Everyone has different ways of dealing with their period. Some can't
deal with the cramps, while others just treat it like any normal day.
But what about exercising during that time of the month, specifically
performing all sorts of contortions like the ones done during yoga. Are
the any perils from performing handstands during your period?
Turns out, there are both traditional and scientific justifications for abstaining from certain yoga positions during that time of the month. Dr. Timothy McCall, the medical editor of Yoga Journal, shares that many believe that inverted movements (the positions in which you raise your feet over your head) might interfere with your period in a negative way and lead to "retrograde menstruation" in which your period somehow flows backwards right up into your fallopian tubes (ew!).
As disgusting as it sounds, retrograde menstruation can also lead to endometriosis, which causes painful lesions, irregular bleeding and infertility issues. However, many doctors including McCall say this idea is outdated: a study found that retrograde menstruation naturally occurs in 90% of women, most of whom never develop endometriosis, so it's unlikely that a brief headstand could be all that dangerous. However, they still advise against inverting while menstruating to avoid potential "vascular congestion," aka a heavier period (although you'd probably have to stay inverted for a good amount of time to really affect your flow). And some even recommend practicing inversions to alleviate menstrual problems such as heavy flow and irregular periods.
As you can probably imagine, it's easy to see why most people find this bit of detail quite confusing. However, yoga is an ancient practice that is steeped in tradition. So the best advice would be to just listen to your body, That means if you are feeling tired and crampy, then not only shouldn't you be doing strong inversions like headstands in the early days of your period, you probably should take it easy. But if you otherwise feel good, then going upside down for a minute or two is unlikely to wreck your flow.