on the glycemic index (ranking of carbohydrates in food and how they affect blood glucose levels), your body may become triggered to produce hunger-inducing chemicals like ghrelin.

The next time you notice your appetite has become insatiable and you are always hungry no matter how much you eat, you know who or what to blame. To avoid this binge eating which may invariably lead to weight gain, you should snack more on nutrient-rich foods other than carbs.




Due to the rise in progesterone and estrogen levels before the period commences, there is increased blood flow to the gum which leads to plaque accumulation in the mouth. The gums become swollen, sore, and tender as a result. In some cases, bleeding might occur. To prevent this from happening, it is crucial to maintain very good oral hygiene prior to or during your periods. As a matter of fact, you should always maintain oral hygiene at all times, period or not.


Commonly known as yeast infection or candidiasis. This is a vaginal infection that may be induced by periods. Hormonal imbalances that occur before or during periods may obstruct the normal Ph level of the vagina causing infection. The vagina harbors normal flora (beneficial microorganisms) such as the bacteria lactobacillus and fungi candida

These two microorganisms work hand in hand to protect the vagina against pathogens. The Flux in hormone levels may cause the bacteria to die and result in overgrowth of the fungi candida leading to candidiasis. Candidiasis is characterized by intense itching, inflammation, and burning sensation when urinating amongst other symptoms. High estrogen levels can cause candida to grow rapidly.

Over the counter medications or certain home, remedies can be used to treat vaginal thrush. Antifungal cream or tablets such as clotrimazole, butoconazole, miconazole are effective in treating the infection. Taking probiotics (found in yogurt) inserting coconut oil or plain Greek yogurt into the vagina,  are examples of home remedies used in treating candidiasis.


Some women may find it difficult to sleep during their periods. The reason is not far fetched. As with most of the side effects, fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone levels are the culprit. During the first half of the menstrual cycle, known as the follicular phase, there is a surge in estrogen level up until ovulation begins.

The surge in estrogen may cause sleep disturbances which disrupt your sleeping pattern. When the second half(luteal phase) commences, there is a surge in progesterone level  which causes the soporific effect that induces sleep and makes you drowsy.

When period fully commences, there is a dip in both hormone levels and because you’ve been caught between having sleep disturbances and suddenly feeling very sleepy, insomnia might prevail. Some experts believe period induced insomnia in some women is caused by the sudden dip in progesterone level.

Whatever the cause, you can overcome insomnia through relaxation exercises such as meditation or yoga, keeping your room cool and dark, through acupuncture, and by avoiding caffeine and alcohol.




One of the functions of the hormone estrogen is to protect the skin by thickening it and making it supple. A drop in estrogen level which occurs during the menstrual cycle can adversely affect the skin leading to increased sensitivity to pain. Dilation of blood muscles induced by prostaglandins during periods can cause extreme sensitivity also and maybe the reason why you are itching from scalp to toes. You might want to fix that wax or brow appointment for another time to avoid testing your pain threshold.



During your period, your body releases hormones called prostaglandins which dilates the blood muscles causing the smooth uterine muscles to contract (the reason for those painful cramps). The gastrointestinal tract which is close to the uterus is also lined with smooth muscles and may be affected by the prostaglandins.

This will cause your bowel muscles to contract along with your uterine muscles. The more they contract, the more you feel the need to expel waste. Excessive contraction can lead to diarrhea which means frequent trips to the bathroom. You can prevent or ease the effects of this by eating foods rich in fiber such as avocados, bananas, oats, broccoli, and whole wheat bread. Exercise may help too.



This is the exact opposite of the side effect discussed above. While prostaglandins are the brains behind your smooth muscle contracting, the hormone progesterone relaxes those muscles instead and prevents your bowels from contracting properly, which can lead to constipation. Again, eating foods rich in dietary Fiber can help cure the symptoms of constipation. Drinking lots of water and exercising is another good move.









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