Sometimes–okay, a lot of the times–the blame is completely warranted. However, other times that blame is totally uncalled for.
The real culprit behind a certain problem may have nothing to do with your hormones–and, as a result, could be far easier to fix.
Take what happens in the second half of your cycle, for example: During your Week 3 and Week 4, if you notice you’re snappish, irritated or blue, you have trouble focusing on a task, you feel a head-pounder coming on or your energy is draining away, you may chalk it up to lower levels of estrogen during your premenstrual phase, which can trigger all the above.
However, the actual problem could be that you’re simply low on fluids–and a simple drink of water will reverse these bothersome symptoms.
That’s the news from a 2012 study in the Journal of Nutrition that found women with just mild dehydration–not even enough to notice you’re thirsty–experienced all the symptoms listed above. (A separate study conducted by the same research team found the same holds true for men, too.)
Why would a relatively minor dip in hydration cause so many problems? The brain and body need a certain amount of fluids to run all their many processes at peak performance. And researchers speculate that these uncomfortable, annoying signals are alarm bells alerting you that your tank is getting low and it’s time to drink up.
Not a water fan? Not a problem. As long as you’re hydrating with any beverage other than alcohol (a 2014 study shows that coffee and other caffeinated beverages are fine for rehydrating) and/or you’re eating hydrating foods (like watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes and lettuce), you’ll reverse the uncomfortable signs of dehydration.
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