How Can the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect Your Periods?

I feel like it’s safe to say that COVID-19 changed our lives completely. It not only disrupted our routines, but our friendships, familial relations, and work all suffered in some way. And even if less partying can be a good thing, what about our bodies and minds that also took a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic? Believe it or not, our menstrual cycles were not left unaffected. The question is, what can we do to try and protect ourselves? Let’s discuss.

When the pandemic started, divorce rates were not the only ones that skyrocketed. Quarantines all around the world have led to many reports of depression, insomnia, anxiety, and suicide in men and women alike. To some extent, women are even more subjected to stress-related problems due to our biology. So, is it really that surprising that we hear of women who experience abnormalities with their periods?

Some recent studies have made clear that there is a definite connection between menstruation and stress. As we already know, during our cycle, our hormones (especially estrogen and progesterone) fluctuate, but when our body thinks we’re in danger, it releases another hormone, cortisol, to prepare and energize us. As a result of that, our body quickly tires (as it always happens with adrenaline) and some irregularities can occur in our system.

What can you expect? The abundance of stress can lead to Oligomenorrhea (the scientific name for periods that don’t happen every month, i.e., infrequent menstruation), Amenorrhea (more than three months without periods) or other changes in symptoms before and after your cycle. In cases of severe depression, your periods can stop altogether.

But independent studies aside, all global COVID-19 scientific works completely excluded anything menstruation-related, so for the most part, we can only guess how many women have actually suffered those changes and how severe they are. The only thing that stays true regardless is that living during the pandemic is not easy on your physical and mental health. And it still affects you, even if you think that you have gotten used to it. Also, COVID-19 unfortunately hasn't cancelled our day-to-day grievances. That’s why learning more about the effects of troubled times can make us more resilient in the future.