Melatonin: How this sleep hormone affects your menstrual cycle?
Did you know hormones pretty much orchestrate every move, emotion and sensation you have ever felt? That’s how big a role hormones play in our bodies. From the tiniest cellular level to playing an important role in every critical life milestone, hormones have always shaped who we are and how our body responds to things around us. So, clearly, they can impact every aspect of our being, including menstruation. But how exactly do hormones affect our menstruation cycle? Well, in this case – how does melatonin affect menstruation?
Health Shots asked Dr Pratima Thamke, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar to explain the role of melatonin and its impact on menstruation.
Understanding the role of melatonin
For the unversed, melatonin is a hormone that the brain produces in darkness. It helps with the timing of the circadian rhythm (body’s 24-hour internal clock) and your sleep cycle. Being exposed to light at night can hamper the melatonin production. But the role of melatonin doesn’t end here! Several studies have found that melatonin plays an essential role in the body beyond sleep. Melatonin supplements help you tackle conditions like jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, and anxiety. While short-term melatonin supplements are safe for most people, it is better to strictly use them under the guidance of an expert.
How does melatonin affect menstruation?
Sure, melatonin seems important. But what role does it play when it comes to menstruation? Dr Thamke explains that melatonin plays an important role in the regulation of the human menstrual cycle and tends to decline with menopause or aging. A late luteal melatonin rise ( the period after the egg release), triggered by progesterone, is known to influence menstrual cycle control. So, disturbance in menstruation levels can affect ovulation and may even lead to problems like infertility.
Since melatonin is responsible for sleep as well, when it is disrupted, so is your sleep. This may cause problems with fertility. So, it is possible that changes in sleep patterns due to melatonin could indirectly affect the menstrual cycle. The sleep-wake cycle impacts the levels of other hormones in the body, such as luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. These hormones regulate the menstrual cycle. So, changes in sleep patterns from taking melatonin indirectly affect the menstrual cycle, explains Dr Thamke.
How is melatonin produced
Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone by the pineal gland in the brain. It is responsible to control your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. If your body isn’t producing enough of it, your healthcare provider might recommend some supplements. However, one needs to beware of the side effects of melatonin supplements, especially when taken with certain medications such as hormonal birth control. It could interfere with the effectiveness, says the expert.
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If you wish to take melatonin supplements, it is advisable to speak with your doctor first to get some advise. Try not to take the supplements without the doctor’s knowledge.