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Can Stress Cause Your Period To Be Late

Youre In Early Menopause

How Long Can Stress Delay Your Period?

Early menopause, also known as premature ovarian failure, happens when your ovaries stop working before you turn 40.

When your ovaries arent working the way they should, they dont produce enough estrogen. As estrogen levels drop to all-time lows, you will begin to experience the symptoms of menopause.

Late or missed periods may be an early sign. You may also experience hot flashes, night sweats, and trouble sleeping.

Other signs of premature ovarian failure include:

  • vaginal dryness

Can Depression Make Your Period Late

There are many reasons a woman’s period may be late or her cycle may go off schedule. An obvious one is pregnancy. Others include poor nutrition, excessive exercise, and long-term illness. A less obvious reason for amenorrhea or missing a period, however, is depression.

The link between mental health and reproductive health makes sense when you consider that nature does everything it can to create favorable conditions for reproduction.

If a woman is chronically stressed, anxious, sad, or upset, she’s really not in a physical or emotional position to go through a pregnancy and then take care of and nurture a child. Under these less than ideal conditions, the female reproductive system can shut down.

Can Stress Really Delay Your Menstrual Cycle

By | Feb. 10, 2015, 9:37 p.m.

Category:

Can stress really delay Your menstrual cycle?

Yep! Stress can affect your hormones in a way that changes your menstrual cycle. Other things can delay your period, too, like being sick, exercising a lot, having a low body weight, using a hormonal birth control method, or taking certain other medications. Its also normal for your period to be irregular every once in a while, especially if youre a teenager.

If your period is late and youve had sex without a condom or another method of birth control since your last period you should take a pregnancy test to make sure thats not the cause of your late period.

-Emily at Planned Parenthood

Tags: menstruation, periods, pregnancy test, no period, stress

Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is a registered 501 nonprofit under EIN 13-1644147. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.

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Can Depression And Anxiety Affect Your Period

Depression and anxiety can severely impact your day-to-day life, making even activities you once loved feel impossible. These mental health conditions can also affect your cycle in a similar way to stress.

When youre depressed or anxious, cortisol levels rise in the body. As a result, you get that response that basically tells your reproductive system to stop right there. The ovaries then pause normal activity, and your period might be delayed or stop altogether.

If youre feeling anxious or depressed, remember, youre not alone. There are resources out there that can help you manage your symptoms so you can start to feel better.

Take Care Of Your Body

Can Stress Make Your Period Late?

Theres a reason you reach for chocolates and ice cream when youre feeling stressed. However, these comfort foods can actually compound your problem. Although its tempting to eat fast food and unhealthy meals, by keeping your nutritional schedule, you can help your body deal with stress more effectively.

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Cut Back On Caffeine And Alcohol

Both alcohol and caffeine can increase cortisol levels, so its recommended that you reduce your intake of both of these when dealing with major life changes, going through a rough patch, or nearing your menstrual cycle. Instead, you might try decaffeinated beverages or herbal teas that are known to have calming effects, such as chamomile or lavender.

How Stress Affects Your Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle involves a lot more than just blood and cramps though theres usually plenty of that, too.

Your period comes first when the uterine lining is shed. After 2 to 7 days of bleeding, the follicular phase kicks in, followed by ovulation around day 14: aka prime baby making time.

When the follicle releases an egg, the luteal phase begins. The whole process takes an average of 25 to 30 days.

When stress levels peak during any of these phases, your brain tells your body to flood itself with hormones that activate your fight-or-flight mode. These hormones halt bodily functions that arent essential to escaping threats including your reproductive system.

Also Check: How Do I Stop Being Stressed

What About Too Little Exercise

Missing a period because of exercise is usually tied to more exercise as opposed to less exercise, and sometimes it’s coupled with weight loss. In the case where too little exercise is suspected, it could be related to polycystic ovary syndrome , a hormonal disorder where small cysts are present on the ovaries, or a metabolic issue. But again, it’s important to have a medical professional check to make sure that isn’t the case.

Can Stress Cause Irregular Periods

My period is a day late. Is it too soon to take a pregnancy test?

Yes, particularly if youve been under a high level of stress for an extended period of time. To fully understand why, we have to look to the fight or flight response.

Stress causes your body to go into fight or flight modeits just the way were wired. When youre in this mode, it affects your hormones, which in turn affect your ovulation and, of course, your period.

This means you may have periods that are late or even stop completely for several months.

If you are having these irregular periods and you arent pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible. While stress can be a culprit, there could also be several other causes.

Read Also: Is Stress Bad For Ms

There Are Many Reasons That Periods Can Be Irregular Or Absent Some Require Treatment And Some Do Not

It is not uncommon to occasionally miss a period, or for periods to become irregular from time to time. Under some circumstances, periods can even stop altogether. Sometimes these irregularities are due to normal changes, and are not cause for concern. Other times, they are a sign that something is going on, and a call to your doctor is warranted.

Explore Irregular or Absent Periods:

Let It Bleed: Causes Of Heavy Periods

In the developed world, girls now get their periods earlier, and women spend less time being pregnant and breast feeding on demand. This means that the average women can now expect to have more than 400 menstrual cycles in their lifetime . Even the use of most hormonal contraceptives will yield a monthly bleed. So its no wonder that women are so concerned when their cycles seem to be longer and heavier than usual.

To address the most-pressing question, When should I be concerned? What is the medical definition of too much bleeding?, there is a medical definition of too-heavy periods. If a woman is bleeding 80cc or more, that is excessive bleeding. Trying to measure exactly the amount of bleeding is difficult even in a research setting, much less in a home bathroom! Some general indications of excessive bleeding can include:

  • Saturating a maxipad or super tampon every 60-90 minutes for several hours
  • Passage of large clots
  • Significant bleeding for more than seven days

Probably the most important factor would be if your bleeding is heavy enough to interfere with your normal activities.

There are two major reasons for very prolonged/heavy periods: hormonal and what I call structural. Here at WebMD we get questions about prolonged and heavy bleeding just about every day, so it seems like a good time to share information about some of the causes of too-heavy periods and other types of abnormally heavy vaginal bleeding.

Hormonal Causes

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How Long Can Stress Delay Your Period

The average menstrual cycle is 28 days long, although its normal for a menstrual cycle to be anywhere from 21 to 35 days, and this can vary by a few days each cycle without being considered late.

A general rule of thumb is that a period is considered late if it is delayed by five days or more.

Anyone who gets a period will probably experience a late period at least once in their life. It may come as a surprise that stress is actually a very common cause for a late period. If a period is delayed due to stress, how late it is depends on many factors, including the amount of stress, coping abilities, and the persons individual cycle.

If the stress is acute, your period might only be a few days late, but some people who experience severe chronic stress can go months without getting a period.

Is It Normal To Skip A Period

Can Stress Make Your Period Late? 4 Ways To Ease

“It’s definitely true that as women we skip a period, and for that to happen once or twice in a year isn’t a big issue, as long as someone isn’t pregnant,” Long said, noting that that’s the most common reason. If it happens infrequently, it most likely isn’t a huge cause for concern.

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How Does Stress Change A Menstrual Cycle

According to Leena Nathan, an OB-GYN at UCLA Health, people may notice their cycles or periods are delayed, or that theyre spotting between periods. While emotional stress like a pandemic can incite these changes, so can physical stressors, like recent weight loss or increased exercise.

The reason stress can alter the menstrual cycle likely has to do with hormones. Nathan says stress causes cortisol levels to go up, which can suppress the hormonal cycle responsible for a persons ovulation and period. When your body is in a time of stress, its really not the best time to get pregnant, so its shutting down, she says.

In many cases, if you arent getting a period, you are also probably not ovulating. But dont take an irregular period as a sign that youre not producing eggs or cant get pregnant. Ovulation usually happens two weeks before a persons period, so Mahalingaiah says even if you havent had a period in a while, theres always a chance you could be ovulating.

If you are not having regular periods, your chance of being pregnant may be lowered, but Id still recommend contraception to prevent pregnancy, says Nathan.

A delayed or missed period can also be a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome , which Nathan says usually comes with other symptoms, such as increased hair growth. Other health conditions, like thyroid or endocrine disorders, can also impact the menstrual cycle, according to Millheiser.

Reasons For A Missed Period

Pregnancy is by far the most common cause of a missed period, but there are some other medical and lifestyle factors that can affect your menstrual cycle. Extreme weight loss, hormonal irregularities, and menopause are among the most common causes if you’re not pregnant.

You may miss a period for one or two months, or you may experience complete amenorrheathat is, no period for three or more months in a row. This article explores 10 common reasons your period may be delayed.

Verywell / Cindy Chung

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Normal Cause Of A Missed Period During The First Year

  • Skipping periods is common during the first 1 to 2 years after they start. This is due to not releasing an egg each month.
  • This is most likely the cause if less than 2 years since the first period
  • Has missed periods in the past or has had only 1 or 2 periods
  • Otherwise healthy
  • No signs of pregnancy such as breast tenderness, breast swelling or nausea

You’ve Recently Had Surgery

Real Question: Can Stress Affect Menstruation?

You’ll have been told this when undergoing your procedure, but doctor Datta warns that if you’ve had any work on your womb or cervix recently, it could certainly affect your monthly bleed, even if only subtly.

“If you’ve had recent surgery to your womb or your cervix, for example to treat an abnormal cervical smear, this can also affect your periods initially,” she explains. You may expect a lighter flow for a few months. As always, do visit your doctor if you’re worried at all.

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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.

Some Stress In Life Is Unavoidable But You Can Learn To Manage Your Stress

Exercising, getting restful sleep, having a healthy diet, confiding in friends and family and having healthy social activities can potentially reduce the effects of stress on your health .

Stress that causes long-term changes in your mood or sleep or that causes chronic physical pain may be serious. If you are experiencing high levels of chronic stress, you may want to consider speaking to your healthcare provider.

Not sure whether stress is affecting your cycle? Clue can help you track your stress, energy, sleep, and exercise. The best way to take care of yourself is to know your body.

Also Check: What’s Good For Stress And Anxiety

Menstrual Pain Has Also Been Associated With Stress

Dysmenorrhea has been linked to working in jobs that are low control, are unsecure and have low coworker support . Stress from the preceding month may also affect the frequency of dysmenorrhea , so someone might not experience painful menstruation as a result of stress until their period the following month. People with a history of dysmenorrhea may be more likely to experience this effect . Similarly, people experiencing stress earlier in their cycle were more likely to report severe symptoms during the time leading up to and during menstruation .

As mentioned, the different effects of stress may be, in part, due to timing. Higher reported stress during the follicular phase has been strongly associated with changes in normal reproductive function . In one recent study, those reporting pre-ovulatory stress were less likely to become pregnant as compared to those not reporting stress during the same time . This suggests that stress may cause the body to delay or entirely suppress ovulation. This idea is supported by research examining menstrual cycle variation.

Okay Youre Right Ive Been Under A Ton Of Pressure Lately How Do I Fix My Period Cycle So That Stress Doesnt Impact It Anymore

What Can Cause Your Period to Be Three Days Late ...

As great as it would be if there were a way to communicate to your body, âHey, Iâm done worrying, you can make my period normal again!â itâs easier said than done. Make sure youâre taking time for yourself to do things you like and enjoy. Yes, doing you might just be exactly what your body need right now.

And if worrying about whether your period is late or not is the number one thing thatâs bothering you and keeping you up at night, it might be worth it to book an appointment to see the doctor. Ugh yes, you might have to call on the phone and make an appointment, but the peace of mind youâll feel afterwards if you are able to find a cause and remedy it may be worth it.

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When To Call Your Healthcare Provider

Missing a period every once in a while is usually not cause for concern. That said, you should see a healthcare provider if you miss more than one period, or your missed period is accompanied by new or unusual symptoms.

Seek medical attention right away if you also experience any of the following:

  • New or worsening headaches

How Much Stress Is Too Much

There are many levels of stress ranging from a bad hair day to pandemics that shut you in your home for months. How stress affects your menstrual cycle is based on your unique brain and body.

Theres a continuum. Lighter stress may have lesser impacts, and heavy stress may have more dramatic impacts that last longer, says Dr. Kollikonda. The higher your cortisol levels, the more likely you are to have missing or irregular periods.

If youre someone who goes off the rails quickly, you may be more susceptible to problematic periods.

Read Also: How To Relieve Back Stress

How To Avoid Stress

Weve got some bad news for youits impossible to avoid stress completely. Its part of our world.

In some cases, stress can actually be a good thing. It alerts us to danger and may give us the motivation to accomplish tasks.

But too much stress is devastating to your health.

We want to be clear: We care about much more than your gynecological health. We care about every aspect of your wellness, from how youre sleeping to your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. We know that stress can offset any of those.

This is why we will address issues of anxiety that youve been having. In the meantime, the following are some stress relief methods weve found that help our patients. We encourage you to try them and then schedule an appointment with us to let us know how youre doing.

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