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Is Lockdown Stress Affecting Women’s Menstrual Cycles?

Is Lockdown Stress Affecting Women’s Menstrual Cycles? - PharmEasy
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Is your life the same now as it was before COVID-19 struck? We are sure the answer is ‘no.’ The pandemic and the resulting lockdown has changed our lives in more ways than we can count. We’re all enduring some hardships, be it physical, psychological, or financial.

Recently, it has come to light that COVID-19 has made an unpleasant impact on certain aspects of women’s health. More women than ever before are suffering from period-related problems. Do you know someone who has been complaining about new problems in her menstrual cycle? Or are you experiencing these problems yourself? Read on to know why this is happening.

Do you have irregular menstruation and period problems?

A woman (from her puberty to menopause) gets her period once every month. The time between one period to the next is called her menstrual cycle. The length of the cycle is not fixed. It usually varies from 22-35 days.

Many women ask, what is an irregular period?

Suppose your cycle length is 28 days, then your new period should always come after 28 days from the date of your last period.  If there is a delay or your period doesn’t arrive in upto 35 days, then it’s a sign that your periods are delayed. If this keeps happening every month, you have irregular periods. At the same time, other symptoms such as irritation, soreness in the breasts, cramps, and hot flashes may show up.

Is COVID-19 causing menstruation problems?

Doctors have reported a 25% rise in the number of women suffering from irregular periods and menstrual problems since the lockdown was implemented. But how is the nationwide lockdown linked to period problems?  Let us understand why.

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Three factors that are crucial for healthy menstruation-

  1. A life free of anxiety and worries
  2. Exercise and healthy BMI
  3. Healthy diet

But unfortunately, as we all know, COVID-19 and the lockdown have affected all three factors. Here’s how-

1. Stress

Stress levels are higher than ever before. Women these days are dealing with a lot of responsibilities all at once. Household work, office work, childcare, and homework are taking a toll on their psychological health. Burnout and mental exhaustion have become common. Add to that, she is constantly worrying about the health and wellbeing of her loved ones. Stress creates excess amounts of the hormones prolactin and cortisol. They hamper the normal oestrogen-progesterone cycle that regulates her periods.

2. Lack of exercise

Gyms are mostly closed. Since women are hardly going out, they are not getting much exercise. Mostly, women are so exhausted by their stressful lives that they barely have time to work out. Exercising releases endorphins and serotonin (happiness hormones) that counter stress hormones and keep her periods regular and pain-free.

3. Unhealthy diet

This too, is linked to stress. Women are bingeing on unhealthy fried fast foods to cheer themselves up and combat stress. Fatty junk foods like burgers, pasta, rolls, and fries contain saturated fatty acids that disturb her oestrogen-progesterone secretion.

So what can you do?

Doctors say that the solution is quite simple.

1. Work out

Exercising is a must. No matter how tired you are, you have to find at least 20 minutes to work out daily. Simple home exercises like full body stretches, jumping rope, squats, sit-up, spot jogging will trigger the production of happiness hormones. Exercise and being physically active will increase blood supply to the ovaries and activate them. They will produce the oestrogen and progesterone needed for timely periods.

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2. Eat right

Avoid fast foods. Add green vegetables, fresh fruits, dairy products, lentils, and nuts in your diet. Include ginger, dark chocolate, turmeric in your diet as they are beneficial for the ovaries and can reduce period-pain.

3. Beat stress

This is more difficult than the other two. But it is very doable. To deal with stress, start practising meditation. Sit in a quiet place and try to empty your head of all thoughts. You can also practise alternate nostril breathing which immediately calms you down. Dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to this practice.

You can also listen to classical music and read literature- both of which are famous for relaxing the mind and body.

Stress is your body’s worst enemy. Just remember, this too shall pass. You are not alone; you have your loved ones to help you overcome the crisis. Focus on a healthy diet, exercising and do the things that make you happy. Remain at home to stay safe.

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