Is Sauna Good for a Woman’s Period & Menstruation? (Practical Tips)

Sauna rooms are great for many things such as relaxation, pain relief, sinus infections, and more. With the many benefits that a sauna session can offer, you may be wondering if it is safe to use a sauna during menstruation as a way to relieve symptoms.

A sauna session can be good for the relief of period and menstruation symptoms such as abdominal cramps, lower back pain, joint pain, headache, bloating, and acne due to the increase in blood flow, improved circulation, and detoxifying properties brought on by sauna heat. Visit a steam room for deep heat penetration without dehydration.

Keep reading for more information on how a sauna can help with a woman’s monthly cycle and the best type of sauna or best practices. 

Can sauna help relieve menstruation symptoms during a period?

It is common for women to have painful periods; this is called dysmenorrhea and can cause cramping, throbbing, and shooting pains. 

Besides the pain brought on by menstruation, it’s common for women to suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS). PMS is the hormonal change that occurs before menstruation begins. For some women, this change in hormone levels can cause irritability, low mood, and acne.

Sauna exposure before your monthly cycle as well as during your cycle can help manage these symptoms as well as others. Here are some common symptoms as well as explanations as to why and how the sauna can help

  • Abdominal cramps – Prostaglandin is the hormone that causes cramping. The heat from a sauna can stimulate blood vessels and allow them to open properly; this results in the relaxation of your muscles and lowers the number of prostaglandins being released.
  • Lower back pain & Joint pain – The sauna’s heat can alleviate these pains caused by PMS. When the heat penetrates the blood vessels, nutrients and oxygen can flow better to the muscles and relieve pain.
  • Headache – Through increased circulation, an improvement of neurotransmitter release is created. These neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, beta-endorphins, and serotonin, are the body’s natural opioid pain relievers.
  • Bloating – Bloating is caused by large amounts of salt and or water in your system. When menstruating, it is common to store salt as well as crave salt. The sauna helps with bloating because it causes an individual to sweat. When we sweat, the body evacuates toxins, excessive water, and salt, therefore, decreasing bloating.
  • Acne – Acne is another menstruation symptom that can be helped with sauna-induced sweat. Acne is caused by hormonal imbalances and dirt trapped inside our pores. Sweating causes your pores to open, allowing dirt, oil, and bacteria to escape. 

Does heat help your period?

Heat can help with your period – just ask any woman who has ever spent the evening curled up with a heating pad!

Using heat can be effective for decreasing pain because heat increases blood flow which relaxes your muscles. Heat can also help improve PMS hormonal symptoms by reducing stress and increasing beta-endorphins. 

If you don’t feel comfortable entering a sauna while on your period, you can try taking a hot bath or spot treating a painful area with a warm water bottle or heating pad. Though not as effective as a sauna, these methods of direct heat can also uplift your mood.

You should never sleep with a heating pad or apply direct heat for more than 4 hours, or burns can occur. 

Does humidity help your period?

The humidity from a sauna can also help decrease period discomfort.

Humidity helps improve blood circulation by deeply penetrating your muscles and encouraging oxygen to flow more freely through your system.

Humidity can also decrease cortisol levels which is the body’s stress hormone. Humidity helps by clearing your skin through the opening and cleansing your pores. Additionally, humidity can help raise blood pressure that may be lowered due to hormonal changes during your period. 

Can the sauna induce your period?

The sauna has the potential to not only induce your upcoming period but speed up your period and keep it regular as well.

If you are close to starting your monthly cycle, the boost in blood flow to your tissues and muscles can start your menstruation early. This increase in blood flow circulation can also cause your period flow to become heavier.

Many people are unaware, but you only produce about 2-3 tablespoons of ‘fluid” over the 4-5 days of your cycle during menstruation. Because of this, increasing flow can shorten your period. 

Can the sauna delay your period?

There is little to no evidence that suggests that the sauna can delay your period. Overall, the general understanding is that it may induce your cycle instead. 

Although the sauna does not delay your period, it can help maintain its timing.

The relaxation that the sauna provides can help to keep you regular. When we are stressed, our pituitary gland creates more of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can inhibit the production of estrogen and progesterone, which help you maintain a regular cycle.

What kind of sauna is best for period symptoms?

When it comes to using the sauna as a way to relieve some of your period symptoms, any sauna can be a great choice.

Depending on the type of symptoms you are experiencing, one type may be more effective than another:

  • Infrared sauna – The infrared sauna is excellent if you are seeking pain relief for your entire body. The deep penetration of infrared lights can provide you with muscle relaxation from head to toe. Although you may reduce pain significantly through infrared therapy, the chances of your flow becoming heavier are also more significant. If you are not willing to risk a heavier flow, a traditional sauna or steam room may be a better option.
  • Traditional sauna – The traditional sauna does provide deep heat penetration, but it’s not as intense as a infrared sauna. Heat and humidity are beneficial for relieving pain, bloating, changes in mood, acne, etc. It is important to keep in mind that a sauna can lead to dehydration.
  • Steam room – Similar to a traditional sauna, you will experience deep heat penetration, but not to the same extent as an infrared sauna. Unlike a sauna, the steam room helps keep you hydrated.

Overall, the safest sauna option would be the steam room. You won’t have to worry about dehydration or a significant impact on your menstrual flow with the steam room. However, like stated above, all saunas can be effective for reducing symptoms. 

How to use the traditional sauna for period relief

If you are suffering from period or menstrual pains, you can visit a traditional sauna.

To maximize your relief from period pains in a traditional sauna, make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water before and after your session
  • Try to incorporate multiple sessions into your week
  • Stretch while you relax in the sauna
  • Time your sessions to about 15-30 minutes each
  • Wear a tampon, or menstrual cup

How to use the infrared sauna for period relief

For an infrared sauna session, beware that your flow may increase. A private session while sitting on a towel and wearing a durable menstrual cup such as Beppy may be ideal.

In general, you should approach the infrared sauna the same way you would a traditional one:

  • Drink plenty of water before and after your session
  • Try to incorporate multiple sessions into your week
  • Stretch while you relax in the sauna
  • Time your sessions to about 15-30 minutes each
  • Wear a tampon, or menstrual cup

How to use the steam room for period relief

 For the steam room,  you should remember that steam therapy can raise your blood pressure more significantly than other saunas.

Pain can cause an additional rise in blood pressure and it is suggested that you test your pressure before entering any sauna but especially a steam room. 

Once you’re sure your blood pressure is within acceptable ranges, follow these tips for period pain relief in the steam room:

  • Drink plenty of water before and after your session
  • Try to incorporate multiple sessions into your week
  • Stretch while you relax in the sauna
  • Time your sessions to about 15-30 minutes each
  • Wear a tampon, or menstrual cup