The last couple of months have been A LOT. The pandemic has thrown our routines, stress levels and for some, our periods, into disarray.
From the non-existent (like mine) to the heavy or more frequent bleeds, our menstrual cycles have become unpredictable and frankly straight up weird.
But what has caused your period to change?
Well, it seems that stress is the main culprit, with many sources pointing towards the stress and anxiety caused by the lockdown as the reason for the change in our cycles.
This is not uncommon. The NHS labels stress as a common cause of irregular or missed periods and lists many stress management techniques as ways of managing your missing, irregular or way over familiar bleeds.
So what’s happening?
Here’s the science bit, according to Dr Sarah Toler, stress causes the release of cortisol (the stress hormone) that can suppress your reproductive hormones, leading to disruption in your cycle.
This makes sense, there is an underlying stress to our lives at the moment. From the changes to our routines, lifestyles, and lack of access to the usual activities that de-stress us, to the obvious stress caused by the virus itself and the possibility of us or our loved ones contracting it.
If stress is the problem, then what’s the solution?
There are many ways we can try to manage stress during this time and these methods may help you with your periods.
The NHS recommends exercise such as yoga, jogging and swimming. Unless you have your own pool at home, the first two are more likely to be manageable. There are plenty of free yoga videos online (Yoga with Adrienne is great) and if possible, you can start (socially distant) jogging in your area, no equipment needed just comfy shoes and clothes.
Breathing exercises, healthy eating and relaxation techniques could also help. I know that sometimes these are easier said than done: especially with a full household, monetary restraints or a lack of private space, but luckily, the breathing techniques can be done anywhere and combined with other activities such as washing up or lying in bed… It’s worth a try!
Last week I also found that stumbling upon a group of women on Twitter having a chat about how their periods had changed made me feel better. Yes, I lurked (because I couldn’t tell if they were friends and whether or not they would want a stranger chiming into their chat) but knowing I wasn’t the only one experiencing these changes made me feel so much less alone.
So, thank you to those women and all the other people out there talking about their periods during the pandemic. Thank you for sharing, I know it’s helped me and I hope it helps you too.
Tell me, has the pandemic affected your period? And what have you been doing to de-stress lately? Comment below!