Stress is a normal psychological and physiological reaction caused due to the changes in a person’s environment which can manifest as emotional stress or physical stress. When most people talk about stress, they usually discuss the negative impacts of stress and within the sphere of this discussion, also lies the impact of stress on menstrual cycles.
Impact of Stress on the Menstrual Cycle
In reality, stress has a well-documented effect on the length of cycle, may cause dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), can worsen premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), may lead to amenorrhea (absence of periods), anovulation (no ovulation) or abnormal ovulation to name a few.
The Science behind Stress
Whether it is physical stress or emotional stress in question, it has the ability to activate a hormonal pathway in the body called the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. HPA axis activation is associated with increased levels of cortisol and CRH (Corticotropin Releasing Hormone). These hormones constituting the HPA axis, cortisol and CRH help control stress response in the human body. As this happens, it tends to suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones which actually impact the menstrual cycles and could precede other associated disorders.
Stress and Hormones
As stress can affect the part of the brain responsible for producing hormones, it can throw hormonal levels out of control which lead to changes in the frequency and duration of periods and other associated disorders.
Read: Why is my Period Late?
Reducing stress levels by finding effective remedies to do so may help the body revert back. Talking with the therapist or possibly taking anti-anxiety medications can significantly lower the levels and help you manage its symptoms. It’s not possible to completely eliminate stress from everyday life, but finding healthy ways to cope with it is the best way to not let it ruin the body’s natural reproductive functioning. This allows the system to eventually return to regularity.