Periods are relentless, aren’t they? From agonising cramps to headaches and mood swings, it seems like that time of the month has a personal vendetta against anyone with a uterus.
And now, it seems that the hormonal cycles of those of us with wombs can affect our breath, too.
Recently, TikToker Jess Parkinson shared a video on the topic. She spoke about her response to another TikTok user’s video, which mentioned how many of us lose strength in the luteal period of our menstrual cycle.
“Another interesting thing that happens in this phase is breathlessness,” the creator adds.
Here’s why it can happen (aside from the obvious reason, which is the fundamental injustice of the universe):
Carbon dioxide levels can drop in your luteal phase
The luteal phase is the second part of your menstrual cycle. Your womb works hard to provide a lining for any incoming fertilised eggs at this stage.
It comes after ovulation when oestrogen levels start to decrease and progesterone levels start to creep up. Progesterone can lower your mood and make you tired, which is why many find this phase of the cycle to be the most difficult.
And studies have found that carbon dioxide levels drop during the luteal phase, too. Healthline shared that lowered Co2 levels can cause everything from nausea to ― you guessed it ― shortness of breath.
“You could just be walking down the street and be like, why am I feeling out of breath? Why am I so unfit?”, TikToker Jess Parkinson shared.
Researchers from Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway, seem to agree. “Respiratory symptoms tend to get worse during the mid-luteal to mid-follicular phases of the menstrual cycle – between days 10 to 22 of the cycle,” a paper of theirs suggests.
That pesky progesterone has an awful lot to answer for
Of course, breathlessness isn’t the only issue with heightened progesterone. Being in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle is also associated with dryer discharge, mood changes, tender breasts, acne, and changes in appetite (oh good).
“That’s why I’m super irritated with everyone today,” Parkinson shared in her TikTok.
We’ve written before about how harsh the time leading up to your period can be on asthma sufferers, how your period can change your voice, and how, in some very rare cases, menstruators can bleed straight from their eyes while on their period.
Ah, the horrors of womb ownership. Here’s the full Tiktok: