How Does Stress Affect Menstrual Cycles

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There are numerous factors which can affect your menstrual cycle. Stress is one of these causes, which can easily modify your usual 28-day cycle while being the number one causes out there which affect the normal hormone functions. Your usual 28-day routine signifies that your body is in good health, however, if you happen to experience any kind of interference, that could be the sign of an unhealthy lifestyle, or in other cases, pregnancy. But how does stress, as one of the things we have to experience on a daily basis, affect your menstrual cycle?

Adrenalin and Cortisol

When your body is under stress it produces stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. In these scenarios, these hormones are present to get you over the rest of the day, where adrenaline gives you that final push and energy, while cortisol increases your brain function levels. However, in these cases, your body also slows down or stops the functioning of processes which it considers nonessential – based on the stress scenario. Usually, this involves the suppression of your reproductive system also, therefore, affecting your menstrual cycle. Cortisol sends signals to the brain that your body should stop releasing those important reproductive hormones (estrogen, progesterone). As these two hormones are the ones responsible for controlling your menstrual cycle, it can simply not occur without having them in your system.

Irregular or Missed Period?

You might wonder if stress can cause irregular or missed periods. Sadly the answer is yes. There is a chance that your menstrual cycle will come to a temporal stop (secondary amenorrhea), however, if you have been dealing with such symptoms for a longer period of time, it is always highly advisable to turn to your doctor, to make sure that there are no further underlying issues.

Stress Reduction

Even though there is still not much known about the relationship between excessive stress and periods, the fact that missed or irregular cycles can cause severe consequences, in the long run, is indisputable. Make sure to dedicate enough time for your body to regenerate and fight those high-stress levels. Remember, that such symptoms can be considered as an alarm, that your body is trying to overcome your daily stress dosage. Anti-anxiety medications, meditation or other alternative methods can help you reduce your stress levels, allowing your system to return to its regular routine. Sadly, stress is part of our everyday life but we should still pay attention to our body!