Have your periods been irregular lately? Here’s how the lockdown and pandemic could be affecting your cycle

Woman with period cramps. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)
Woman with period cramps. (Photo: Getty/Gallo Images)

The coronavirus is having an impact on the health and personal decision-making of people all over the world.

Many households are stocking up on non-perishable foods and toilet paper but women who menstruate also need access to feminine hygiene products.

From experiencing a “heavier” blood flow to getting their period earlier than usual, a few women have remarked on social media that their cycles have been quite weird during the pandemic.

Gynaecologists worldwide have been flooded with questions from women who are worried about their unusually irregular period, Vogue reports.

Sarah Toler, a certified nurse midwife and nursing practitioner in Los Angeles, says that stress has been the leading cause for the change women have been experiencing with their periods, Mirror reports.

Toler, who holds a doctorate in nursing practice, is a science writer who contributes to amongst others a female health app. She says the constant underlying stress of the current global situation can do some odd things to the body, from chest pains to skin breakouts. 

“Stress activates a hormonal pathway in the body called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis,” Toler said.

“Together, these three components (that’s the HPA axis, cortisol, and CRH) help to control stress response in the body. Excess release of cortisol can suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones, potentially leading to abnormal ovulation, which can disrupt your cycle.”

Stress-induced symptoms can cause irregular periods, heavy cramps and can even stop your period altogether.

According to , a consultant gynaecologist at Medcare Women and Children Hospital in Dubai, another reason for irregular periods could be the change in your eating habits or exercise routines.

“There’s a high possibility of gaining weight which can also adversely affect your menstrual cycle,” Dr Harikrishnan tells Vogue.

“Try to work on a routine that includes healthy eating habits and finding the right balance for you. During quarantine, there is also a tendency not to engage in regular exercise as many women prefer to do exercise only in gyms and parks. You need to get creative in how you can exercise indoors,” she adds.

If your irregular cycle is worrying you, general practitioner Dr Laura Woodhouse advises that you consult doctor.

“If there’s anything weird – or you have extra bleeding – the safest thing to do is to have a chat with a professional,” Dr Woodhouse tells Huffington Post. “But if you skip a single period and you’re not pregnant, I wouldn’t be too worried.”

Sources: Twitter, Vogue, Mirror, Huffington Post

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