Can Anxiety Affect Your Period?

When you’re on your period, you often experience a wide range of emotions. A sentimental commercial may make you cry. You may get upset over things that typically don’t bother you that much. Bloating and cramps may make you feel like you don’t want to deal with anyone at work. At least, not today.

But what about external factors in your life? Would having too much stress and anxiety affect your period?

To give you one less thing to worry about, below is an overview of how different areas in your life may have an effect on your menstrual cycle.

How Stress Can Affect Your Period

We all know that stress can affect other areas of your life: It can throw off your sleep patterns, cause you to eat more (or stop eating completely), make you short-tempered, or take away your ability to concentrate.

However, certain levels of stress are common in everyday life. If you ask any of your friends, chances are that you’ll start to see a common denominator in things that make them wish they could just hop on a plane and fly away into the horizon: Being stuck in traffic during the daily commute. Writing a term paper. Preparing a presentation for a potential big client. Having to pick up kids from school. Running errands. While all of these things can be stressful, they are not likely to cause your period to skip a month or two.

Now, when you start getting into really heavy issues territory, such as the death of a loved one, being laid off while having no savings, having a family member diagnosed with a serious illness, dealing with a chronic disease… that can cause your body to go into survival mode.

This type of stress can affect the functioning of the hypothalamus, the portion of your brain that regulates hormones relating to regulating your body temperature, sleep patterns, hunger, thirst, mood… and your menstrual cycle.

When a woman misses her period for several months in a row, it’s called secondary amenorrhea. This condition also has additional symptoms:

– Headaches

– Blurred vision

– Vaginal dryness

– Nipple discharge

– Acne

If any of these circumstances and symptoms apply to you, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment with a gynecologist, since secondary amenorrhea may lead to fertility issues and a loss of bone density.  

Anxiety and Menstruation: What’s the Connection?

In addition to stressors, some women deal with anxiety disorders. As opposed to stress, anxiety involves an excessive, persistent dread, fear, and worry that interferes with the person’s ability to conduct their everyday activities.

These may include any of the following conditions:

Panic Attacks

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Depression

All of these conditions are mental illnesses which can be significantly debilitating. They also affect approximately 40 million Americans every single year, so if you’re one of them, you are definitely not alone.

In addition to the fear and worry, anxiety can affect a person’s overall health, including chronic headaches, digestive issues, chronic back pain, and menstrual cycle.

Even if the disorder does not cause a woman’s period to become irregular, she should still seek medical assistance from her OB-GYN, since symptoms of anxiety disorders often become exacerbated right before or during menstruation.

The OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch Can Help

At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we make it a priority to make all of our patients feel comfortable and safe. If stress or anxiety are affecting your menstrual cycle, we can help you find solutions.

 

Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

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