11 Everyday Things That Can Mess With Your Period

Originally Published on April 15, 2020 Period | By Carina Wolff and JR Thorpe

If you’ve missed a period or you’ve found that it’s shorter or longer than normal, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. However, an abnormal period isn’t always a cause for alarm, as a number of everyday things can affect your menstrual cycle — even if it’s something you would least expect. Some people may be more sensitive to change than others, but that doesn’t automatically mean you have some scary disease or are going to have a baby. Sometimes it’s something much more mundane.

Menstruating people experience between 11 and 13 menstrual cycles per year, averaging a 28-day cycle, but each person is different. Our environment, the things we ingest, and even travel can alter our cycles. Although an irregular period can sometimes signify something bigger such as pregnancy, menopause, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, these aren’t always the case.

Every situation is different, but if you’re feeling some differences in your monthly visitor, consider these 11 everyday things that can change your menstrual cycle before you start to freak out.

1. Stress

If you’ve been having a hard time right now, stress could be the cause of your messed up period. “Stress is the number-one contributor to a change in menstrual cycles because when you are stressed, your body shuts down the hormones you need to ovulate,” says Dr. Carolyn Alexander, MD, F.A.C.O.G, of Southern California Reproductive Center over email.

A lot of different stressors can alter your cycle, Dr. Sherry Ross M.D., an OB/GYN, tells Bustle, from physical stress like a lot of exercise, to emotional stress. If you’ve gone through a breakup, are grieving somebody, or are experiencing a lot of emotional upheaval, your period may be delayed or disappear.

2. Other People’s Cycles

Ever gotten your period at the same time as your roommate? It’s no coincidence. Your cycle may be affected by other people’s menstruation. “Co-workers often end up getting their periods around the same time as one another due to their pheromones, a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species, especially those in close proximity,” says Dr. Alexander.

The scientific jury is out on whether period syncing is the reality for most people. A study of Chinese students in 2006, a survey of users by period-tracking app Clue in 2017 and multiple studies in the 1990s have cast doubt on the idea. It may be a coincidence, or there could be other factors at work. | | | Next → |

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