During lockdown, many women have reported experiencing changes in their periods. From heavier periods to irregular menstruating patterns, more severe mood swings, problems with sleeping and even sometimes more painful, the stress and anxiety brought on by COVID-19 has had an inescapable effect on our bodies.
- See also: 'What we can learn from Sarah Everard’s case: re-victimisation and advocation'
- See also: 'Meghan Markle, “racial gaslighting” and its re-traumatising effect on the Black population'
- See also: 'Dr Saif Bangash on his prize win and the humbling effect of the pandemic'
For Vogue, Dr Anita Mitra expanded on this experience, “We often think of stress as a psychological insult, like money worries, relationship troubles, a work deadline etc… But our bodies are very clever, and they also sense changes in sleep patterns and quality, and diet and exercise. These can have an impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), which amends the production of many different types of hormones within the body – including the female reproductive hormones.”
Speaking to the Independent last year, Dr Leila Frodsham, a consultant gynaecologist for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said “it is possible that women may notice changes to their menstrual cycle, with stress having the potential to cause hormonal imbalances in the body”.
Furthermore, Dr Mitra conducted a poll after last year’s lockdown in March and found that out of 5,677 women 65% reported a change in their cycle and or hormonal symptoms.
Hormones have such an important part to play in our ability to regulate things like stress and anxiety
This stress and anxiety can manifest itself in many ways and can come from various causes for the women experiencing this. If you are someone who has always been regular with their menstruation and all of a sudden are over ten days late, especially if you have been living with a partner, the immediate cause of stress and anxiety can be that of an unexpected pregnancy and then having to deal with a possible abortion during a lockdown which has its own complications.
Having heavier periods or more painful ones can also result in lethargy and low mood, this in conjunction with the effects of lockdowns and the pandemic have already had on energy levels and mood can have a huge impact on mental health.
You could argue that thanks to the adverse effects of multiple lockdowns and the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for women who experience periods to tune into what is going on with their bodies when they are menstruating. To help with this Yoppie have created an easy to digest, breakdown of hormone changes, PMS, normal PMS symptoms as well as PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and even finding the best ways to cope/manage symptoms of PMS.
This fantastic guide from Yoppie is a great way to start implementing effective adjustments to alleviate the more all-consuming side effects of menstruation and PMS, whether that be motivation or depressive moods.