Stress & Your Period
When our body is in “stress mode”, it sends all blood, energy, and nutrients to deal with that stress. This stress response lights a fire of inflammation in the body. Then, when our hormones try to communicate with our ovaries, they get blocked. Inflammation and stress should come and go, however when we are in a prolonged stressful situation, our body changes by adapting to that chronic stress and inflammation. Unfortunately, this means that our reproductive hormones get shunted way down on the body’s priority list. This can lead to an irregular ovulatory pattern, or anovulation (no ovulation) for extended periods of time.
Women also release pheromones (hormones that we smell unconsciously) which let our tribe know when we’re ovulating and when a period has started. These pheromones also enable women’s cycles to sync up which we find when women are working or living together. Interestingly, this has been impacted by the pandemic as constant mask wearing (restricting our sense of smell), as well as living and working in isolation, means we’re not exposed to these subtle pheromones, which can contribute to our periods being out of whack.
What can we do?
Coming to grips and adapting to the world we’re living in right now isn’t easy. It’s been tough on our body, and our mind. Looking after your physical health means eating well (think clean natural foods), sleeping, moving our body through exercise/activity, drinking plenty of water, minimising exposure to chemicals and drugs (including alcohol and caffeine) and minimising stress. All these things will support mental health, too.
To help bring your body back into balance, one of the most important things to do is to minimise stress – which we all know isn’t easy. Here are a few strategies that can help:
- Find things in your life that you can appreciate and create a gratitude list – dot points will do!
- Protect yourself from negativity. This may mean turning off the influx of news, from socials media, tv, apps, emails etc – the news stream can really take its toll!
- Practice self-love, and care whatever that means for you – maybe its reading, taking a bath, calling a loved one, putting on a face mask – whatever makes YOU feel good
- Don’t hold onto stress and negative emotions, let them be released so your body can be free from them. That may be having a big shower cry, journaling, venting by talking things out with a friend & trusted family member
- Take a herbal supplement such as Fem21 (my own blend of 21 herbs that support your natural cycle) that can help to balance your hormones, naturally! NB: It’s always recommended that you consult a health practitioner first
We all have choices on what we do with our time and energy. We are in control of our thoughts and mind – something that’s important to remember when so much of our life feels out of control. Come back to feeling empowered with the choices that you’re making each day and trust that this heightened stressful phase will pass. It’s a chapter of our lives, not the whole story.
Remember if you are experiencing any abnormality with your period to contact your health professional before anything else.
Meah Robertson is a Naturopath, mother of two & creator of Fem21, a herbal drink blend expertly crafted to help women regain control of their hormones.