The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, the way we socialize and the way we...get our period? Yep, it turns out, if you're experiencing changes to your menstrual cycle, coronavirus could be to blame. Here's what you need to know.
Here's How the Pandemic Can Affect Your Period
What Does COVID-19 Have to Do With Your Period?
In a word, stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, also directly impacts how much estrogen and progesterone your body produces. When your cortisol levels are off the charts, you’re likely to have an imbalance in the other two hormones, sending your menstrual cycle into an unpredictable tizzy. This could mean that your cycle comes early, late or not at all.
Here's how OBGYN and author, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, explains it: “In the gynecological world, we think of periods as almost like another vital sign. You have your pulse, you have your temperature, you have your blood pressure, but a women’s period is actually a real true window into your health.” Dr. Dweck—who spoke to us as part of her partnership with multi-symptom period relief brand Midol—says that “it's not surprising at all if your period is off a little bit due to due to change in habits, like what is going on now with the pandemic.”
Is There Anything You Can Do About It?
If the current changes in your menstrual cycle are a result of pandemic-related stress, the best thing you can do is try to minimize your stress levels. While getting rid of stress right now is basically impossible, there are little steps you can take to calm down. For example, here are 50 free ways to practice self-care while staying at home.
Other Reasons Your Period Might Be Irregular
1. You're Breastfeeding
While lactating, your hormones are fluctuating a lot. That means that if you even have your period at that point (many women don’t get it back until they stop breastfeeding), your menstrual cycle will be pretty out of whack. Also, keep in mind that some women, regardless of whether or not they breastfeed, will notice permanent changes in their cycles after childbirth.
2. You Just Went On (or Off) Birth Control
Here's the deal: When you go on birth control, it takes your body several months to adjust to the hormones, making your period irregular. Then, once you’re on the pill, your period could occur less frequently or stop altogether. Then once you go off the pill again, your period could take a few months to go back to normal, as your hormones rebalance themselves. (This is all normal.) Just remember: Pregnancy can still happen through any of this. Use protection wisely.
3. You're On Certain Medications
Some prescriptions, specifically those prescribed for anxiety and depression, impact the body’s release of estrogen and progesterone (the hormones associated with ovulation and menstruation), which could mess up your cycle. Talk to your doctor if you notice irregularities, as it could be a side effect of your medication that you weren’t aware of.
Contact your doctor if you suspect something is really wrong, but if your cycle's just a little bit out of whack right now, it might be the pandemic's fault.