Does your period actually make you smarter?

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  • There are some perks to your period then.

    We all know the downsides to getting your period, from a bloated stomach and cramps to mood swings and an inability to sleep. However, according to new research, we might have FINALLY found the silver lining we’ve all been looking for.

    Yes, new research suggests that people might be smarter when they’re on their periods, and brain scans taken during the study have pinpointed exactly what changes in our brain when Aunt Flo is in town.

    Although we don’t actually get smarter when it’s our time of the month, the size of our brain does change. The study was led by PhD student Claudia Barth, and found that the part of our brain known as the hippocampus increases in size during our periods.

    For the study, researchers conducted a brain scan of one woman every couple of days across two menstrual cycles. The results found that as her oestrogen levels rose, her hippocampus increased. Similarly, as her oestrogen levels decreased, so did this part of her brain.

    The hippocampus is responsible for controlling and creating new memories, along with regulating our mood and emotions. But what does this mean?

    ‘In mice, it has already been proven that it is not just this brain structure but also different behaviours which underly a type of monthly cycle,’ says Barth, who wants to research further into the subject.

    So, although your period hasn’t YET been proven to scientifically make you smarter, the increase in size to your hippocampus is likely to be changing your brain activity in some way or other.

    This isn’t the first time a study has been proven to alter the way your brain works, either. In 2014, a study in the UK found that the impact of period cramps does affect brain function.

    The study found that participants suffering from period pain didn’t perform as well on tests measuring their attention span and ability to multitask. Previous studies have also found that decreasing levels of oestrogen are connected to a difficulty in learning new things and experiencing feelings of brain fog.

    So maybe we’re actually less intelligent on our periods? Jurys out.

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