Tips For Getting Your Flow Back
Stress seriously messes with your body. It can cause low energy, headaches, stomach aches, chest pain, and insomnia and thats just in the short term. If youre feeling stressed, depressed, or anxious, your flow is probably being affected, too.
While these things are never one-size-fits all, here are a few tips to get your period back on track:
- Take a breather.Studies show that controlled breathing exercises can help lower blood pressure, boost feelings of well-being, and relieve stress.
- Get some exercise. OK, so youve definitely heard this one before. But fitting some exercise in can boost your mood and relieve stress.
- Free up your schedule. Its not always possible to cut down on your responsibilities. But if you can, try to give yourself a break and fit in some self-care.
- Chat with a mental health expert.Talking to a therapist or another mental health professional can help you work through your stress in a way that works best for your unique needs.
Since everyones different, expect to use some trial-and-error when fighting stress. Youve got this.
Can Stress Delay Your Period Yes And It’s A Common Reason
- It’s normal for stress to delay a period, or even cause you to skip it entirely.;
- Stress hormones are known to affect menstruation, and research has found that those with higher levels of perceived stress are more likely to miss a period.;
- If your period is irregular or doesn’t occur for three months, you should talk with a gynecologist.;
The majority of the time, periods arrive like clockwork. But sometimes, periods are late or skipped entirely.;
There are all sorts of reasons for a missed period. Pregnancy tops the list, of course. But other factors including taking some medications, hormonal issues, and menopause can also delay your period.;
In fact, stress is a common reason for a period that doesn’t arrive on schedule.;
“A woman’s menstrual cycle can be a great barometer for her stress level both acute stress and chronic stress,” says Lisa Valle, DO, OB/GYN at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.;
Why Quarantine Stress Wreaks Havoc On Your Period
Basically, abnormal quarantine periods come down to the body’s infradian rhythm and how it responds to stress, Vitti says. Infradian rhythms are a rhythm or cycle that lasts longer than 24 hours . The most common example of an infradian rhythm is, well, your menstrual cycle, and it’s pretty important. governs brain function, immune response, the stress-response system, the microbiome, the reproductive system and your metabolism, she says, and your stress-response system naturally shifts during your cycle,” she says. But introduce a lot of stress at once, and it can throw your whole cycle out of whack.
How, exactly? , a practicing OB/GYN and professor at Yale School of Medicine, says that our period is part of an interlocking network that goes kablooey when stress is introduced. The sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which manage different parts of your menstrual cycle, are produced in the ovaries. The ovaries get their marching orders from the pituitary gland, which control ovulation and other functions critical to mensuration with the timed release of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone . The hypothalamus, at the base of the brain, controls the pituitary gland with its own hormones. Thus, anything that impacts the brain can have a trickle-down effect onto the rest of the body, including your cycle.
Don’t Miss: What To Eat To Reduce Stress
When Stress Affects Your Periodand With It Your Entire Cycle
Stress;can interfere with these hormonal shifts,;whether the stress is from;a busy season at work, emotional upheaval;in;a relationship, extensive travel, exercising too much,;not eating well;or not eating enough, or changing medications.;When the body is under stress, hormones can get out of whack, causing abnormal cycles .;
Here are just some of the most common ways stress can affect your cycle, and how women who chart their cycles are at an advantage for;identifying;the effects of stress on their cycles.;
Remember;all;the messages;that;must;be sent to trigger the cascade of hormones that eventually end in ovulation?;Well, when stress occurs in the follicular phase, that is, the stage before ovulation, the body may not trigger hormones to be released at the proper time. This can;result;in;delayed ovulation.;;
A woman charting;basal body temperature;;would recognize this situation on her chart in the;delayed;rise in temperature, as;BBT rises;after ovulation has occurred.;Likewise, a woman who charts her;cervical mucus;observations;would see the typical build-up-to-peak mucus pattern occurring later than usual.;
In this situation, a;woman who does not chart;her fertile signs;but who merely;tracks her period;each month would probably notice that her;next;period is late.;However,;she might not understand why;her period is late;or know when to expect her;next;period to begin.;;
Keeping Track Of Cycle Symptoms
If youre worried about how stress might affect your cycle and would like to track the changes in your body, Natural Cycles is FDA cleared birth control that can find and predict your ovulation. This means you will know your own unique fertile window. As well as keeping track of changes in your body, you can use Natural Cycles to plan or prevent pregnancy.
Natural Cycles works by tracking basal body temperature paired with an algorithm that learns the pattern of your unique cycle. The app also features trackers where you can log menstrual cycle symptoms. We have now also added Covid-19 symptom trackers for those who are wanting to monitor those specific symptoms.;
You May Like: What Are Some Things You Can Do To Relieve Stress
Depression Can Also Affect Your Period
Like stress, depression can also have an effect on hormones. Depression is one of the factors that can lead to amenorrhea, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The two conditions are often linked people with chronic stress in their life have a higher risk of developing depression, notes the Mayo Clinic.;
There’s another consideration when it comes to depression and your period: Some antidepressant medications including SSRIs can increase the levels of a hormone called prolactin, according to a March 2015 review published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. This can delay your period or skip it entirely.;
Plus, people experiencing depression often shift their eating habits and experience a loss of appetite. Not eating sufficiently, and having a low body weight, are potential causes of amenorrhea, per the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.;
If your period is irregular or doesn’t occur at all for more than three months, you should talk to your gynecologist, Livingston says.;;
Stress Impacts Your Menstrual Cycle
The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls your period. Its sensitive to external factors like exercise, sleep, stressor family drama. When working correctly, your hypothalamus releases chemicals that stimulate the pituitary gland, which then stimulate your ovary to release the period-inducing hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Enter cortisol, which is a hormone your body makes when youre under stress. It can wreak havoc on the hypothalamus/pituitary/ovary interaction and result in irregular periods.
When under stress, your body produces cortisol. Depending on how your body tolerates stress, the cortisol may lead to delayed or light periods or no period at all , says Dr. Kollikonda. If stress continues, you can go without a period for a long time.
You May Like: How To Release Stress And Anxiety
Charting Alerts Us To The Impact Of Stress On Our Cycles Bodies And Minds
Often, we take a head-down,;power-through approach to the stressful seasons of life. But seeing the effects;of stress on;our bodies;written down;on;ones chart;or in a;charting;app;can elicit a change of heart. When we recognize that our bodies are trying to tell us things are out of whack, we can use that information to care for our overall health in a holistic, safe, natural, and long-lasting way.;
Whether or not a woman is trying to conceive, understanding the effects of stress on the menstrual cycle is information everyone with a uterus should have. Using;whats known in the medical community as;Fertility Awareness-Based Methods ,more informally called fertility awareness methods or natural family planning ;like those mentioned above, equips;women to acknowledge that stress is a factor, identify ways to alleviate it, and reap the;benefits;of positive lifestyle changes;that can help combat stress.;;;
This article was originally published on May 5, 2018 as written by Lindsay Schlegel. It has since been updated by Natural Womanhood to offer more resources. Last updated October;30, 2020.;
The comments are closed.
Its Not As Clear If And How Stress Can Impact Your Pms Symptoms
Researchers dont entirely know what causes premenstrual syndrome , though according to the Mayo Clinic, possibilities include fluctuations in hormones related to your cycle and the brain chemical serotonin. In any case, as you may know far too well, PMS can cause a range of physical symptoms that usually taper off within a few days of the start of your period, like cramps, bloating, and fatigue, along with emotional ones like irritability, sadness, and…stress. Its hard to untangle how much PMS generally contributes to stress vs. stress contributing to PMS, Dr. Minkin says. Lets use cramps, a notorious PMS hallmark, as an example of this interplay.
Remember the phenomenon of anovulation, or not ovulating as you normally would, and how it can happen because of stress? Even if anovulation causes a delayed or missed period in the short term, the resulting lowered progesterone can eventually lead to significantly heavy menstrual bleeding, known as menorrhagia. The heavier your flow is, typically the more painful the period can be, Karen Chiu Wang, M.D., assistant professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine, tells SELF. The extra crampiness you can experience after stress interrupts your usual period can then cause additional stress, so its a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation.
Recommended Reading: How Do You Reduce Anxiety And Stress
Modern Life Is Full Of Stressful Situations And Triggers That Can Negatively Affect The Mood Of Women Here We Explore The 5 Factors Affecting Menstrual Cycle
Once a month, most women have to juggle all of the emotions that invade their minds and hearts in the lead up to menstrual periods. How stress affects menstruation is quite difficult to assess. However, untreated stress, combined with increased hormone levels, can wreak havoc in daily lives, as well as cause women to suffer from other mental health issues like insomnia, loss of appetite and anxiety. In fact, chronic stress and anxiety are so closely related that it is easy to mistake temporary stress for a chronic anxiety disorder. Here Madeleine Taylor explores the many stressful situations and factors affecting menstrual cycle.
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.
How To Manage Stressful Situations The Natural Way
Aside from affecting our period, stress can greatly affect many other aspects of our lives in a negative way. This is why it is of utmost importance to take steps to ensure that you have your stress under control. Regardless of how old you are, you should never underestimate the fact that stress is usually the root cause of a wide range of serious medical conditions, which include:
- Increased risk of heart attack;
- Depression; and
There are also many more issues that are not always so apparent.
Thankfully, you are not alone and many women around the world have had great success managing and eliminating stress from their lives by using the following tool to help them live a more harmonious life.
Youre Using Hormonal Birth Control
Many love the pill because it makes their periods so regular. But it can sometimes have the opposite effect, especially during the first few months of use.
Similarly, when you stop taking the pill, it can take a few months for your cycle to get back to normal. As your body returns to its baseline hormone levels, you may miss your period for a few months.
If youre using another hormonal birth control method, including an IUD, implant, or shot, you might completely stop getting your period.
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Headaches For Days
A Normal Cycle Unaffected By Stress
At the start of a;typical cycle,;one part of the brain must send a message to;another part of the brain .;This message from;the;hypothalamus;tells;the pituitary gland;to;release;follicle stimulating hormone , which has a direct effect on the ovaries:;in response to FSH, a;follicle;within an ovary;develops to the point that a mature egg is released. At the same time, estrogen levels increase, triggering a surge in luteinizing hormone , which, at its peak, causes that mature egg to exit the ovary and enter the fallopian tube. This synchronized process is more concisely referred to as ovulationthe pivotal event of the menstrual cycle.;;;
Stress And The Menstrual Cycle: Staying Healthy In Body And Mind
While we might think of the menstrual cycle as a physical part of our health, just like the rest of our bodies, it can be affected by our environment and our state of mental well-being. In this post were going to take a look at stress and the menstrual cycle and what we can do to stay healthy in body and mind. Read on to find out how stress can affect ovulation, period and more.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Feel So Stressed And Depressed
Stress And The Menstrual Cycle
The brain actually controls your period through the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases chemicals that stimulate the pituitary gland, which then stimulates the ovaries to release estrogen and progesterone, two period-inducing hormones.
The hypothalamus is sensitive to factors such as sleep, exercise or stress. When youre experiencing stress, the body makes cortisol, which can create issues with the menstruation cycle process between the hypothalamus, pituitary and ovary. This can lead to the body suppressing the levels of estrogen and progesterone needed for ovulation, causing anovulation or amenorrhea . Additionally, stress also may affect the length of a period and potentially how much pain you may experience.
How stress affects the menstrual cycle is unique to each person. Additionally, we each respond differently to various stress-causing events in our lives.
Stress And Pandemic Periods
If your period has been late or irregular, could stress during the COVID-19 pandemic be a factor? Preliminary findings from a UK study suggest that lifestyle changes during lockdown affected female subjects’ menstrual cycles and symptoms, and stress was the main contributing factor. The study authors say their analysis, which has yet to undergo peer review, is the first to detail the implications of the pandemic on menstrual cycles.
A total of 749 physically active women completed a 33-question survey about their menstrual cycle before and during the lockdown period. More than half52.6%experienced a change in their cycle during lockdown; more than third noted a change in bleeding patterns. Those who reported high levels of stress or worry about their own health or that of family members experienced a significantly greater increase in period-related symptoms than other women. Stress related to job security was associated with increases in bleeding time.
It makes sense that the health, financial, and family pressures so many people are experiencing right now count as psychological stress, the kind that can do a number on menstruation. So how can you control your stress response and keep cortisol levels down? Look to stress-reducing activities like meditation of light exercise. “We can’t reset our cycles without managing ourselves in a way that’s more balanced and similar to what it was like before the stress took over,” says Dr. Ross.;
You May Like: Can Your Chest Hurt From Stress
If Your Period Is Really Weird Right Now Talk To Your Ob
A small but manageable change to your period, like a heavier start than typical or the odd cramps that make you reach for ibuprofen, isnt something to worry about, Dr. Minkin says. Most of the wacky stuff with your period is going to get better, its probably transient, she explains.
But if the changes happen for several cycles, are really severe, or are otherwise concerning, check in with your doctor. The same triggers that would get you to see your gynecologist when youre not are the same triggers now, Dr. Streicher says. Those include extra painful periods, missing periods even with negative pregnancy tests, and heavy periods where you soak through period products every hour or more, Dr. Wang says. Bleeding for more than seven days when you have a period is another big one.
Yes, theres a pandemic and many non-emergency offices are closed, but this kind of routine care is largely still available. Whether you think you’re dealing with stress-induced coronavirus/period weirdness or something else, get in touch. Most doctors have telehealth options you can use, and they can discuss your symptoms, schedule tests, make recommendations, and prescribe medications that may help.
For now, Ill see you on Twitter to compare pandemic period notes.
What You Can Do
If you think your period is being affected by stress, you will want to talk to your health care provider. You will want to reach out after you notice three very different periods in a row or youve missed three periods and have ruled out pregnancy.
A provider can help pinpoint what may be causing your missed periods, from stress to other conditions such as thyroid issues or polycystic ovary syndrome . Your provider also will likely recommend ways to help you build resilience to stress in an effort to lower cortisol levels naturally. Some actions you can take to lower cortisol can include:
Recommended Reading: How To Un Stress Yourself