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Covid-19 can mess with your menstrual cycle. Here’s how to deal with it

Published on:12 June 2021, 13:00pm IST
Covid-19 can have several health implications, including changes in your menstrual cycle. Here’s how you can tackle the situation better
Dr Saroja Koppala
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contraceptive pills
Contraceptive pills can help you regularise irregular periods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

As women, we know there are multiple factors that have an impact on our menstrual cycle. The issues that impact our cycle include high levels of stress and anxiety, underlying health conditions like PCOS and PCOD, and endometriosis. About 1 in 20 women aged between 30 to 49 years consult a doctor each year, because of menstrual problems. There are various reasons for menstrual cycle disturbances like polycystic ovaries, polyps, fibroids, underlying medical illnesses, and stress. The problems present in your menstrual cycle may vary with age, while acne may be a concern for adolescents. Reduced fertility could be a concern for older women.

Covid impacts the menstrual cycle and fertility

During the pandemic, doctors and gynecologists have reported a higher number of cases, where women have had issues with irregular periods. Covid-19 has caused enormous psychological stress, and as we know, stress can cause changes in the menstrual cycle. A majority of women did not see any difference in their menstrual cycles. The ones who witnessed any change saw the issues disappear within one to two months. Further studies are required in this matter to come to a conclusion. 

covid and period delay
We weighs in on the impact of COVID on your periods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Normal menstrual function in women is primarily dependent on hormone secretions from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and ovaries. Some women have faced issues, including occurrence of two cycles in the same month, delayed periods, heavier/lighter periods, longer periods, or extreme PMS symptoms. The main reason why so many women are facing this issue is because of certain factors that are impacting their periods.

For women who juggle both professional and personal responsibilities, the pandemic made it extremely difficult to balance both. During covid, there was additional stress at work, as people took the liberty of assigning tons of work at any time of the day. Women had to take care of their children, their household, and their work at the same time, and that too without any help from anyone. This took a toll on their mental health and their menstrual health as well. What you also need to understand is that even though sometimes you may not be fully paying attention to some bad or negative news in the room, your brain registers the information and understands that your environment might not be safe.

Stress: A big cause

Due to the pandemic, there is already so much stress and anxiety which is impacting women’s physical and mental health. The stress response system of women is very powerful. What you need to know is that short-term stress is okay, and the body might deal with it, but chronic stress is harmful for the body. There is a study that says that stress reduces fertility in women. So, the higher the stress, the more difficult it is for a woman to conceive. 

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Luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone are both being released by the pituitary gland, which is in the brain. These hormones go to the ovaries and indicate to the ovaries what to do. However, if your body is overworked, stressed or anxious, the signalling from the brain to the ovaries is incorrect. 

Tips to deal with the situation

As discussed above, here are a few things that one can do to take charge and reduce the stress that is induced in the body: 

Also, read: These are the 5 times when you need to seek medical help for your periods

  • One can perform yoga, as it has helped several people to get their cycle back to normal. 
  • Start exercising and meditating. That’s because meditating might help your body to focus and release stress. Taking out this time for yourself may help you release the extra stress that you might have been carrying. 

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  • Start eating better and increase the intake of water. Control your diet and reduce packaged foods. 
  • If recommended by the doctor, take pills as and when required
  • Seek medical intervention, whenever there is a need. Tele-consultation or virtual consultation are both available as during the pandemic.

Always discuss your issues with your doctor first, be it any menstrual issues or otherwise. That helps in diagnosing the issue as early as possible!

Dr Saroja Koppala Dr Saroja Koppala

Dr Saroja Koppala, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility, Hyderabad