How Stress Can Affect Your Periods

How Stress Can Affect Your Periods

Suffering from stress can impact your body in many different ways. From feelings of anxiety to more physical symptoms of stress such as headaches and stomach problems, stress can cause a wide range of health issues. Stress can also prevent you from sleeping and many women find that their periods can be affected by stress too.

According to WHO, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, so more women may be feeling the impact of this on their menstrual cycle.

Stress can cause your period to be delayed or even completely missed in some cases. Other changes such as the heaviness of the flow are common, with spotting between periods also being a symptom of stress.

Usually, minor menstrual changes are quite normal but it is important to speak to a doctor if changes continue. Experts say that your menstrual cycle is an indicator of your overall general health, so any changes can be your body telling you that you need to address an element of your health.


How does stress affect your cycle? 

Stress causes cortisol levels to rise, which can then supress the hormonal cycle that is responsible for ovulation. As well as resulting in unpredictable periods, this will often mean that you are not producing eggs, so this can affect the possibility of getting pregnant.

There could be other health issues that could be causing a delayed or missed period, such as polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid or endocrine disorders, so speaking to a health professional should help to identify the exact cause of your menstrual cycle changes.


How to combat stress to help re-balance your menstrual cycle

If stress is the underlying issue for a change in your periods, you may be able to find ways to reduce your stress levels. You may already know the key reason behind increased stress, such as an emotional factor, work-related stress or a lifestyle issue, such as not getting adequate sleep or having a poor diet.

Once you have identified the cause of your stress, you can look at ways to reduce that source of stress. Devoting more time to relax and do activities that you enjoy is very important and can give you a feel-good boost. Spending time with friends or even watching a film that gives you a good laugh can help to lift your mood and relieve stress.

Doing more exercise and spending increased time outdoors can be beneficial for your mental health and changes to your diet can also really help. As alcohol is a depressant, reducing or removing alcohol from your diet can boost your mental health and eating healthier ‘mood-boosting’ foods such as fish, bananas, berries, nuts and seeds will help to reduce stress. Processed foods, fried foods and high-fat dairy products can lead to higher levels of anxiety and depression. 

Stress can play havoc with your menstrual cycle but by making some lifestyle changes or seeking advice from your GP, you may be able to reduce stress and regulate your periods. If you are experiencing irregular periods, IMAARA period underwear can help to prevent the added stress of not being prepared for your period starting, by providing protection every day.

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