Stress affects your mind and body from your blood pressure and blood sugar to your memory and anxiety levels. So with that being said, it can definitely affect your menstrual cycle, too. Research suggests that depending on the type and timing of the stressor, it can cause temporary, or in some instances permanent changes to a woman's cycle. This post will be about what stress is, how stress can affect your period, and tips for managing your stress levels.
What is Stress?
Clue states that stress is a normal psychological and physiological reaction to changes in someone’s environment, which could be emotional, physical, social, or cultural. Stress can be a temporary emotion that lasts as long as a task at hand, a particular day or event, or anything external that’s causing it. However, chronic stress is much more impactful and can affect a person’s short-term or long-term health.
How Can Stress Affect Your Period?
Stress can affect your period by delaying it. In simple terms, stress can make your body go into ‘fight or flight’ mode, which affects your hormones, ovulation cycles, and period length. This can be short-term or for several months. However, we will look at this in a bit more depth so that you can get a full understanding of what is happening with your body. Stress can impact your period because of increased cortisol in the body, which triggers a suppressed level of reproductive hormones. This in turn may impact your normal ovulation cycle and therefore delay your period. Stress might not just delay its arrival, but it can also lengthen the period itself. A study of stress in female nurses found there were links between stress and longer cycles, due to the complexity of their jobs and rotating shift work having an adverse effect on their bodies. However, there have also been links between higher stress jobs and shorter period cycles. But, while these are two opposing findings, it is important to note that stress has different impacts on different bodies - what might affect a person may be different for another.
How Do I Manage My Stress Levels During My Period?
There are many ways that you can effectively manage your stress levels. This is particularly important if the stress is harming your body, such as delaying a period or impacting your cycle length. These methods include:
- Take care of your body and fill it with the right nutrients.
- Exercise regularly - this can include walks and slow movement, like yoga.
- Practice meditation for stress.
- Prioritize sleep, with a minimum of seven hours per night.
- Reduce your caffeine intake.
- Talk to a counselor if the stress gets too much to handle.
- Use Reflect meditation device to help measure your physiological signals and reflect them back to you, helping you learn how to control your daily stress.
Stress impacts us all at one point or another in our lifetime. However, we must manage it effectively so that it doesn’t adversely impact us. Stress can have a direct impact on our bodies, that being especially true with the menstrual cycle. If you find that your period is delayed or at a different length than normal, and you’ve felt stressed or anxious recently, this could be why. The Reflect biofeedback device synced with the Reflect App, augments your experience with data and insights while deepening your understanding of your journey to relaxation. Use these to help understand and manage your stress levels. Make sure to manage your stress properly with these tips so that you can get back to feeling great and having a regular cycle.