Stress and Your Menstrual Period: A Cycle That You Can Break

If you're one of the many women suffering from stress, you may also suffer from the consequence of stress, which is mood swings and menstrual irregularities. Stress can cause hormonal fluctuations, which can affect your periods.

What Is Stress and How Does it Work?

Stress can affect your menstrual cycle and hormonal fluctuations and result in irregular periods. The hormone imbalance leads to discomfort, stress, mood swings, and pain. Demands or concerns can sometimes also be a cause of stress.

Stress can affect people both ways, i.e., physically and mentally. Common reasons for stress include work, school, family issues, finances, relationships, health problems, or losing a loved one. Some people report feeling stressed out by factors beyond their control, such as an intimidating boss or an irritating co-worker.

Stress affects your body's vital organs and systems that help regulate your menstrual cycle. It can begin to affect your menstrual cycle immediately or after some time. The synthetic hormone which regulates the menstrual cycle is known as progesterone. Progesterone prepares the uterus for childbirth by stimulating the growth of a tissue lining called the endometrium (English: growing towards) behind a woman's uterus. You may have heard this term referred to as "the lining of the womb" or "uterus lining." The endometrial lining grows and builds up each month, preparing for an egg to implant every cycle (or several times in most women). The body will break down the endometrium if the egg does not implant. The menstrual cycle then begins again.

In addition to secreting estrogen, the ovaries secrete a synthetic form of progesterone known as progestin. Both hormones are essential for ovulation and pregnancy to occur.

Two parts of the brain control your menstrual cycle and calm mood, i.e., the hypothalamus (English: under the brain) and the pituitary gland (English: tiny seed). Both glands receive information from other glands, like the pineal gland (English: pinecone gland), which controls your cycles via control of your melatonin levels (English: anti-demon hormone). The hypothalamus and pituitary gland work closely together and depend on each other. The hypothalamus works with the pituitary gland to regulate your sleep patterns, hunger, or thirst. It receives feedback from your body to determine what's worrying you or how stressed you are. The pituitary gland then releases different stress hormones in response to this information.

When you're under tremendous stress, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland may work over actively, leading to an imbalance of hormones and releasing more cortisol into your bloodstream.

How to Avoid Stress During Menstrual Period?

1. Try to Deal with Stress

Stress can result from different situations. It depends on one's nature and the issue that troubles her. The main problem with stress during your menstrual cycle is that it's tough to regulate. It can be challenging to know when you are stressed out or when your body is trying to protect itself by changing its hormone levels. The worst thing you can do is stress yourself out again and again as a way of controlling your cycle. The more you hold on to what you want, the more stress and anxiety will hurt you.

2. Exercise

We all know that exercise is good for us. Some of us have become experts at making up excuses, "I don't have time" is a popular excuse. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 30 minutes of moderate exercise can help you to deal with stress. Exercise helps reduce the amount of cortisol you produce in your body. Experts recommend that if you are stressed, go for a run or try some yoga before making any big decisions.

3. Eat Well (Avoid Junk Food)

Eating well may seem obvious, but processed and junk food can make you feel stressed and overwhelmed during your menstrual cycle. Processed foods, junk food, and sugar are all foods that help to promote cortisol levels in your body. Avoid sugary snacks or drinks like soda, juice, and fruit-flavored drinks. Instead, focus on eating various fruits and vegetables and protein at every meal to maintain a healthy balance of hormones in your body.

4. Limit alcohol

Alcohol can be a great way to reduce stress if you drink it in moderation. Try not to overdo it, though, as excessive drinking can cause problems with your cycles. Drinking too much alcohol can upset your hormone levels and cause you to skip periods or have irregular periods. If you're feeling anxious, you can take a drink or two. It will help you calm and relax to some extent. But don't overdo it. Remember that moderation is the key to drinking alcohol, and keeping in mind that it can affect your cycle is also crucial!

5. Get Good Sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital to maintain a healthy period. Sleep regulates cortisol levels and affects your body's ability to detoxify naturally. Get into the habit of relaxing with a warm bath before bedtime to help you relax. You can also try reading your favorite book or magazine before bed. Yoga is another excellent way to wind down your day and relax for a good night's sleep!


Hence, stress is a prominent cause of menstrual problems. There can be numerous reasons for you that lead to stress, but you must remember that it can impact your menstrual cycle terribly. You should always be aware of stress and try to deal with it as much as possible. If you can't avoid stress, making good and healthy choices will go a long way in helping you manage your cycle. Take time off work or school to relax, meditate, and reflect on your life. Taking time off can help build a bigger reserve of energy that will give you the strength to handle whatever comes your way. Keep a diary to track when you feel stressed and take regular breaks from it. Rely on your inner senses rather than relying on memories alone. Remember that it's okay for some things to come up now and then. But bad will not last forever; eventually, it will go away!

Updated on: 17-Feb-2023


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