Mandi, a Facebook friend, asks if it’s normal to have difficulty driving in her premenstrual Week 4. Specifically, “difficulty with backing up and steering the right way to pulling into the parking space straight. These are usually my weaker points, but it seems much worse during week 4. Maybe it’s an increased lack of coordination?”
My answer: Your dexterity and coordination definitely do decrease during your premenstrual Week 4 due to plunging estrogen. On top of that spatial skills (which help you visualize images in your head, helping you to figure out how to move objects) are low. And these are the very skills needed to help move your car into a parking space, parallel park or back up.
Interestingly, research shows that spatial skills in women peak during their period. The theory is that low-but-rising estrogen on these days allows the effects of testosterone (a hormone that boosts spatial skills) to shine through, making you excel at anything that requires these abilities–such as parking a car, putting together a piece of furniture or figuring out a new route to a destination (for when you left your GPS at home).
Luckily, research (like this study out of the University of Toronto) shows you can have better spatial skills every day of your cycle by simply playing video games–specifically those that require you to manipulate images in your head, like Tetris. The more you play, the better your spatial skills become!