hi everyone One of the greatest thing that i tried since i started paleo is cold exposure and cold showers , the hormetic effect is just amazing . My sister also want's to try it but she is afraid that cold exposure is not healthy for women's menstrual cycle and it can cause damage to the ovaries. Do you know of any relevant research ? Does any girl out there has any experience on cold exposure ? Thank you
asked bylitp (25)
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on November 23, 2011
at 12:52 AM
I lived up in Scandinavia and never observed any cold-related menstrual cycle traditions. The Finns and Saami people I knew used the sauna constantly, even woman who were heavily pregnant, and of course the sauna tradition involved either a cold pool or running out in the snow naked after the sweat. I (and all the other women) would have loved it if cold impaired our fertility considering all the time we spent with naked hot sweaty men.
During menstrual periods, it is thought to remove excess water and promote strength.
I guess that's the problem with all the traditional medicine a lot of people in paleo are into. In the end, since it's based on very different traditions, it becomes another form of tribalistic rivalry. I am quite biased towards the ancient Nordic traditions rather than the Chinese medicine that is so popular in the West now. Luckily, the Finns have invested quite heavily in researching the sauna and ice swimming and have never found that these traditions affect women's fertility, but it may affect men's sperm counts (though the studies are conflicting).
In Arctic unmodernized conditions, the cold is a constant presence. Even wrapped in furs, it changes the body. Biomarkers of arctic people in winter reflect this, particularly levels of thyroid hormones. Yet they remain fertile.
This morning I had my period and felt a little off, but I swam in the cold Atlantic ocean and felt much better.
on November 23, 2011
at 03:03 AM
In my experience, I tend to get cold easily for the days preceding my period. The LAST thing I would want to do is make myself even colder when I'm already miserable.
That strikes me as being counterintuitive.
on November 22, 2011
at 08:23 PM
This will be unpopular but I do not think it is healthy for a woman to undergo undue mental or physical stress right before or during the menstrual period. By undue physical stress I would include purposely exposing oneself to extremely cold temps or exercising strenuously(operative word "strenuously"). I know the feminists out there will protest and say female athletes perform just as well during menses as not but just because one can't doesn't mean one should or that it is healthy in the longrun. The luteal phase defects and hormone dysfunction from this early in life can negatively impact future fertility as well as creating a less than optimal hormonal balance. I believe many of the hormonal imbalances women face during peri and menopause as well as the fertility issues seen in younger and younger women have everything to do with our lifestyles -- too much or wrong kind of exercise with no concern for menstrual cycle -- chronic stress -- substance abuse -- lack of restorative sleep -- ignoring optimal circadium rhythms -- many things other than simply poor diet. In Chinese medicine, a woman is to take it easy right before and during menses. This is not sexist -- it's because the body is under stress (hormonal fluctuations) and to further deplete the body by purposely exposing it to additional stress is not good. Women do not recover from stresses the same way men do. Our stress hormones stay elevated longer. Unfortunately, our society makes it difficult for women to honor their biological differences. We're supposed to "have it all." Yeah, all the diseases traditionally thought of as male diseases plus hormonal dysfunction...We're in a strange place. Nobody bats an eye when 20something year old women want fertility drugs or IVF...Back to the question -- I think the "polar bear activities" are perfectly fine so long as not right before or during menses.