Why Does Stress Cause Delayed/missed/late Periods
Even if you rarely have to deal with irregular periods, sometimes stress can throw a wrench in the works and mess up your whole menstrual cycle.
Yup, stress can actually cause your period to be late or delayed when your body is so freaked out by keeping you calm and whatâs happening around you, that makes you anxious, that your bodyâs hormones hold off on critical parts of your menstrual cycle, like ovulation. Think about it from a cavewoman perspective. Stress causes your body to go into fight-or-flight mode, and if youâre running from a giant wooly mammoth, letâs say, it makes sense that your body would be like, âOh this would be a not-so-great time to have a baby right nowâ and hit pause on keeping your reproductive systems ready-to-go. While yes, this does introduce a whole new set of stress, your body probably thinks that Cavewoman-you would likely not have time to ask, âOh crap, why is my period late?â in this scenario.
Ideally you are not so anxious that your body interprets your stress level as running-from-wooly-mammoth-high, but you get it.
How To Prevent Stress From Delaying Your Period
The first step in preventing stress from delaying your period is to understand whats causing your stress and how much stress you can manage. You may not always be able to avoid stress, but you can develop healthy ways to cope with it. Tracking your cycle and any changes you experience in your moods will make it easier to identify any issues that may arise so you can better understand why your period is late.
While stress is a common cause for a late period, it is just one of many potential reasons for a delay in menstruation. Pregnancy, hormonal birth control, and health problems like polycystic ovary syndrome can also make your period late.
Sometimes the stress of worrying about a potential unintended pregnancy can make your period late. Taking a pregnancy test to find out if you are pregnant can reduce this stress. If your period is late, and youre experiencing symptoms like unwanted hair growth, headaches, weight gain, and difficulty sleeping, you may want to see a health care provider to rule out PCOS, which is a treatable condition.
Tracking your mood, life events, and symptoms in an app like Flo can help you gain perspective on your level of stress, and taking simple measures like exercising or making time for meditation can help you get your period back on track.
- Analysis of period and cycle length
- Chances of getting pregnant and ovulation forecast
- Predictions of next period
Stress Can Make Your Period Late
Feeling like your period just left you on read? Well, like a bad Tinder date, stress can cause your period to stop showing its face.
Studies show a strong link between amenorrhea and chronic stress. A period is considered late when its 5 or more days later than usual. When menstrual flow stops for more than 6 weeks, its considered a missed period.
Chronic stress is one the most common causes of secondary amenorrhea, which is when your period disappears for 6 months or longer. If youve missed a period and have already ruled out pregnancy, theres a good chance stress is to blame.
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Stress Is Something We All Experience From Time To Time And It Can Often Have A Negative Impact On Us Both Physically And Mentally
Whether it be a change in mood, an increase in blood pressure, or a change in appetite, theres usually something else in our life that takes a little turn for the worse when were feeling under pressure.
Its therefore unsurprising to know that stress can also impact your menstrual cycle in a number of ways. Having said this, these problems are usually minor, so try to relax and trust your body to do what it needs to do!
Whats A Regular Cycle
According to Millheiser, normal menstrual cycle length can vary from person to person, but its typically between 21-35 days.
Mahalingaiah says irregularity, whether from stress or another factor, is defined as when a cycle length is greater than 35 days, thats unpredictable with variability in cycle length greater than 7 days.
Some people, she says, experience a bit of variability month to month, and anything up to seven days can be normal. Other people have longer menstrual cycles, which arent problematic on their own as long as theyre predictable. You can have up to seven days of flexibility and still have a regular period, she says.
Whats typically concerning, Millheiser says, is when a person has a normal, predictable period but all of a sudden they begin to have a period every six weeks or three months: When theres a significant change outside of that normal range, then you need to speak with your doctor.
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Can Stress Cause A Missed Or Late Period
When your body is so under pressure trying to keep you calm and reacting to whatâs happening around you, you can become anxious, and then yourâ¯bodyâs hormones hold off on critical parts of your menstrual cycle, like ovulation. Think about it from a cavewoman perspective. Stress causes your body to go into fight-or-flight mode, and if youâre running from a giant woolly mammoth, it makes sense that your body would be less concerned about having a baby in that moment and hit pause on keeping your reproductive system ready to go. So although this does introduce a whole new set of stress, your body probably thinks that Cavewoman-you would likely not have time to even think about why your period was late.
In an ideal scenario though, you wouldnât be so anxious that your body interprets your stress level as running-from-woolly-mammoth-high, but you get the picture.
Can Stress Cause Spotting
Absolutely. That fight-or-flight response we mentioned above isnât limited to just shutting your period down or delaying it for a few days. Stress can also cause spotting, aka when you kind of have a little blood coming out , but not enough for you to qualify as a full period. This often happens between periods, leading you to be like, âwhy is this happening 15 days early?â
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Stress Has Been Recognised By Doctors As A Cause For Missing A Period Here We Explore Why These Changes Might Occur As A Result Of The Covid
If youve noticed your menstrual cycle fluctuating recently, or youve been experiencing heightened period pains, you are not alone! It has been recognised by doctors that both stress and major changes to your normal routine can affect your cycle. These changes can vary from late periods to missed periods, longer cycles, and even dysmenorrhea . Due to the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdown, many of us have experienced a complete upheaval in our expected norm. Whether youre working from home, anxious about your job or your health, or a key worker rushed off your feet and working more hours than ever, your cycle may have been affected.
Reasons Your Period Is Late
During your usual morning routine, you open your cabinet, spot a box of tampons in the back, and you suddenly realize youre late. When was my last period? you think as you try to remember the last time you needed to reach for that box. Panic then takes over as your mind shoots straight to pregnancy.
While being pregnant is a possible reason for a missed period, there may be factors related to your health or lifestyle that are causing the delay, notes Shelley White-Corey, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A& M Health Science Center College of Nursing and a womens health nurse practitioner.
Your period may not make an appearance after your baby is born, but dont be alarmed! If you are breastfeeding your little one, a lack of periods is completely normal. Referred to as lactational amenorrhea, this is a phase that disrupts the rhythm of your menstrual cycle. After a few months, your monthly period should be right back on track.
Weight loss or weight gain
Whether youre overweight or underweight, any change in pounds can affect your monthly cycle. Common health problems linked to weight and irregular menstruation include eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, and uncontrolled diabetes. If you suspect this might be an issue for you, see your health care provider right away.
Sleep schedule changes
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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What To Do If Stress Delays Your Period
If you suspect that stress is the cause of your delayed period, there are several lifestyle changes you can make. Firstly, it is important to identify the possible causes of your stress and understand the level of stress youre under.
Keeping a journal is one way to do this. Talking to a therapist is another. Meditation, yoga, and exercise are common methods that many people find helpful. In some cases, cognitive behavioral therapy may be recommended.
Pinpointing The Cause Of A Missed Period
Of course, the first thing you should do if your period is late is to take a pregnancy test, which can be accurate as early as the first day of your missed period. If it’s negative and you don’t get your period in a few days or you completely skip it that cycle, or if you’re having chronic problems with menstruation, make an appointment to see your gynecologist.
She’ll likely do a repeat pregnancy test. If it’s negative, she’ll move on to some basic evaluations such as asking you about your medical history, doing a pelvic exam, and taking blood samples to check your hormone levels.
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Managing Stress Regulating Your Cycle
Managing stress and regulating the menstrual cycle can often go hand-in-hand. Tracking your period can help you keep tabs on whats normal for you, and make irregularities more clear right away.
If you are seeing changes to your period, Cabeca recommends adopting a ketogenic diet rich in alkaline plant-based foods, which not only regulates hormones but boosts immune system function. She also suggests incorporating alkalizing practices into daily life.
By that I mean practice daily activities that make us feel good, and that support looking at life from the lens of beauty and gratitude, Cabeca says. Doing so through meditation, getting out in nature, laughing and talking with your friends, all of which are incredibly therapeutic.
Exercise and quality sleep are also important physical regulators with de-stressing benefits. Just like an intense workout can relieve stress, a lack of sleep can induce it.
In the same way that everyones period is different, stress affects us all differently, so its important to know your cycle and understand what could be triggering disruptions. Develop an understanding of what helps you de-stress to bolster both mental and physical health.
Can Stress Affect Your Period
Is stress behind your irregular or missed period? Hereâs how to tell.
Stress and periods go together like peanut butter and jelly.. in the worst way. As if getting your period wasnât anxiety-inducing enough , stress can also cause major shifts in your period and menstrual cycle, namely delaying it. A recent study found that high levels of stress can cause irregular periods.
Stressing about not getting or missing your period can actually make you…not get your period. Itâs a real chicken-and-the-egg scenario. Or in this case, stress-about-the-not-fertilized-egg and the not-fertilized-egg scenario.
Stress less and use our period tracker to know when youâre period is scheduled to start and when it is scheduled to stop.
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Stress And Your Period
Amenorrhea, or the absence of menstruation, can be caused by both emotional stress and physical stress, such as too much exercise or consuming too few calories. Stress affects the bodys hormone production, and hormone irregularities can lead to disruptions in a persons cycle.
The hormone progesterone plays an important role in the menstrual cycle, says Anna Cabeca, DO, a triple-board certified OB-GYN and author of two best-selling books: The Hormone Fix and Keto-Green 16.It affects menstrual regularity, ovulation and premenstrual syndrome symptoms, and irregular levels can have such side effects as anxiety, depression, mood swings, brain fog and sleep disorders.
Can Stress Bring On A Period
Even if you rarely have to deal with irregular periods, sometimes stress can throw a spanner in the works and mess up your whole menstrual cycle, causing it to be early or late. Stress levels often affect the part of your brain that controls your hormone levels â the hypothalamus â which means the stress youâre experiencing may cause your period to come when youâre not expecting it â which means itâs possible that your period will come early. Thereâs also a link between women working stressful jobs and having short cycles .
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What Should I Do If I Have Not Started My Period
Girls start their periods at a very variable age. So it may be that your friends have been having periods for a while but you have not. Usually this will be normal variation and nothing to worry about. Ask your doctor’s advice if:
- You are 16 years old or older and still have no periods.
- You are 14 years old or older and have not developed breasts or pubic hair and do not have periods.
- You have a pain in your tummy every month but no bleeding.
- You can feel a lump in the lower part of your tummy.
- You have had sex without using contraception .
Doing Too Much Exercise
The stress that intense physical activity places on your body can affect the hormones responsible for your periods. Losing too much body fat through intense exercise can also stop you ovulating.
You’ll be advised to reduce your level of activity if excessive exercise has caused your periods to stop.
If you’re a professional athlete, you may benefit from seeing a doctor who specialises in sports medicine. They’ll be able to give you advice about how to maintain your performance without disrupting your periods.
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What To Do If Period Are Late
If your period is late by a few days, then you dont have to worry yet. However, If youve already missed your period for weeks, then get a pregnancy test done.
Also, if you are expecting an event and just want to period out, then it can be induced. Induction of period can happen if you add parsley to you food or take vitamin C.
Inducing your period may cause a miscarriage if you are already pregnant. Please always get a test done first.
When To See Your Physician If You Miss Your Period
If youve ruled out pregnancy as a cause, see a physician after three missed or dramatically different periods. Estrogen and progesterone have important roles beyond menstruation. They:
- Stabilize your mood.
- Promote bone health.
- Support heart health.
Sometimes, thyroid issues might interfere with hypothalamus/pituitary/ovary interactions resulting in disturbance of the menstrual cycle. Those conditions are generally easy to fix, says Dr. Kollikonda. Polycystic ovary syndrome is another condition that can impact the menstrual cycle due to a hormonal imbalance. So the first step is to rule out conditions that could be causing the period changes.
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Effects Of Stress On Reproductive Hormones
In response to changes in the patterns of the GnRH secretion, the pituitary gland secretes less reproductive hormones luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone . These 2 pituitary hormones are important for the ovaries to work normally so that you experience a normal and regular menstrual cycle.
When LH and FSH levels are low, the ovaries might not make adequate estrogen for growing the uterus lining or even ovulate. In turn, this causes changes in your menstrual cycle.
Will I Need Any Tests For A Missed Period
If you go to see a doctor about your periods stopping, first of all the doctor will ask you some questions. For example, the doctor will want to know:
- If you have ever had periods and whether they were regular.
- How long you have not had periods for.
- If you have recently been using any contraception.
- If you are on any medication or have any other medical conditions.
- If you have recently lost weight.
- If you are under any stress.
- If there is any chance you could be pregnant.
- If you have any other symptoms, such as hot flushes or milk leaking from your breasts. The doctor may also ask about signs of pregnancy such as morning sickness or tender breasts.
Your doctor may then wish to examine you. The doctor may want to check your weight and height and then work out your BMI. They may also want to feel your tummy. They may want to look for signs of possible causes. In some cases an internal examination may be needed.Whether further tests are needed will depend on what has been discovered from talking to you and examining you. You may not need any tests at all. Tests which may be needed include:
- A pregnancy test .
- Blood tests. These are done to check out a number of possible causes. They may be done to check hormone levels . Occasionally tests for gene abnormalities may be needed.
- An ultrasound scan.
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