Ramazan is that blessed time of the year when Muslims undergo serious internal reflection, abstain from food drink and wrongs and try to establish a closer link with God. We fast to not only abstain from food and drink but also to learn the very important lessons of empathy and patience.
However, fasting although a very spiritually uplifting experience, is also an equally strenuous activity for many. This is one reason why the young, the old, the ailing, the pregnant and the menstruating are exempt from the task. For women and girls who menstruate, fasting can have a considerable amount of impact on the monthly cycle.
As per a study on the effects of fasting on menstrual cycles conducted on college going teens, approximately 34% of participants reported irregular periods of one of three kinds namely:
Oligomenorrhea: which is categorized by irregular and inconsistent menstrual cycles,
Polymenorrhea: which consists of a cycle that is shorter than 21 days, and
Hypermenorrhea: which is categorized by heavy or prolonged blood flow which can ultimately lead to anemia.
Now, these are serious medical conditions that may affect women’s overall standard of living, their health and their emotional well being. If they become chronic they can also bring an array of hormonal issues, PCOS and even trouble conceiving. However, your health and life do not need to deteriorate just because you fast. And technically, they shouldn’t because fasting is known to have many wonderful health benefits such as improved digestion and detoxification.
It is our modern dilemma that disrupts our natural sleep cycle and eating habits and this leads to issues such as irregular periods. However, this is something that can be controlled and limited with a well-balanced diet. That means cutting off on those spicy pakoras and sugary drinks ladies! A healthy and balanced diet can go a long way.
We know the struggle of living in a desi household where even though to try to fight the temptation of all those delicious fried foods, you just can’t! It’s a fact. However, fried foods are a rozaydaar’s worst enemy and should be avoided or at least limited at all costs as they mess up your metabolism and your cycle.
Expecting women to conform to the narrow-minded views of being slim, petite and without much of an appetite is unrealistic and just plain rude. No matter what your body type, shape, and size, it is important to keep your weight down to a healthy number without inflicting torturous diets upon yourself because being overweight has a correlation with irregular periods.
To avoid this, just incorporate more boiled, grilled and steamed alternatives into your diet. Who needs keto when you have safer alternatives like eating fresh and clean, that keep you happy and healthy, even if your weight is more than what society deems acceptable.
Here are a few healthy activities to consider while fasting ladies;
Take up yoga as studies reveal that partaking in yoga 5 days a week lowers risks of hormonal imbalances that can wreak havoc to your menstrual cycle
Add some cinnamon to your sehri and iftar meals as it not only relieves bloating but also reduced menstrual issues such as pain and irregular bleeding.
Don’t forget to get that daily dose of vitamins. Although we suggest soaking those up from the sun or from fruits and veggies, taking a supplement or two never hurts!
And finally, learn to relax! We understand that being a woman in a fasting household can be quite stressful but learn to take some time for yourself and use it to build a better relationship with your creator instead. We don’t like rigid and archaic gender roles and neither should you! Teach em young!