How is Pandemic Stress Affecting Your Period?
Blame it on your hypothalamus.
This is the part of your brain that controls your period, and it’s highly sensitive. It’s so sensitive in fact, that external factors such as exercise or sleep can cause it to fluctuate the number of hormones it sends throughout your body.
And pandemic-related stress?
It can definitely affect the hypothalamus—and as a result your period may become irregular.
We’ll take a look at the impact stress has on your period, what you can do about it, and how we can help.
Can Emotional Stress Affect Periods?
Yes. As we mentioned earlier, fluctuations in the amount of hormones produced can cause irregularity in your monthly cycle. Stress also causes you to release a hormone called cortisol, which causes further issues with your hypothalamus.
If you have difficulty managing stress, then the result could be a delayed or skipped period. The absence of a period is called amenorrhea. It’s defined as missing three menstrual periods in a row.
Of course, stress isn’t the only condition that can cause your period to stop. Pregnancy is the most obvious cause of amenorrhea, but it can also be caused by issues with your reproductive system. That’s why we want to see you if you have amenorrhea.
What Are Other Causes of Amenorrhea?
If you are breastfeeding, you may have amenorrhea, and of course, it is a natural sign of menopause. Certain types of medications, like antidepressants and blood pressure drugs can spur the condition. If you are 10 percent under your normal weight, this can affect how your hormones fluctuate and cause your period to stop. Chemotherapy is another cause.
If you have any issues with your thyroid, this can change your cycle, as well as polycystic ovary syndrome.
Can Stress Bring on a Period?
It may cause spotting between periods, but we want to be absolutely clear about this: If you have any unusual bleeding that is outside of your normal menstrual cycle, we want to hear from you. There are many conditions, such as fibroids, that can cause these.
How Can I Alleviate Stress During the Pandemic?
This is a stressful time not only for our patients, but for citizens across our country. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives. At our practice, we are adhering to every guideline from the Centers for Disease Control to help you remain safe.
Of course, it’s much easier to manage stress if it’s related to a single event—such as a job interview or upcoming presentation. Once the event is over, the stress will most likely dissipate.
One of the things that has made the pandemic so challenging is that the stress has been constant—and often you may feel like there’s no escape.
We realize everyone deals with stress in different ways, so we would like to offer these suggestions on how to handle anxiety related to the pandemic.
Tips for Managing Stress During the Pandemic
1. Watch the News in Moderation
Yes, it’s important to stay informed, and we’re not advocating ignoring any vital advice. But there is such a thing as information overload. Hearing about the devastating impact of the disease over and over can significantly raise your anxiety levels. Use your best judgement.
2. Take a Break from Social Media
Sometimes, well-meaning friends will spread misinformation and rumors. In many cases, it’s best to avoid these situations entirely. You don’t have to be off of social media forever, but just be wary of its impact on your mental health.
It’s not only good for you, but it is one of the most effective ways to manage stress. Not sure where to start? We can create an exercise routine tailored just for you.
4. Practice Yoga or Meditation
If yoga’s not your style, that’s okay, but we urge you to find a practice to help you relax and unwind. Meditation can be a great tool.
5. Get a Healthy Amount of Sleep
Americans are generally sleep-deprived even on good days. Try to avoid caffeine and screens before bedtime. If you continue to have problems sleeping, please talk to us. We’re concerned with much more than your gynecological health; we want to assist you in every aspect of your wellness.
6. Talk to Us!
As we mentioned, we realize that you are much more than a patient—you are a vital member of our team and we will work together to be partners in your care, whether that means helping manage your blood pressure, helping you start healthy habits or assisting you throughout your pregnancy.
If you are having serious problems coping with stress, we can help you find professional help through a trained psychologist.
Associates in Women’s Healthcare Is Here for You
The effects of stress are far-reaching. It can not only damage your mental health, but it can cause problems with your period. Pandemic anxiety hasn’t helped matters.
We are always here for you and are ready to answer any questions you may have. See why we’re the most trusted gynecologists in the Raleigh area. Scheduling an appointment is easy.
Remember, there are several conditions that can cause a skipped period or irregular bleeding. If you are experiencing issues with your menstrual cycle, we urge you to contact us today.