Stress can really wreak havoc on all areas of your body. Right now, it’s probably messing with your menstrual cycle. If your period has been late or you’ve experienced an extra-long period recently, the current COVID-19 stress could be playing a part in this.
This is because long-term tension can mess with your hormones.
“Stress can screw up your period like crazy,” Mary Jane Minkin, MD, OB/GYN at Yale University School of Medicine told Refinery29.
According to Dr. Minkin, stress and anxiety impede the secretion of the two sex hormones that control the ovaries and are needed to help release eggs on time. When this happens, the release of estrogen and progesterone changes and leads to irregular periods.
“Stress can cause all types of abnormal bleeding, from more frequent episodes to longer intervals between periods,” Mary Jacobson, MD, OB/GYN and Alpha Medical’s chief medical officer, told Refinery29.
“Anytime the normal ovulatory cycle is disrupted, bleeding patterns can be abnormal.”
Stress isn’t the only thing that could be affecting your menstrual cycle. As our lives have changed over the last couple of months, so have our daily routines. Changes to your workout regime can also affect hormone levels and cause your period to shift, says Dr. Minkin.
Irregular sleep can also interfere with your menstrual cycle — and given the current state of the world, it’s safe to say that you’ve probably been struggling to sleep. A study published in Sleep Medicine found that those who experienced irregular sleep were more likely to also have irregular periods. The study found that a “disruption of circadian rhythms is associated with disturbances in menstrual function,” and is most likely related to hormones being messed up.
According to Dr. Minkin, your cycle should stabilise within a few cycles, but if you’re experiencing a drastic change in your period including bleeding for longer than seven days or extreme pain, give your GP a call to discuss the situation.