The first day or two of your period can leave you feeling like you're someone else entirely. You're bloated, irritable, and tired, and you have weird cravings that never show up throughout the rest of the month. Another less-talked-about side effect of menstruating that many women experience is being clumsy. Whether that means you drop your keys three times in a row or are more prone to jamming your finger in the door frame, clumsiness is a very real PMS symptom for lots of women — and it's not all in our heads.
Alyssa Dweck, MD, gynaecologist in New York, and author of The Complete A to Z For Your V: A Woman's Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina, told POPSUGAR that period clumsiness is a definitely a thing, and there are some pretty reasonable explanations for it.
One reason might be that "you're eating tons more salt and not necessarily drinking so much water, so you may get a little more swelling," Dr. Dweck said. Having extraswollen hands and feet could make you a bit more accident-prone than usual. "If your sleep is interrupted during your PMS time, clumsiness can be a result," she added.
It's not uncommon for women to feel especially fatigued during their periods, and Dr. Dweck said you'll often see them trying to combat this exhaustion with caffeine or sugar. "Therefore you might get a bit shaky," she said. Cue the spilled coffee.
Perhaps the most fascinating explanation is that, during your period, neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, two chemicals that are associated with mood, happiness, and overall well-being, change in your body the same way your hormones do. This could cause you to act (or react) in odd ways.
Dr. Dweck explained it this way: One of the main medications prescribed for severe PMS is SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). You may know that SSRIs are a treatment for clinical depression, since they're meant to alter your serotonin levels and thus better your moods. Similarly, prescribing SSRIs for women with debilitating PMS will help them cope with their symptoms better.
"There's definitely science to suggest that serotonin is involved in PMS syndrome," Dr. Dweck told POPSUGAR. Even the slightest chemical changes in your brain could lead to weird (read: blundering) behaviour that you wouldn't normally see.
In other words, it definitely wouldn't hurt to be extra careful when you're on your period, and maybe stay away from complicated machinery or sharp knives until you're done menstruating.