Can stress cause periods to come late? Read expert opinion here

Is your irregular or skipped menstruation the result of stress? Here’s what Dr. Sushruta Mokadam, consultant obstetrician at Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune has to say!

Periods and stress go together like peanut butter and jelly… in the worst way possible. For some, periods are stressful enough (it’s time to unwind the heating pad AGAIN — and where is that cache of dark chocolate? ), but additional stress can also cause big adjustments in your period and menstrual cycle, by postponing it. According to a new study, excessive amounts of stress might induce irregular periods. Isn’t it ironic?

Stressing about missing your period might cause you to exactly make your fear happen i.e. you may skip periods. It’s a classic case of the chicken and the egg. In this example, worry about whether the egg was or was not fertilised . Many women use our period tracker to find out when the period is due but this may not work if hormonal changes cause delay 

Your menstrual cycle is definitely affected by stress. Let’s see how .

The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain that regulates your menstrual cycle. It is affected by extrinsic variables such as exercise, sleep, stress, fear and family drama. When your hypothalamus is functioning properly, it releases chemicals that trigger the pituitary gland, which then stimulates your ovary to release the period-inducing hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

Enter Cortisol, a hormone produced by the body. It is also rightly called the ” stress hormone”. It can disrupt the well oiled hypothalamo-pituitary-ovarian connection, resulting in irregular, delayed or light periods — or no period at all (amenorrhea) — depending on how your body handles stress. If the stress persists, you might go without a period for an extended length of time. Teens may experience this typically around exam time .

It is natural to have a certain degree of stress in your life. But, excessive stress, whether physical, mental, or nutritional , sets off a series of events in your body. It begins with changes in brain activity and in the brain endocrine glands, progresses through the suprarenal gland, where stress chemicals — cortisol and adrenaline — are released into the bloodstream, and upsets the hormonal balance of the reproductive organs.

How much anxiety is too much?

Stress can range from a poor hair day to pandemics that keep you confined to your house for months. The way stress affects your menstrual cycle is determined by your individual brain and body.

There is a progression. Lighter stress may have fewer consequences, but intense stress may have more dramatic consequences that persist longer. The greater your cortisol levels, the more probable it is that you may miss or have irregular periods. If you are frequently anxious, you may be more prone to having a bad period.

What to do if your menstruation is delayed due to stress ?

If you feel that stress is the reason for your missed menstruation, you can make a few lifestyle modifications. To begin, it is critical to identify the potential sources of your stress and comprehend the amount of stress you are experiencing.

One method to accomplish this is to keep a diary. Another option is to consult with a therapist. Many people find meditation, yoga, and exercise to be beneficial. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) may be advised in specific instances. Overall, one must understand that there are solutions to every problem and work towards finding and implementing them. Healthcare professionals are always reassuring and ready to help during crisis and one should be prepared to access them as required.