Stress causes late periods by the way it disrupts your hormonal patterns. Your hormones need to meet certain levels and follow certain patterns in order to trigger both ovulation and your period. If stress gets in the way this can disrupt the cycle. Stress causes a rise in stress hormones — specifically cortisol — which affect the production and interaction of other hormones.
Your hormonal cycle is a chain reaction. If one stage of your cycle does not occur as it should, the following stages will not receive the correct triggers. When your ovary releases an egg, the ruptured egg sack produces progesterone. The increase of progesterone in your body encourages the buildup and eventual release of the lining of your uterus, aka your period.
When cortisol is elevated, this gets majorly interrupted. Here are the 5 specific ways stress can affect your period:
- Disrupts Insulin – Stress raises cortisol levels and disrupts your blood sugar which, in turn, disrupts your ovulation and period.
- Lowers Progesterone – The stress hormone cortisol blocks progesterone production and lowers progesterone levels. Your body actually uses your progesterone to make more cortisol to react and respond to the stress. This not only messes with your cycle, but it can make it difficult for you to conceive.
- Delays Ovulation – If you experience stress around the time you typically ovulate, the increased levels of cortisol can delay or even prevent ovulation. This one makes sense evolutionarily – a pregnancy on top of a stressful period in a person’s life is not ideal. Your body in a way is trying to keep your energy available to address the stress before conception takes place.
- Changes timing of your Period – Stress post-ovulation can cause a hormonal imbalance too. If you do ovulate and stress comes later in your cycle, it can potentially cause spotting, an early period, or a period that looks or feels different than your norm (in consistency, color, length, or symptoms like cramping).
- Period can go missing – Even if you do eventually bleed, a late period may not be considered a period at all – it’s more of a breakthrough bleed. You didn’t ovulate, so it’s not a physiological period – however, your uterus still needs to shed the lining it has built up.
How to Outsmart Stress And Finally Fix Your Hormones
Your body is brilliant and your late period isn’t just a nuisance you can ignore; it’s your body’s way of telling you that it’s under constant or chronic levels of stress and unable to operate optimally. In order to perform all the countless functions it needs to do to keep you alive, it shuts down ovulation in an effort to conserve resources and energy. If you’re not trying to conceive, maybe you think this lack of ovulation is no big deal. But think again: when your body doesn’t ovulate, it sets the stage for more hormonal symptoms and period problems – everything from PMS, to acne, to cramps. A late period is more than just an inconvenience — it’s a precursor to a long list of other serious health issues.
I’m an advocate for listening to your body and a late period is your body saying something loud and clear, but what exactly is your body trying to tell you? A stressed out cycle is a message. It’s a call-to-action from your body.
Once you period is late, there’s not much you can do to make your period come when you want during that cycle. But you can avoid future late periods by taking action today. How? Simple. Your body isn’t just brilliant; it’s resilient. By nourishing it with the proper micronutrients and lifestyle support, you can absolutely heal your hormones, eliminate your symptoms, and get your period back on track.
When you eat in a hormonally-supportive way, you soothe and support your adrenal glands, which turns the dial down on cortisol production and breaks the stress cycle. Not to mention that eating nutrient-dense foods at the right times of your cycle will boost your metabolism, digestion, and help you lose weight with blood sugar balance, regulate your cycles, detoxify your system, and increase your energy.
If you’re ready for the type of in-depth guidance necessary to kick stress to the curb and reclaim your hormonal health, it’s time to sign up for MonthlyFLO, a three-month program that will show you how to tap into your body’s unique rhythm, feed yourself at all four phases for optimal hormonal balance, and get more done with less effort. Get started now and stop letting all those daily stressors mess with your beautiful body.
Love and ovaries,
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