Stress affects our bodies in crazy ways. From headaches and gastrointestinal problems to anxiety and depression, it can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health, and affect our quality of life. But did you know that stress can also affect your menstrual cycle?
Many women report that their periods are more irregular, heavier, and painful when experiencing stress. This is because stress can throw off your body's delicate hormonal balance, causing changes in your menstrual cycle.
Stress hormones could be to blame for whether you are getting breakthrough bleeding or not getting your period at all (amenorrhea). But how can you know for sure? How does stress even alert the hormones? What can you do about it? Let's take a closer look.
How Stress Can Alter Our Hormones
Hormones are chemical messengers produced in the endocrine glands that travel through the bloodstream to our organs and tissues, telling them what to do. They play a vital role in regulating many of our body's functions, including our mood, metabolism, and reproductive system. Cortisol is one of the major stress hormones. It's often referred to as the "fight-or-flight" hormone because it helps us respond to danger.
When we're stressed, our body releases cortisol and other stress hormones into the bloodstream. This can disrupt the delicate balance of our own natural hormones, including those that control our menstrual cycle. In particular, chronic stress can lead to a decrease in progesterone production.
Progesterone is a hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle by thickening the lining of the uterus in preparation for pregnancy. When there's less progesterone available, this lining can become thinner and break down, causing bleeding between periods (breakthrough bleeding) or missing periods altogether (amenorrhea).
Stress can also cause an increase in the production of another hormone, known as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol. When cortisol levels are high, it can interfere with the production of other hormones, including estrogen.
This can lead to irregular periods or a condition known as "estrogen dominance," where there's too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. A hormonal imbalance like this can cause various symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome (PMS), weight gain, and mood swings.
What is the Pituitary Gland, and Why Does It Affect My Stress Levels and Ovulation Function?
The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It's often called the "master gland" because it regulates other glands to release hormones throughout the body. One of these hormones is ACTH, which signals the adrenal glands to release cortisol. When we're stressed, the pituitary gland tells the adrenal glands to release more cortisol into the bloodstream. This can disrupt our natural hormone levels and cause problems with ovulation.
The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) causes the pituitary gland to release follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH and LH play a vital role in ovulation, as they stimulate follicle maturation, triggering ovulation. When you're stressed, the pituitary gland may release less GnRH, leading to a decrease in FSH and LH. This can result in a "luteal phase defect," where the follicle doesn't mature properly, preventing ovulation.
If you're experiencing high-stress levels, it may be difficult to become pregnant. When you're stressed, your body is in a fight-or-flight mode, which isn't conducive to reproduction. It's imperative to find ways to manage your stress levels if you're hoping to keep regular period cycles and conceive.
How Can I Change My Stress Levels and Manage My Period?
While it's normal to feel some stress due to everyday life, it's crucial to manage it properly when it comes to your menstrual cycle. Unmanaged stress can lead to several problems, including irregular periods, heavier or more painful periods, and missed periods. Additionally, stress can make existing period problems worse. For example, if you suffer from endometriosis, stress can increase pain and inflammation. Fortunately, there are several ways you can manage stress and keep your period on track.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and improve your overall health. It helps you burn off excess energy and tension and enables the release of endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. Endorphins cause a feeling of euphoria and can help alleviate pain, making them perfect for managing stress and period cramps.
Regular exercise can help regulate your menstrual cycle by keeping your hormone levels in check. This can help reduce the frequency and intensity of period symptoms and improve your energy levels during menstruation.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are effective ways to manage stress. They help you focus on the present moment and clear your mind of racing thoughts.
These relaxation techniques can help reduce pain, improve sleep quality, and increase your overall sense of well-being. When you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, take a few minutes to yourself to practice some deep breathing or meditation.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for managing stress levels by decreasing cortisol levels. When you're sleep-deprived, your body appears to be in distress, leading to increased cortisol levels. In turn, this can make it harder to manage stress and further disrupt your menstrual cycle.
By following a regular sleep schedule and getting enough rest, you can help keep your cortisol levels in check, regulate mood, improve concentration, and reduce stress. Ensure you get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and avoid working or using electronic screens in the hours leading up to bedtime.
Take Daily Vitamins
Vitamins and minerals play an important role in stress management. Vitamins B6 and C, in particular, are known to help reduce stress levels during menstruation. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which can improve mood and alleviate pain.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps the body cope with stress by reducing cortisol levels. Fruits such as oranges, berries, and kiwis are rich in vitamin C, making them perfect for snacking on during your period. You can also take multivitamin supplements or a vitamin C supplement to ensure you're getting enough of these stress-busting nutrients.
Binto Supplements Can Help with Stress Management and Period Pain
Managing your stress levels during your menstrual cycle is vital for maintaining your health and well-being. Binto's line of supplements is designed to help you during those difficult times. Our supplements will help you manage stress, ease period symptoms, and improve your overall health.
Our supplements are made from high-quality ingredients and are GMO-free, gluten-free, filler-free, and have no added preservatives. They are rich in vitamins B6, B12, C, and D3, which can help reduce stress levels, improve mood, and relieve pain. Additionally, they are packed with minerals such as zinc and magnesium, which play a role in stress management.
Binto supplements are designed to help you feel your best when going through a hard time, both emotionally and physically. If you're struggling to manage stress during your period, Binto's line of supplements can help you get the nutrients you need to feel your best. Contact us today to learn more about our period and wellness products or browse our vast selection of supplements online. You'll be glad you did!