My Hormonology

Ever wonder why your premenstrual week is different from your sister’s, friend’s or co-worker’s? Curious about why you don’t have the same symptoms? Or why the frequency or intensity of your symptoms don’t match?

Research shows that some of this difference comes down to lifestyle habits.

Generally speaking, the healthier your lifestyle–meaning, if you’re clocking seven to eight hours of sleep every night, eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly and destressing–the fewer premenstrual woes you experience.

One other factor that affects how many premenstrual symptoms you experience and how intense or frequent they are is genetics.

We’re each born with a personal sensitivity to fluctuating hormones that we’ve inherited from our parents. Some of us are highly sensitive to these hormonal ups and downs, experiencing intense mood and/or physical changes with every rise and dip. Meanwhile, others are less sensitive, coasting through troughs and spikes without a problem.

Chances are, if you have a genetic predisposition to premenstrual problems, so did your mother or grandmother.

Well, now researchers have pinpointed one other possible cause of premenstrual differences among women–and it’s one you can see in your fingers.

A new premenstrual clue

According to a 2017 study from Wakayama Medical University in Japan, your premenstrual experience may be affected by the level of estrogen and testosterone you were exposed to in the womb.

And, you can tell by simply looking at your fingers.

To do it: Using your right hand, measure your second finger (pointer) and fourth finger (ring finger) from the crease in your palm to the tip of the finger.

My Hormonology

If these fingers are close in length or the same length, it means you have a higher risk of premenstrual symptoms, specifically mood issues (such irritability, sadness, anxiety or mood swings), pain (such as achiness, cramps and headaches), fatigue, mental fogginess, clumsiness, dizziness, nausea, hot flashes, cold sweats, chest pains, ringing in the ears and a racing heartbeat.

Not that you’ll be experiencing all of these problems every single cycle. You’re simply more likely to endure at least one of them regularly.

If your fourth finger is shorter than your second finger, you have a lower risk of these premenstrual ailments. And this risk goes down as the difference in your finger lengths increases.

Why the link?

In the womb, testosterone is responsible for making the fourth finger longer and estrogen is responsible for making it shorter.

The study authors theorize that a higher level of estrogen (producing a shorter fourth finger) helps reduce sensitivity to hormone fluctuations after you reach puberty.

The takeaway

Seeing how your finger length is different from another woman’s can help you understand one reason why your premenstrual experience may be different from hers.

And, if you’ve got premenstrual problems, while there’s not much you can do about genetics or how much of a certain hormone you were exposed to in the womb, confirming why you may be experiencing premenstrual issues can put your mind at ease. It offers up confirmation that what you’re going through is real and biological.

But, no matter what kind of premenstrual experience you go through, you can ease symptoms and enjoy a happier pre-period week by following healthy lifestyle habits–including that good sleep, nutritious food, habitual exercise and destressing regimen mentioned above.

I’ve also reported on many study-proven premenstrual remedies in my blog, which I encourage you to try. Sometimes, it takes stumbling upon the right treatment (or combination of treatments) to ease the specific pre-period issue you’re dealing with. So, they’re worth checking out. You can find them here.

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My Hormonology