It is a well-known fact that stress influences our bodies, and I am sure you agree that the global pandemic we are (…still..) facing is stressful! Women across the globe are reporting changes in their menstrual cycles, can this be linked to the pandemic?

Yes… Maybe!

The results of surveys and studies done (including our own!) have reported that the majority of women have noticed a change in both their menstrual cycle and psychosocial symptoms. While it is difficult to blame the current health crisis directly, there are a few possible explanations for why it’s happening, and the common link is STRESS!

The Last Few Months have been Stressful!

People respond to stress in different ways. You may not even know how stressed you are until your body starts showing you the signs!  The last year has been full of stressors. Some women may be juggling a full house with home schooling, housework and working from home, while others are dealing with the isolation of being home alone. The lack of social interaction, separation from family, changes in diet, worrying about your health and that of your family all cause stress! The lack of previous distractions and coping mechanisms including physical activity, socializing with friends and even just “getting out” can all result in stress levels being at an all-time high!

How stress may be affecting you:

1. Cycle length: Your period is controlled mainly by your hypothalamus, your pituitary gland and your ovaries. Stress causes the release of cortisol. Cortisol influences the communication in this system and can result in cycle disruptions including longer, shorter, or even no period.

 2. Gastro-Intestinal System: According to the American Psychological Association the gut influences and brain and visa versa! Your gut communicates with your brain via hundreds of millions of gut neurons. Stress can interfere with this communication which can trigger pain, bloating, and other abdominal discomfort (…and PMS suffers don’t need more of any of that!). Stress can cause changes in gut bacteria, and this can affect your mood!

 3. Pain perception: Stress has been shown to change how we perceive pain. During a stressful time, period pain may therefore be experienced at a higher level.

Here’s what you can do!

1. Know your Cycle! Pay some attention to your body and what it’s trying to tell you. Keep track of your cycle length, PMS symptoms, and any other changes by keeping record. Download our Period Tracker, this will give you an easy way to notice trends and spot changes.

2. Re-asses your stress levels- is your body trying to tell you something?

3. Create a stress management plan- try to include as many of the following as possible

  • Physical activity. Try include some form of activity into every day. Take the stairs, go for a walk, do an online class (there are many options available)
  • Healthy diet. Eat a well balanced meal, plenty of fruit and vegetables and try to avoid processed and sugary food.
  • Take some time out! Include time during the day to “switch off”. Sit quietly with a cup of tea, phone a friend, mediate, anything that makes you feel good!
  • Sleep! Sleep is a super power! Make sure you are getting enough. Lack of sleep leads to decreased coping ability which leads to more stress!
  • Get help if you need it! If you need medical help to manage either menstrual or psychosocial problems speak to your doctor!

It’s not all bad!

The pandemic has resulted in many changes, and not all of them are bad! As with everything in life, lets look for the good!!

  1. If you are working from home this can make managing PMS symptoms like pain easier. No one can see the hot pad you have in your tracksuit pants on a zoom call! It also gives you the opportunity to try out new period products. Try out Leak-Proof Period Panties (our favourite of course!) or a menstrual cup in the comfort of your own home!
  2. Sometimes life literally stops us in our tracks. This gives us a moment to re-asses and re-plan!

Life is crazy at the moment, make sure you and your body are coping!

If you are looking for water-proof period panties (think: Leak-free, stain-free, STRESS-free periods!), visit us online today!

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