Is Infrared Sauna OK During Menstruation?

Is Sauna Good For Women? Comprehensive Guide


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In our rapidly evolving world, prioritising our well-being has become paramount. One practice that has seen a surge in popularity due to its relaxation and myriad health benefits is the sauna.

Although saunas are enjoyed by individuals of all genders, the unique physiological makeup of women allows them to derive exceptional benefits from regular sauna sessions.

In this article, we will explore the incredible advantages that saunas offer specifically for women's well-being, focusing on both physical and mental benefits, making saunas an integral part of a comprehensive self-care routine.

Infrared Saunas Safety for Women

Infrared sauna bathing is much more than a relaxation haven—it triggers several changes in hormone secretion, some similar to stress responses, while others are unique to the sauna experience. So, how can you ensure you are practising sauna regularly, and safely so that it does not interfere with the likes of menstruation or breastfeeding? Let's delve deeper.

Should Women Use Saunas?

Yes, for the potential benefits of infrared saunas, frequent sauna bathing for women is a valuable tool to improve mental health, skin health and heart health. Some research even indicates that long-term sauna bathing may help lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension and improve issues with chronic congestive heart failure! The dry heat from a hot sauna not only benefits women but also men, alike!

How Long Should a Woman Sit in a Sauna?

While there's no one-size-fits-all answer for how long you should stay in a sauna, sauna exposure typically last around 15-20 minutes. You can use a sauna for different lengths of time depending on the sauna benefits you want to achieve, like weight loss or detoxification. The most important aspect to receive sauna benefits is to listen to your body and your current circumstances (are you on your period or not) and adjust accordingly.

What Do Women Wear in a Sauna?

Sauna etiquette can vary by country and culture. In some places, it's common to wear a towel, while in others, nudity is the norm. To ensure a comfortable experience, it is advisable to check the rules of the sauna you plan to visit.

Traditional saunas and infrared saunas work differently, and going naked in an infrared sauna is more important than in a traditional sauna or steam room. This is because far infrared saunas utilise infrared light to penetrate deep into the body, causing skin temperature rises from the inside out. Therefore, no obstruction between the infrared rays and the skin is necessary.

At the end of the day, choose what makes you feel comfortable, whether that be wearing a bra or not.

When Should You Not Go in a Sauna?

People with certain conditions, such as unstable angina pectoris, recent myocardial infarction, severe aortic stenosis, and atopic dermatitis, should avoid saunas. Also, avoid alcohol consumption during sauna baths.

Health conditions such as kidney disease, fatal cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, heart disease and even Alzheimer's disease should all seek medical attention to avoid sauna risks.

Now that we've cleared the basic 101's of sauna bathing, let's look at its effects on women specifically.

The Hormonal Benefits of Sauna for Women

The interplay of hormones, menstrual cycles, and fertility is a delicate dance that happens each month. In this context, the sauna emerges as a surprisingly beneficial player. While it's a well-known haven for relaxation, the physiological benefits it offers to women are less explored.

The wet heat of traditional steam saunas triggers several changes in hormone secretion, some of which resemble those induced by stress, while others are specific to the sauna experience.

For instance, being in traditional saunas can increase the secretion of the antidiuretic hormone and activate the adrenal glands and kidney function.

But what about its effects on female-specific hormones and processes like menstruation and fertility?

What Does a Sauna Do For a Woman? Infrared Sauna Health Benefits

Are saunas healthy or harmful for women? The benefits of saunas for women are generally the same as for men in most instances. That's because using a sauna causes blood vessels to dilate, providing health benefits to blood pressure as blood flow increases. Below we've outlined some more specific sauna benefits that may, or may not, be of more interest to females:

  1. Detoxification and Purification: Saunas offer an efficient way for women to detoxify their bodies. The profound sweating triggered by sauna sessions assists in eliminating toxins, heavy metals, and other harmful substances. Given that women often have heightened levels of certain toxins due to cosmetics, personal care products, and hormonal factors, regular sauna use can help purify their systems.
  2. Skin Rejuvenation: The heat and steam of the sauna hold remarkable benefits for women's skin. Regular sauna bathing enhances blood circulation, leading to increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to the skin cells. This improved blood flow aids in skin rejuvenation, resulting in a more youthful appearance, reduced acne, and a healthy glow. Furthermore, saunas assist in opening up pores and clearing out impurities, further improving overall complexion.
  3. Stress Relief and Mental Well-being: Modern life comes with its fair share of stress and anxiety, and women are not immune to these pressures. Saunas provide a serene and soothing environment that promotes relaxation and stress relief. The sauna's heat helps release endorphins, the body's natural mood enhancers, which can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Also improving sleep quality, providing women with a refreshing and restful experience.
  4. Hormonal Balance: Women's hormonal balance can be a sensitive issue, with imbalances potentially leading to various problems such as menstrual irregularities, brain fog, and hot flushes. Saunas can assist in regulating hormonal levels by stimulating the production of endorphins, which can counteract hormonal imbalances. Additionally, the enhanced blood circulation resulting from sauna use supports hormonal equilibrium, offering women a natural and holistic approach to managing their well-being.
  5. Muscle Relaxation and Recovery: For active women, saunas can be a fantastic tool for muscle relaxation and recovery. The heat and steam from saunas aid in dilating blood vessels, promoting improved circulation and oxygen flow to muscles. This helps in reducing muscle tension, relieving post-workout discomfort, and improving overall muscle recovery. Whether participating in intense exercise or simply seeking to relax, saunas can be a valuable addition to a woman's fitness routine.

Does Sauna Increase Estrogen?

While sauna use can stimulate the secretion of several hormones, the relationship between sauna use and estrogen levels is not fully understood.

However, sauna use has been observed to increase the levels of other hormones, such as growth hormone and prolactin. Prolactin in particular showed a significant increase in both men and women, which might be linked to the feeling of pleasure experienced during a sauna session.

Does Sauna Affect Female Fertility?

Interestingly, studies have found that sauna bathing does not impact fertility in women. Some therapies even utilise saunas as a means to improve fertility in women due to the stress relief and increased blood flow benefits. However, normal pregnancy rules still apply to sauna-ing, and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding it is recommended to avoid saunas completely, as well as other heat therapies.

Is Sauna OK During IVF?

Sauna bathing, despite its many health advantages, is usually discouraged during an IVF cycle. This is because heat is recognised as a teratogen, with the potential to induce birth defects and possibly result in a miscarriage.

Thus, following an embryo transfer, it's wise to steer clear of hot tubs or saunas. Nonetheless, you're absolutely free to enjoy warm showers.

However, emerging data suggest that ozone sauna therapy (OST) combined with pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF) could potentially serve as therapeutic adjuncts for female reproduction, including those undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Studies have shown an increase in the number of embryos formed and endometrial lining thickness after OST + PEMF treatment. This is new and emerging data, however, and does not substitute for the recreational use of sauna therapy when undergoing IVF or during pregnancy.

Does Sauna Affect Your Period?

Sauna use has been observed to cause temporary increases in menstrual flow due to enhanced blood circulation. However, these changes are transient and typically not a cause for concern. Let's look closer at this link.


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Saunas and Women's Menstruation Cycle

For many women, the journey of understanding and managing their menstrual health is a significant aspect of their overall well-being. With menstruation being a regular occurrence from menarche to menopause, it's crucial to comprehend the underlying phenomena involved in this process. According to a meeting convened by the Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, understanding menstruation and related disorders is key to achieving personalised care.

One age-old practice that has been gaining increased attention for its potential benefits for women's health, including menstrual health, is sauna.

While studies on the effects of passive heat therapies, such as saunas, have traditionally focused on men, recent research has started to explore the impact of these therapies on women. Let's shed light on the unique benefits of sauna use for women, with a particular emphasis on its effects on menstrual health.

Why Might My Menstrual Flow Increase After Using a Sauna?

It's not unusual for some women to notice an increased menstrual flow post a sauna session. The rise in body temperature during a sauna bath can enhance blood circulation, which may result in a more rapid shedding of the uterine lining, thereby leading to a heavier period.

Does Heat Exacerbate Menstrual Symptoms?

Although heat can stimulate blood flow, potentially causing a heavier menstrual flow, it doesn't necessarily worsen menstrual symptoms. Many women actually find sauna bathing during their period quite soothing, as the heat can help alleviate menstrual cramps and promote relaxation. The key is to heed your body's signals and maintain a comfortable level of heat exposure.

Can Hot Water Impact the Menstrual Cycle?

While hot water, such as that in saunas or hot tubs, doesn't directly alter the regularity or duration of the menstrual cycle, it's worth noting that extreme heat can affect overall body temperature regulation.

Extended exposure to high temperatures could potentially disrupt hormonal balance, which might in turn impact the menstrual cycle. Therefore, long periods of excessive heat exposure are best avoided during menstruation.

What Practices Should be Avoided During Menstruation?

Taking care of oneself is crucial during menstruation. While sauna bathing can be beneficial for many women, certain practices should be approached with caution during this period:

  • Prolonged exposure to excessive heat: Long sauna sessions or soaking in a hot tub can lead to overheating and discomfort. Keep sauna sessions brief and ensure you stay well-hydrated.
  • Using scented products: Products like scented tampons or perfumed wipes may irritate the sensitive vaginal area during menstruation. Opt for unscented, hypoallergenic products to avoid potential discomfort.
  • Intense physical activity: While light exercise can alleviate menstrual symptoms, strenuous activities may amplify discomfort or cramping. Listen to your body and choose activities that foster relaxation and well-being.

Sauna bathing offers a range of benefits for women, including those on their menstrual cycle. While a temporary increase in menstrual flow post-sauna sessions is normal, heat doesn't inherently worsen menstrual symptoms.

Saunas Effect on Surgery: Does Heat Affect Breast Implants?

You may be wondering, "What are the effects of saunas on surgery recovery, specifically when it comes to breast implants?" Well, you're not alone!

This is a common question among many women who enjoy the relaxation and health benefits of a good sauna session but also have or are considering breast implants.

Breast implants serve a variety of purposes, from enhancing your natural curves to reconstructive surgeries following a mastectomy, or even for gender transitions. They can be life-changing in many ways, but it's important to be well-informed about all aspects of this decision. This includes understanding how they might interact with activities like sauna bathing.

Now, let's get back to saunas. Can you still enjoy a steamy sauna session if you have breast implants? The answer is generally yes, but as with all things, moderation is key. Also, make sure to give your body ample time to heal post-surgery before hitting the sauna.

Can You Go in Sauna Post-Surgery?

Now, one might wonder about the implications of sauna use post-implant surgery. In Finland, where sauna bathing is deeply rooted in tradition, it's commonly believed that after surgery patients should avoid the sauna until the sutures are removed.

However, a study conducted on 79 patients who underwent elective hernioplasty showed no negative impact on wound healing from sauna use starting from the third postoperative day.

Is a Sauna Good for Postpartum?

In the context of breastfeeding, especially postpartum, some women may question if sauna use can affect breast milk supply.

Interestingly, a study involving ceramic far-infrared radiation, known for its vasodilating and warming effects, demonstrated promising results for lactation enhancement. When a ceramic disc was attached to the breast skin of women with previously poor lactation, around 75% reported significant improvement in lactation after one month, with half of them able to breastfeed until weaning.

However, we generally recommend avoiding an infrared sauna while breastfeeding due to the detoxification benefits of a sauna.

Can You Use Sauna After Lip Fillers?

After getting lip fillers, it's important to take certain precautions. One of these precautions involves your beloved sauna sessions.

In the immediate period following your treatment, it's recommended that you refrain from lying down or participating in strenuous exercise for at least three hours. But when it comes to saunas, hot tubs, or tanning, you'll need to play the waiting game a bit longer.

To allow your lips to heal properly and maintain the desired effect of the fillers, it's best to avoid exposure to heat sources like saunas for at least 4 days after the procedure. Heat can cause increased blood flow, which might lead to swelling and can possibly affect the results of your treatment.

So, whether you're considering breast implants, recovering post-surgery, or navigating the beautiful journey of motherhood, remember that knowledge is power. Understanding your body and how it responds to various practices like sauna use can empower you to make informed decisions that enhance your well-being.

If you're interested in learning about infrared saunas effect on men, we've written a blog addressing the issues of ED that you might be interested in!

Infrared Saunas Health Benefits

Take a look at the entire list of infrared sauna health benefits here!

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