On my best cycle days, I’m fairly clumsy. I tell people I don’t wear high-heeled shoes because I don’t feel the need to put my toes in pain to look stylish. But, the truth is that I’m certain I’d end up with one broken ankle, two skinned knees and 14 stitches if I tried to walk in anything above an inch. Seriously, I’m not the one you want serving hot soup at dinner parties.
So, you can imagine just how banged up I get in my premenstrual week. That’s because this is a time when dexterity and coordination can dip. And researchers have pinpointed two key reasons why:
1. You get dizzier. Research shows that during your premenstrual week, your inner ear undergoes certain changes that can make it more difficult to maintain balance. As a result, you can get hit with dizzy spells or vertigo.
2. You see more slowly. Ever notice how the eyes of someone who’s drunk move slower. Like their head moves, then their eyes catch up a little later? Well, a less pronounced version of this can happen during the second half of your cycle, making you notice that curb, open cabinet door and low-hanging tree branch just a tad too late to miss them, according to research (such as this and this). Blame goes to the sedating effects of progesterone and lousier sleep you get during your premenstrual phase.
So, what’s a premenstrual gal to do? Simply knowing that you could be a little off your game can help you overcome these challenges. That’s because you can remind yourself to pay more attention to avoid mishaps and stumbles. Plus, you can avoid putting yourself in situations that would raise your risk of injury, for instance, by wearing sensibly low-heeled shoes and saving the fire baton juggling for another cycle day.