I was watching No Strings Attached last night (don’t ask why) and there was a scene in the film where the protagonist, Emma played by Natalie Portman is chilling with her friends, with hot water bottles and chamomile tea. They've all got their periods. Together.
This got me thinking about the number of times I’ve complained of menstrual cramps only to hear ‘me too’. I recently read an article that went to the extent of claiming that women who are extremely fertile can actually influence the period cycles of other women around them; hence, menstrual synchrony.
But is menstrual synchrony really possible between a group of women who spend time together? Do we really sync up? And if we do, then what’s the amount of time that quantifies this phenomenon? Does fertility really have a role to play in such a case?
Apparently, this is not a mystery. Researcher Martha McClintock's published a paper in Nature, back in 1971. Her paper spoke about how women can sync up if two or more of us spend more time together (for instance: at work or in the dorm).
While she was heavily criticised in her time, many researchers took it upon themselves to get to the bottom of it. A follow-up study in 1998 supported Martha’s study saying pheromones were involved. A hormone we naturally secrete could either lengthen or shorten cycles depending on what part of our cycle we were in.
I couldn’t take it anymore. So I put in a call to Dr. Loveleena Nadir, Gynecologist/Obstetrician, Fortis La Femme, New Delhi. “Menstrual synchrony can sometimes happen, due to secretion of ectohormones,” she said, agreeing with the research. Ectohormones are a kind of pheromone that have an impact on the environment, or in this case, the person you’re sitting next to.
So it’s not compulsory for this to happen in every group—but if it does, you know it’s solid sisterhood. Or, extremely fertile… whichever works better for you.
If you feel like you should be awarded for your periods (and we agree), here are 10 ways your partner can reward you.