Is it that time of the month for you and your periods are a no show? Chances are, it’s due to stress. Stress can often hinder your body’s normal functions and your menstrual cycle can also take a hit from it. This article will inform you all about delayed periods and the other effects stress can have on your monthly cycle.
There are a lot of times in a woman’s life when her period is late, and she cannot find a viable reason for it. If you are going through this situation, the first cause to look towards should be stress. The stress may be due to several factors, maybe there’s some tension at home, maybe your result is due, and you are freaking out about it, or there’s a big meeting in the office, But the main question in your mind would be how long can stress delay a period? Let’s find out.
There can be many reasons for delay or irregularity in your cycle. It’s not uncommon for your cycle to get irregular once in a while and many reasons can be attached to it. One of the most recurrent reasons remains stress. It can be acute stress which affects you on a smaller level or it can be chronic stress affecting you on a larger level and affecting all of your bodily functions.
Menstrual cycle is based on hormones and stress affects your hormones the most. This can cause your periods to arrive earlier, or later than the due date, it can also have effects on the blood flow and duration of periods. This article will tell you about all the issues that persist with stress in accordance with the monthly cycle and how to deal with it.
Table of Contents
Why does stress delay your period?
When the body goes under sudden stress, it goes into mechanisms such as fight, flight, or freeze, but prolonged stress has its effects. One of the most common stress affects your body has, is the delay in your menstrual cycle.
When people ask about delays in their cycle or having an irregular cycle, the most common cause is stress. Look back at your week or even your month and check your stress levels. Remember the times that you have been under stress. Sometimes stress can also be subconscious, where you are stressing about things in the back of your mind, causing your body to react.
Stress can highly affect your monthly cycle and make you late. The delay in periods is quite frustrating and can make one very irritable. Delays in periods can sometimes cause more stress because you want to know why your body is reacting this way, and the irony is that the reason is stress.
How long can stress delay a period?
Stress can make your period late for a few days or even make you miss it entirely. The days can go from a week to months with no periods. Still, the latter happens only in extreme conditions, whether it is about mental health issues or the disruption in food intake, or emotional needs not being met.
If you are in this situation, it is common to ask how long stress can delay a period. The answer can vary from woman to woman. Still, the general rule is that the normal menstrual cycle is 28 days; a healthy cycle is considered to vary anywhere from 21 to 35 days. It is considered irregular or late if your period goes some days over this limit. If you are going through months without periods without knowing the cause, it’s time to consult a doctor.
How does stress delay your period?
The menstrual cycle is activated by the rise and fall of hormones such as Lh and FSH, estrogen, and progesterone, all controlled by the pituitary gland. Hypothalamus is the part that stimulates the pituitary gland and ultimately controls your periods.
Whenever your body undergoes stress, it produces a hormone called ‘glucocorticoid cortisol.’ This hormone ultimately leads to a delay in your menstrual cycle. If the stress levels are peaking, it can stop your menstruation cycle indefinitely, which can be a considerable health risk. This happens because your body or your mind is under high-rising stress or because you are malnourished. This is the body’s way of telling you it is not ready for a healthy conception.
When your period is late, you can still have symptoms of periods that include Nausea, Back Pain, Insomnia, Headache, Anxiety, Acne, and Hunger; some women experience spotting before the actual blood flow starts. It can also induce period cramps which can be painful with all the stress.
These symptoms before the cycle starts are collectively known as PMS or Premenstrual Syndrome. Most women start a week before their regular cycle; for some, it starts two to three days before, and some may not experience PMS. But when the periods are delayed, there are high chances of experiencing all these symptoms on the days your periods are supposed to arrive.
Delays in periods can still lead to PMS; in this occurrence, it can be much more painful for some women.
Suppose you miss your periods due to stress and wonder when they will be regular again. In that case, there are ways to induce natural and harmless periods.
- Vitamin C
- Warm bath
- Proper sleep schedule
Ginger is a natural and highly effective emmenagogue. It can help induce your periods faster and relaxes you. An easy way to incorporate this into your diet is to make a hot ginger tea by boiling some water, adding ginger into it, and letting it simmer. When it is done, add some lemon and honey and help calm your cramps and induce your cycle.
Vitamins are essential in your daily diet. Vitamin C is one of the most essential nourishment in your cycle, as it helps the progesterone and estrogen levels drop or go higher.
Turmeric has an antispasmodic effect on your body which helps in blood flow, expanding the uterus and hence inducing menstruation.
Parsley is an excellent emmenagogue. It contains compounds myristicin and apiole, which help in estrogen production resulting in balanced hormones and induced periods. Add it to your diet directly, or enjoy a warm parsley tea.
If you have heard the myth about not showering during periods, we are here to bust it. Not only should you shower on your cycle, but you should also shower to induce your periods. A warm shower helps you relax and lower your stress levels, helping your blood flow.
Meditation helps you heal and keeps you at ease which results in a decrease in stress. Keep this practice in your daily life to have a regular cycle and avoid any late periods.
Proper sleep schedule
Stress often occurs due to a lack of sleep or irregular sleep patterns. When you fix your sleep schedule, it helps with your overall health. Prioritize your sleep to have a healthy cycle.
Dates also help in inducing periods as they have the unique property of generating heat in your body when consumed. By making dates a part of your diet regularly, women can maintain regular menstrual cycles. It can help induce periods because they are rich in sources of various nutrients, vitamin C and iron.
Jaggery is a great natural source for inducing periods. It has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It cannot only help induce your cycle but also can prepone it. Try drinking it by mixing turmeric, honey and milk and drink regularly till your cycle starts.
Reasons for the period delay other than stress
There are other factors for delay in your period instead of just stress. These factors include;
- Weight fluctuations
- Excessive Exercise
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Birth control
Although we have established that stress is the most common reason for your period delay, there are many other reasons that are likely to be the reasons for the delay in your period.
Pregnancy is a prevalent cause of delay in your menstrual cycle, and the first thought that comes into the mind of most sexually active women is pregnancy. If you are sexually active and your periods completely stop, you should take a pregnancy test and consult a doctor.
Your cycle can get delayed or suddenly stop if your weight fluctuates vastly.
In case of excessive weight loss, your calories get restricted, and hormone production can get mainly affected or even stop, which stops the cycle.
In the case of excessive weight gain, a hormone known as estrogen is produced in a large amount. It regulates the reproductive system, but it can stop your periods if produced excessively.
If your workout routine is strenuous, it may be affecting your cycle. This usually occurs if you work out several hours a day and eventually burn way more calories than you’re taking in.
An unhealthy amount of exercise causes calorie deficit, and your body can’t manage day-to-day functions normally. It can increase your hormone production, ultimately affecting your menstrual cycle.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is caused by an imbalance in hormones. The hormonal imbalance creates complications in the ovaries. Excess male sex hormone androgen is produced, affecting the monthly cycle.
When a woman starts going towards menopause, a hormone known as estrogen, which regulates the menstrual cycle, drops in levels, and ovulation becomes irregular, leading to a stop in periods.
Birth control works by introducing hormones that help stop ovulation and conception. Some forms of birth control work by stopping the menstrual cycle or making it irregular for months.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition where your body starts producing thyroid hormone in an increased amount and hypothyroidism occurs when the production of thyroid hormone in your body lessens. Too little or too much thyroid production can affect your cycle and make it irregular.
Menstrual cycle and phases
There exists a whole cycle that a woman’s body follows from start to end every month. This cycle is known as the menstrual cycle.
There are four phases in the menstrual cycle.
- Follicular Phase
- Luteal Phase
Here are the four phases of the menstrual cycle”
Menstruation or otherwise known as periods, is a bodily phenomenon in a woman’s body that happens every month besides some cases. When periods begin, you start to bleed, this bleeding occurs due to the uterus lining shedding and bleeding out of your vagina. The cycle starts when menstruation begins and it lasts from 3-7 days on average.
This phase has a longer duration in the cycle, it starts on your periods and lasts till 13-14 days and stops when ovulation occurs. Pituitary gland releases a hormone to stimulate the production of follicles and only one follicle matures into an egg. The uterus lining thickens during this phase for the preparation of insemination
When the mature egg from the previous phase is released and travels to the ovary through your fallopian tube. Ovulation occurs on average 12 to 14 days before your period. It is possible to conceive in the five days before ovulation or even on the day of ovulation.
It starts around day 15 and ends when you get your periods. The corpus luteum which are the cells in the ovary, release a hormone known as progesterone. It is responsible for the lining of the uterus to thicken for pregnancy.
If for any reason, conception doesn’t occur, the corpus luteum deteriorates and the progesterone level drops causing uterus lining to start shedding and as a result bleeding starts.
Try to figure out the reason for your stress
Most of the times you know what is triggering your stress but there are times when you can’t pinpoint the reason for your stress levels being high. It can be a small thing such as a quiz or it can range to some bigger events in life such as moving out of the country or experiencing financial distress. When this is the case you ought to sit with yourself and figure out the reason so it can be easy to find solutions for it and most importantly try to manage the stress throughout.
Ways to manage stress
As we have established that stress is one of the most common reasons for period delay, Which in turn makes a person more irritated and uncomfortable so it is crucial to handle your stress and calm yourself, we have gathered some tips for you to say goodbye to that stress and say hello to a healthier lifestyle and regular periods.
- Talk to a professional
- Spend some time with your loved ones
- Make time for your favorite hobbies
- Get some natural vitamin D
Here’s how to manage stress:
Talk to a professional
If you feel that some events in life are bothering you too much lately or you can’t seem to manage your stress, it can be beneficial to talk to a therapist or any other mental health professional.
Let’s say you have a big presentation coming up and it is causing you major stress, in this case you should practice meditation. Meditation can be done in many ways, you can take up yoga, try deep breathing or even visualize that you are in your safe space or your favorite place.
Spend some time with your loved ones
Spending time with your family can help calm you down immensely. It can help you find your purpose and ultimately reduce depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Make time for your favorite hobbies
Doing things you love can help relieve stress in your life immensely. People who have hobbies and indulge in them are relatively less stressed per research.
Get some natural vitamin D
Sun exposure helps with anxiety and stress. It is viewed as a prime and natural way of getting Vitamin D and to increase your serotonin levels.
When should you see a doctor?
Going through your menstrual cycle is an uncomfortable experience as it is but there are some reasons that can certainly make it intolerable, some of these reasons could lead to something serious, it’s good to get checked and make sure you are healthy.
- If your period has been consecutively missed for 90 days straight
- If your period gets extremely painful and uncomfortable
- If your period becomes irregular
- Your period last for an unhealthy duration
- You are bleeding in between periods
Here’s when should you see a doctor:
If your period has been consecutively missed for 90 days straight
If you have completely missed your periods for more than three months, it can be concerning given that you’re not pregnant, experiencing menopause or breastfeeding.
If your period gets extremely painful and uncomfortable
Are periods painful normally? The answer is yes. A lot of women experience painful periods but if the pain exceeds the limit, You should see your gynecologist for it.
If your period becomes irregular
If the day your periods are supposed to arrive keeps changing, it is a sign of period irregularity and the issue should be consulted
Your period lasts for an unhealthy duration
Some women have periods that last for just three days , some have it for 7 to 8 days but if they exceed more than this time limit and are excessive in bleeding, it’s good to have it checked out as it could be an on-set for something more.
You are bleeding in between periods
If you’re sometimes bleeding in between your periods, it’s considered normal but if you are bleeding frequently, you should have it checked out.
Stress often delays your period but there is nothing to worry about. This article will guide you towards a better and healthier lifestyle which will also result in relieving stress as much as possible. Some factors such as keeping track of the changes in your menstrual cycle will be a big life saver for you..
If your periods are missed or delayed more than a month or two, consult a doctor immediately.