This Is Exactly How Stress Worsens Your Periods

PMS, painful menstruation or irregular flow aren’t necessary parts of womanhood. Stress could be the culprit behind your period woes.

You don’t have to experience agonizing cramps, super heavy bleeds and shocking amounts of bloating. These are actually signs of inner imbalances—and a lot of us have them. Of course, once you realize this, it can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you feel like you already have a relatively healthy lifestyle. (Why is everything so out of whack?!) But for many of us, there may be a silent enemy at the root of our period issues—stress.

How Stress Makes Your Period Worse

While stress feels like an intangible concept, its effects are highly tangible in the body. When you’re stressed, your body creates inflammatory cytokines. These little guys are heroes when it comes to fighting infections and diseases, but they aren’t super helpful when it comes to stress.

Cytokines often interfere with hormonal production and delivery, putting a halt on ovulation and slowing down progesterone production. They block some hormone receptors while overstimulating the receptors for estrogen. This is a major issue, since estrogen dominance is the reason behind many menstrual symptoms.

So more stress equals more inflammation. And more inflammation equals erratic hormones, which makes you feel even more stressed.

Wondering what can you do to stop the vicious cycle? The best way to start is to get better at managing your stress—all facets of it. This is the big secret to experiencing happier, healthier periods. Here are a few effective ways to get started.

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Seek out a naturopath.

Get a professional on your side. A good naturopath will help you identify sources of stress and prescribe supplements to help your body become more stress-resistant and lifestyle shifts to reduce the load. Their experience and advice can be invaluable when it comes to getting to the root of your period issues.

Cut out smoking (& other inflammatory activities).

If you regularly partake in inflammatory habits—such as smoking, drinking alcohol or eating processed foods and sugar—it’s very important to cut back. These habits are stressing your body and causing more inflammation to build up .

Even good things, like intense exercise, can have an inflammatory effect on your body, if you’re not giving yourself adequate recovery time. Try to cultivate a more balanced, soothing environment for yourself by cutting out the stuff that is taxing you.

Enjoy healthy carbs.

A super low carb diet can be incredibly stressful on a woman’s body. Many women need carbohydrate-sourced energy to help them menstruate.

There are women who need a small amount of carbs, while others need much more so the body doesn’t go into a stressed out state of deprivation. We’re all different, so this is highly individualized. Some women also function fine without carbs.

Of course, you don’t want to overeat carbs, either. Aim to get the quantity of carbohydrates that works for you (particularly around the time of menstruation) from whole food sources, like sweet potatoes, carrots, fruits, rice, whole grain sourdough and oats.

Unhealthy young woman with stomachache leaning on the bed at home.

Meditate, meditate, meditate, meditate.

Meditation changes your brain for the better. Make time for a few minutes of quiet every day and work on establishing a healthy, balanced schedule. It is a powerful stress reducer and can play a major role in restoring hormonal balance and healthy periods.

Find joy in your life.   

I know, this is a lot easier said than done, but it is a worthy endeavor, and it’s not like you need to drop everything to go seek enlightenment in Bali. Find a simple hobby or daily ritual that you deeply enjoy—and do it as often as possible. Happiness and love crush stress. Never stop pursuing them.

The average woman experiences around 400 periods in her lifetime. You don’t have to suffer through all of them. You can have better, more balanced periods by cutting back on stress and giving your body the love and attention it deserves.

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37 comments

Olivia H
Olivia H24 days ago

thanks very much

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Sarah A
Past Member 1 months ago

tyfs

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R1 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Louise A
Lara A1 months ago

Thank you

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Leanne K
Leanne K2 months ago

Outside of endodemetrititis, periods aren't that bad overall. Sure there are times when it's not exactly pleasant.
Too many women have to make out that theirs is the worst or it's like they are the only ones to get it, in a room full of women. You should have tried the Lippes Loop, two weeks of hemorrhaging where two super pads at night was no guaratee and cramps that in hindsight were contractions. But I put up with it with a smile on my face. Not getting pregnant was worth it.

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Barbara S
Barbara S2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Ellie L
Past Member 2 months ago

tyfs

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Leo C
Leo C2 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Sarah A
Past Member 2 months ago

thank you

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