Get ready for a bumpy ride with your next period and maybe even the one after! As if there isn’t enough going on already. But, yes, it’s true. The forecast this month is additional breast tenderness, moodiness, heavier periods, shorter, possibly even longer cycles or even no period at all. I am going to go ahead and call it, it’s Covid-19’s fault. Now it’s nothing to do with having the virus, it’s the fall out of everything going on around the virus. It is because we are experiencing stress.
Why? Well a little bit of science. The reality is as women we are hard wired to reproduce…and of course be brilliant, sassy and special. Silliness aside, while still menstruating it’s all about reproduction. In the hypothalamus we produce a hormone called gonadotrophin releasing factor but we’ll just call it GnRH. It sends a signal to the pituitary, also in the brain to release LH and FSH. They are both released in consistent pulses, FSH in the first half of your cycle to produce oestrogen and LH in the second stage of your cycle to produce progesterone. Normally this is all running smoothly, pulses consistent and steady but when we are stressed, cortisol, norepinephrine or adrenaline flood the brain and muck up the whole process. Our brain thinks she is way too stressed to make a baby and the pituitary starts to slow the pulses. Firstly, LH slows right down until we're deficient in progesterone, and we love progesterone because it’s like a gentle blanket that smooths out the ups and downs of oestrogen. If the stress continues then FSH follows and the period will cease all together.
Unfortunately you can’t just take tablet of progesterone to get the balance back to normal, our hormones are more sophisticated than this. You can however support your nervous system, in particular your adrenals. B vitamins, magnesium, and herbs like Rhodiola are beneficial. You can try to improve the cortisol response by keep a routine, i.e. not just hanging in your pjs all day! You can also manage your stress response through meditation, journaling and just being kind to yourself. Here are our top six strategies to managing stress during this time:
Avoid info overload: Limit Covid-19 media intake to 30 mins per day.
Practice Gratitude: Write a letter to someone who has had a positive impact on your life.
Try Meditation: There are many free videos and apps for mindfulness meditation; experiment to find what works for you.
Create a Home Sanctuary: Find a space at home that is where you can go to relax, meditate.
Give Yourself a Pat on the Back: Celebrate any positive changes your making toy our health.
Exercise Every Day: Check out the list of FREE at home workouts here: https://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/topics/live-at-home