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This Is What's Really Happening In Your Brain When You're On Your Period

I've certainly been the recipient of this remark, and my guess is many of you have, too.

You say something someone doesn't agree with, or maybe your voice sounds a little irritated, and suddenly someone is all, “Must be that time of the month.”

Clearly, because of her menstrual cycle, a woman must obviously be rendered useless during that entire “time of the month,” because her brain can't function at maximum cognitive capacity.

But a recent study published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience is here to debunk this silly period myth once and for all.


As it turns out, the hormonal changes that happen during your period don't appear to have any negative impact on your ability to use your brain.

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Cue every woman in the room exclaiming “duh” at the top of her lungs.

In the study, a team of researchers examined three different aspects of brain cognition over the course of two of their participants' menstrual cycles.

Overall, a group of 68 women were monitored over the course of their menstrual cycles, but researchers specifically examined different aspects of brain cognition over the course of two of their participants' cycles.

The team found that the levels of the hormones oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone do not affect cognitive bias, one's working memory, or the ability to focus on two things at the same time.

Professor Leeners' goal in conducting this research was, indeed, to see if the “anecdotal” belief that a menstrual cycle impaired cognitive functioning could hold any water.

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Leeners, a psychotherapist and specialist in reproductive medicine, told EurekAlert! Science News,

I deal with many women who have the impression that the menstrual cycle influences their well-being and cognitive performance.

While an initial portion of the study did indicate that cognitive ability might be affected, the findings showed that that conclusion couldn't be sustained over time.

Leeners also mentioned that, while there might be individual exceptions to her findings, “the hormonal changes related to the menstrual cycle do not show any association with cognitive performance.”


So, what is actually going on in your brain during your period?

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And why do you sometimes feel, like, really different during that time of the month? 

Elite Daily spoke with Dr. Jessica Shepherd, OBGYN and U by Kotex partner, to shed a little more light on the subject.

She explains,

Hormonal shifts do take place during menstrual cycles, most recognizably estrogen and progesterone levels.

The hormonal shifts that take place during menstruation can affect your emotional and physical cognition, not your cognitive capabilities.

She adds that, while women may feel like their period is affecting their ability to make decisions, due to sluggishness or mood changes, it's really not affecting their cognitive function whatsoever.

Moral of the story? Make it your duty to keep on battling all those ridiculous, sexist myths about women's health.

Because, as it turns out, that's probably all they ever are.

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Annakeara Stinson

Staff Writer

Annakeara is a writer and all around barrel of laughs based in Brooklyn.
Annakeara is a writer and all around barrel of laughs based in Brooklyn.

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