The menstrual cycle usually follow a twenty-eight day cycle and this ends when the uterus lining sheds and bleeding occurs. It is important for women to menstruate monthly because this signifies that their hormones are working properly and their body is in very good health. In case you are not aware of this, there are a number of problems and conditions that could interfere with your ability to have a normal menstrual cycle. Some of the things that could affect your monthly period include pregnancy, too much exercising, abrupt weight loss, medical conditions and heightened levels of stress. So, how does the stress affect your period? Read on to find out.
Menstrual cycle comes from a series of hormonal activities involving the ovaries, uterus, pituitary gland and brain. Although there are many ways that the cycle can be disrupted, it’s remarkably consistent for most women. A complex hormonal balance controls the regulation of the menstrual periods. Since stress can lead to changes in many hormonal levels, it can affect many other processes within the body and interfere with the monthly menstrual cycle. Stress is said to be one of the common causes of late or missed periods.
It is important to mention that several other conditions can also lead to a delay in menstrual period. Therefore, you should not assume that stress is the main cause without consulting a doctor or doing a pregnancy test.
How Does the Stress Affect Your Period?
Whenever the body is under excessive/constant stress, it will secrete stress hormones – cortisol and adrenaline. The adrenaline hormone will give you more energy, while the cortisol will increase brain function and stop or slow down the non-essential functions of the body. Some of these functions include the digestive process and cellular growth. Another factor would be to suppress the reproductive system.
Now, if your body is producing too much cortisol this activity will be identified by the areas of your brain which monitors the reproductive functions. This way it can know if the menstrual cycle is affected by a stressed reaction. Cortisol can send signals for the brain to halt or stop the release of reproductive hormones progesterone and estrogen. These hormones are needed to stimulate your menstrual cycle. Your period cannot occur without them.
Bear in mind that stress will not necessarily lead to the total cessation of menstrual periods. Depending on your unique stress levels and hormone cycle, stress can have many effects which range from early bleeding before period to a reduction in blood flow. These occurrences will not allow your body to function properly. If your stress is heightened to a level that causes it to affect your menstruation, then it can also interfere with other functions of the body. Therefore, it is very important to maintain low stress levels as this will help your body to carry out its normal functions.