Even though you may not be planning an adventure around the world, stress and anxiety can still take a toll on you and your period.
- Although some stress can be good and even help us challenge ourselves, too much can negatively impact health.
The body is sensitive to any unexpected disruptions.
Excessive worrying can put the digestive system into overdrive, causing stress symptoms like diarrhea, frequent urination, and abdominal pain; the pulmonary system may respond with rapid breathing.
The female reproductive system can be affected, too. In fact, for some women, stress may play a role in causing irregular or missed periods.
- As stress levels rise, there’s a chance that your menstrual period will temporarily stop, a condition known as secondary amenorrhea.
If you’ve been dealing with amenorrhea for a few months, however, your doctor may ask about your health history and perform various tests, including checking hormone levels.
- Pregnancy, cysts, tumors, hormone deficiencies, and factors other than stress can cause more than one missed period.
Not much is known about the relationship between stress and periods. However, stress certainly plays a role in suppressing the functioning of the hypothalamus, which controls the pituitary gland — the body’s master gland — which, in turn, controls the thyroid and adrenal glands and the ovaries; they all work together to manage hormones.
Ovarian dysfunction may lead to problems with estrogen production, ovulation, or other reproductive processes.
Estrogen is an important hormone that helps build the uterine lining and prepares the body for pregnancy.
- If the ovaries aren’t working properly, side effects may involve the menstrual cycle, including missed periods or irregular periods.
Because stress can affect the part of the brain responsible for producing hormones, it can throw hormonal levels out of whack, which can lead to changes in the frequency and duration of your menstrual period.
Reducing your level of stress or finding effective coping mechanisms may help your body revert to a normal menstrual period.
Talking with a therapist or possibly taking anti-anxiety medication can lower stress and help you manage stress symptoms, eventually allowing your system to return to regularity.
It’s not possible to completely eliminate stress from your everyday life, nor would you want to.
- Finding healthy methods to cope with excessive stress is the best way to not let it wreak havoc on your body’s natural functioning.