These are, as many have said before us, unprecedented times. Our jobs have been affected; our social lives, our relationships and our daily routines are all over the place. But do periods stop for pandemics? Well, they actually might. Read on and find out how else the Coronavirus could be affecting your menstrual cycle.
1. I’m late, I’m late
Social isolation, wholesale changes to your routine and uncertainty all contribute to stress. And there’s plenty of that happening right now. The way the body responds is to release its ‘stress hormone’ cortisol, which is A Good Thing as it helps to control stress response in the body. But excess release of cortisol can also play havoc with your hormones, and your menstrual cycle. This often results in a delayed period or in extreme cases, your periods may even stop altogether for a while.
2. Pain, pain, go away
Painful periods, AKA dysmenorrhea, are often linked to high stress situations. If you already suffer period pain, the bad news is it’s likely to get worse about now. Stress can also have a weirdly delayed effect, whereby you experience a dose of bad cramps as a result of stress that you experienced the previous month, even though you’ve been feeling better overall.
3. But I’m on the pill…
Being on the pill means your ovaries (and hormones) have been seconded by Others, and that means your cycle shouldn’t be affected by stress. But there’s a catch. A combination of stress, erratic sleep patterns and mealtimes, and general life upheaval means the routine of taking the pill can go awry. And when some people don’t take it at their normal time, they might not remember to take it at all. If you find you are spotting or bleeding, this could be the reason. (If your period is late and you are on the pill, you should take a pregnancy test.)
4. In short supply
The pandemic has led to panic buying in pharmacies and supermarkets, and it’s not just toilet roll and pasta that’s in short supply – the outbreak has also impacted the availability of tampons and pads. While it’s not good for the sisterhood to fill your garden shed with san pro, it’s the norm to have a couple of months worth in the bathroom cupboard, so you have a reasonable stash. We know a good place to stock up ;)
Important bit: If you are experiencing symptoms that worry you, always consult a medical professional. Most GPs are offering tele-consult services so there’s no need to put off a visit to the doctor.