Stress is a natural response when the body feels threatened or under pressure. Although everyone copes with stress differently, we all experience stress at some point in our life. Stress can have both negative and positive effects, for example, it may make us more motivated to achieve things in our daily life and can help us meet the various demands of work, family and life commitments.
However, stress can also affect our health when not managed and can cause a disbalance in our body. Stress can impact your weight, sleep quality, appetite and amongst other things; being stressed can affect your menstrual cycle.
How stress affects the menstrual cycle?
Stress activates a hormonal pathway in the body called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA). and when the HPA axis is activated it responds with increased levels of cortisol and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). The HPA axis, cortisol, and CRH help control stress response in the body, which is a good thing, but the same hormones can also suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones which can alter the way that we experience periods.
Can stress cause a missed period?
The changes in the body’s chemical balance due to stress could lead to abnormal ovulation or a missed period and can leave you guessing if your period is going to come at all.
People may also notice their cycle becomes irregular is they are constantly stressed and spotting mid-cycle can occur. If this happens, perhaps consider investing in WUKA Light flow pants which can take the stress away from getting your period unexpectedly. The raised levels of CRH in reproductive tissue have also been associated with negative pregnancy outcomes and premature birth.
Does stress affect the length of your period?
A typical period will last anything between 3 to 7 days, however, stress can also cause your period to be longer than usual; which is the last thing you want if you’re already feeling stressed! Due to delayed ovulation, you may experience a longer and unfortunately heavier flow. If your flow is heavy, you may like our Heavy flow Cycle Set, where you can save money and have a more comfortable period and restful nights with no leaks.
Can stress make your PMS worse?
Stress can already make your anxious self, more frustrated and uncomfortable thanks to PMS. It is important to balance stress levels in order to have a better relationship with your periods and symptoms. Stress and fluctuating hormones do not mix well together and can contribute to bouts of depression before your period is due, migraine headaches and panic attacks.
How to manage stress?
There are many things that you can do today to manage stress better. Start with making some time and space for yourself. Whether you can spare half a day or just an hour make sure that your self - care is included in your daily life routine. Here are some things that you can implement into your day to day life to reduce stress.
- Exercise. Working out is one of the best ways to be in the moment and relax your mind and body.
- Practicing meditation and yoga can help bring stillness into a busy overthinking mind.
- Deep breathing and connecting to your breath, there are particular breathing techniques in yoga called “pranayama “ which can help calm your body and mind.
- Eat well, avoiding stimulants including caffeine and sugar.
- Make time for yourself, when you don’t work and can simply enjoy your time
- Ask for support from friends and family, or a professional.
Is stress bad for your menstrual cycle?
Stress doesn’t seem to have any positive effects on a menstrual cycle. It can cause delayed, missed and heavy periods; as well as spotting and more intense PMS symptoms. The good news is that there are ways that you can use to help yourself manage stress better and in turn lessen the effects of stress on your period.