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Here’s how work from home is impacting your periods and reproductive health

Published on:16 May 2021, 10:00am IST
Dr Sangeeta Gomes talks about the impact work from home has had on female reproductive and menstruation health.
Dr Sangeeta Gomes
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Dr. Sangeeta Gomes on impact of work from home on periods
Take care of your period and gynae health during the lockdown. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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COVID-19 has affected each and every aspect of our lives. Since 2020, we have seen the World go into multiple lockdowns to ensure social distancing and stop the transmission of the deadly virus. 

The lockdowns made millions of people work out of their homes as social distancing norms took over the professional spaces. While there are several advantages of work from home (WFH), ranging from spending quality time with your loved ones to next to nil time spent travelling to and from work, the communal nature of conventional workspace provided a certain degree of push and ambience that enhanced our motivation and productivity, which a WFH set up might lack in certain aspects. As the months progressed, unknowingly people started leading a sedentary lifestyle because of isolation.

Affect on women’s health

For working women managing familial responsibilities as well, WFH added to the pressure as employers took the liberty of assigning more work than scoped out at any time of the day- just because people did not have plans of going out somewhere and women had to take care of their children, their household as well. All these factors took a toll on their mental health. 

For teenage girls and unmarried women, although there were no children/ household to take care of, there were lots of assignments and work to complete. Since no one could go out and not everyone had the advantage of having a garden or terrace to themselves, physical exercise almost dropped to zero. Along with binge-watching series, they were also binge eating. With reduced exercise and increased snacking, it impacted their overall health. 

 Dr. Sangeeta Gomes on impact of work from home on periods
Take care of yourself. Image courtesy: Shuttersock

We all know that even the minutest of things can change the menstrual cycle of women. Most women feel that the uterus controls the cycles, but it is your brain that controls it. Many people still do not know that things like stress, anxiety, food, sleep patterns, exercise, etc. can affect your periods

Moreover, when working from home, one could wake up at erratic hours and not dress up as travelling to work was no longer a requirement. Staying at home made people more lethargic than ever. Sudden changes in routine like too much or too little exercise or being lethargic affected women’s periods. Statistics say that about 25-30% of women’s period cycles were affected, impacting regularity and flow. 

Signs to watch out for

Missing periods can be a sign of increased stress/anxiety or a major change in one’s life. If irregular menstrual cycles are accompanied by hot flashes, irritability, and sleepless nights it might be a sign of perimenopause. Apart from this, irregular/more frequent periods can be a sign of PCOD/PCOS. One should contact their gynaecologist as soon as possible. All of these issues were properly managed when there was no lockdown, due to less frequent visits to the doctor and change in living modalities have triggered PCOD/PCOS in many women. 

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Managing gynae problems during COVID-19

While the increasing uncertainties keep escalating starting from financial difficulties and social isolation impact, women suffering from gynae problems like uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, or endometriosis are facing unprecedented challenges in their attempts to preserve their mental and physical welfare. Stress due to this problem can trigger overall physical health and may exacerbate fibroid symptoms, vaginal bleeding, or even painful periods. It is always recommended to not ignore these problems even if we are amidst a pandemic and consult with a gynaecologist who will be able to guide you to take certain measures to deal with such issues. 

Few tips in order to stay healthy
  • Try meditating and practice mindfulness. Guided meditation videos can be found online or on YouTube.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene which will help your body to relax.
  • Continue performing simple household chores and indoor workout routines such as yoga or aerobic exercises. 
  • Stay hydrated and take ample amounts of water during the day and try avoiding alcohol.

So ladies, while the situation may seem difficult to handle, remember that your menstruation and reproductive health is of top priority, lockdown or no lockdown.

Dr Sangeeta Gomes Dr Sangeeta Gomes

Dr Sangeeta Gomes , Consultant Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Indiranagar, Bangalore