Many women experience irregular periods as they approach menopause. However, high stress levels from professional responsibilities, family obligations, or daily can also trigger irregular periods at other times as well. Keep reading to find out more about stress and irregular periods.
How Stress Affects Menstruation
While many factors can influence irregular periods, a stress-induced hormonal imbalance is one of the most common causes. When a woman is under high stress, the adrenal glands produce more of the hormone cortisol in response. This excess cortisol influences the amount estrogen and progesterone that are produced, which in turn negatively impacts the menstrual cycle. In many cases, this leads to irregular periods.
This irregularity can manifest in many ways. Cycles can be longer or shorter than normal, periods can be heavier or lighter, menstruation can be painful, and spotting may occur between cycles. As menopause nears, many women experience “skipped” periods or menstruate less frequently, and eventually, cycles will stop completely.
How to Manage Stress and Irregular Periods
Stress-induced heavy periods can be alleviated by decreasing stress, restoring hormonal balance, or both. In many cases, taking care of stress can also rebalance hormones.
To treat hormonal imbalances, herbal supplements, oral birth control, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can all help. However, they may have dangerous side effects, and they are unlikely to aid in relieving stress, especially in the case of HRT.
For many women experiencing stress-induced menstrual irregularity, the better option is making lifestyle changes to reduce and eliminate stress. This will often balance hormones like cortisol again, normalize irregular periods, and lead to overall better health. The following are practical lifestyle adjustments for reducing stress:
Diet. Eating a balanced diet can help decrease stress. It is recommended to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables per day in addition to eight glasses of fresh water to get all the necessary vitamins and nutrients.
Exercise. Any exercise helps lower stress levels, but yoga and Pilates are exercises designed specifically for relaxation. Many women report that these exercises help with stress-induced irregular periods.
Regular sleep patterns. Getting a good night's sleep – 7 to 8 hours per night – is an essential step in lowering stress, banishing fatigue, and managing irregular periods.
Meditation. This relaxation method allows many women to take their mind off of daily life and reduce their stress. It can be guided or done alone.
Eliminating bad habits. While there is a myth that cigarettes are relaxing, they actually make the smoker more nervous. Likewise, alcohol also increases stress levels. Therefore, it is important to moderate or quit the consumption of these substances.
While stress and irregular periods often appear around menopause, both can easily be managed with simple changes in lifestyle. Since stress can trigger menstrual irregularity, eliminating stress naturally helps with irregular periods. Click on the following link to learn more about treatments for irregular periods.
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