- Causes of missed periods other than pregnancy
- 1. Birth Control
- 2. Other Medications
- 3. Intense Exercise
- 4. Stress
- 5. Extreme Weight Changes
- 6. International Travel
- 7. Drinking
- 8. Chronic Illness
- 9. Pregnancy
- 4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
- 5. Birth Control
- 6. Chronic Diseases
- 7. Early Peri-Menopause
- 8. Thyroid Issues
- Determining your cause
- Q. How does my body change throughout my cycle?
- Q. How can drinking alcohol impact my cycle?
- Q. So when is the worst time to drink alcohol during my cycle?
- Q. Are there any other potential effects of alcohol on my overall feminine health?
- Q. What can I do to be more mindful of how much and when I drink?
- Does Alcohol Affect Your Period? This Is What The Research Says
- How women’s menstrual cycles are linked to alcohol, according to recovering alcoholic
- Does Drinking Affect Your Period? Experts Have The Answers You’re Looking For
- How Sobriety Regulated My Cycle
- Does Alcohol Affect Your Periods?
- Can Alcohol Cause Hormonal Imbalance?
- Alcohol Leaves a Bitter Taste
- Should You Stop Drinking Too?
- Medication That May Affect Your Menstrual Cycle
- Effects of Prednisone and Menstrual Cycle
- 4 Things That Can Throw Your Period Out of Whack
- Thank you!
- Is it safe to skip periods with birth control?
- No period after stopping birth control – what is it about?
- How to keep track of your menstrual cycle?
Causes of missed periods other than pregnancy
Some of the causes of missed periods, besides pregnancy, are as follows:
- Stress: it is one of the most common reasons for a missed period. Stress can result in a hormonal imbalance and even affect the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that helps regulate your periods. Stress can also lead to sudden weight loss or gain or other illnesses, all of which can affect your cycle. Stress can arise from a lot of factors such as traveling, professional and relationship issues, emotional problems, financial issues, etc.
- Low body weight: low body weight is also a potential reason for a missed period. Women with eating disorders including bulimia or anorexia nervosa may experience an absence of menstruation. If your body weight is below 10 percent the normal range for your height, then you might stop ovulating because of hormonal changes. Athletes who participate in the extreme forms of exercise like marathons may also experience missed periods.
- Obesity: similarly to low body weight, obesity can also result in hormonal changes leading to an absence of menstruation.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a condition in which your body produces more of the male hormone androgen than normal. Due to this hormonal imbalance, cysts form in the ovaries, making ovulation irregular or stopping it altogether. This results in a missed period. Together with androgens, other hormones such as insulin can also get thrown out of balance with PCOS.
- Birth control: going off or starting birth control can produce changes in your menstrual cycle. Birth control contains the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. It might take up to six months for your period to become regular again after you stop or start taking birth control pills. Other kinds of hormonal contraceptives that are injected or implanted can also cause missed periods.
- Chronic diseases: certain chronic illnesses such as celiac disease and diabetes can also affect your period. Blood sugar changes can cause hormonal changes, and poorly controlled diabetes can cause irregular periods. Celiac disease causes inflammation in your small intestine and prevents your body from absorbing vital nutrients. This can also cause missed or late periods.
- Thyroid issues: an under- or overactive thyroid gland can also cause irregular periods. The thyroid gland regulates the metabolism of your body, so thyroid issues can also affect hormone levels. This can cause you to miss a period.
- Early perimenopause: in most women, menopause begins between the ages of 45 and 55. If symptoms of menopause start before the age of 40, it’s considered early perimenopause (the transitional stage that precedes menopause). Early perimenopause means that the supply of your eggs is declining. This can result in a missed period and eventually the end of menstruation.
No one exactly looks forward to getting it, but a late or missed period can sometimes stress you out more even more than when it arrives on time.
And for good reason. Not only is a late period a possible sign of pregnancy (gulp), but it signals something — whether it’s stress, illness, or a medication — is affecting the natural balance of estrogen and progesterone in your body.
“It’s a barometer of health,” explains Dr. Sherry A. Ross, an OB/GYN and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period. “When your periods are regular and monthly, that speaks volumes to healthcare providers. When you come in and say, ‘Yeah, my period comes once a month,’ we know on a very limited basis your body is in tune.”
Contact your healthcare provider if your delayed periods continue for more than 2-3 months. Better yet, use a calendar or a period tracker app on your phone so you can show them exactly what’s going on. But if you just noticed that your anticipated day came and went, here are a few of the factors that might be at play:
1. Birth Control
If you’re using a hormonal birth control method, a late, light, or nonexistent period is likely no cause for concern. “It’s an expected side effect,” Dr. Ross reassures. That’s actually one of the upsides — besides pregnancy prevention — of progestin IUDs like Mirena. You can also purposefully delay a period using the pill, but the Mayo Clinic advises consulting with your doctor first before postponing menstruation.
2. Other Medications
Likewise, any prescriptions that affect your hormones can disrupt the regularity of your periods. Some examples include:
- thyroid medication
Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about the side effects of any medication you’re taking.
3. Intense Exercise
If you’ve recently started training for a marathon or triathlon, kudos to you on setting a major goal. Just don’t underestimate the impact that such a strenuous activity can have on your body. The stress can lead to a hormonal imbalance and space your periods further apart. While a few weeks’ delay is possible, watch out for the “3-month marker” when it comes to exercise or other reasons besides medication for a missed period.
“A late period is different than no period,” says Dr. Ross. “Anything beyond 3 months can put you at more risk for osteoporosis, for example, and other medical problems. There is that balance that’s needed and expected, so it’s not okay to not have a period for 6 months unless you’re on the pill.”
Similarly, going through tough times — such a divorce or death of a loved one — takes a physical toll on our bodies, too. Such an abrupt and impactful change can disrupt your hormonal balance, creating delayed and irregular periods. Your doctor will likely conduct a few tests to rule out other causes, but as long as your body can get back on track in a reasonable amount of time (probably a few months), there’s no reason to feel even more stressed about your period in addition to what else you’ve got going on.
5. Extreme Weight Changes
“Specific foods don’t tend to affect your period but not eating a healthy diet or the right amount of calories for extended periods of time will make your late and less frequent,” says Dr. Ross.
That’s because losing a lot of weight can decrease estrogen production — to the point of making your periods lighter or nonexistent. On the flip side, an increase in body fat can also alter your estrogen levels, causing a late period.
6. International Travel
Jet lag from a big trip might lead to more than just tossing and turning at night. The change in melatonin production — a.k.a. the hormone that regulates sleepiness — can also delay a period, according to Dr. Ross.
The occasional glass of wine won’t affect your period, but excessive, heavy alcohol use can increase the levels of estrogen-disrupting hormones enough so to cause late and irregular periods. See a healthcare provider if you feel that you sometimes drink too much alcohol, your drinking is causing problems, or your family is concerned about your drinking, advises the Mayo Clinic.
8. Chronic Illness
A missed or late period can signal an underlying condition, which is why it’s important to touch base with an MD to determine what’s exactly going on. Some illnesses can make your period late or disappear altogether, such as:
- polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- thyroid and other hormonal disorders
- sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Yep, unless you’ve abstained from sex with a male partner, there’s a chance you might be pregnant. Dr. Ross says the first test she does for any patient with a missed period is a pregnancy test — even if they use birth control.
The pill works about 91% of the time when you factor in the potential for missing a day. Even IUDs have a 99% — not 100% — effectiveness rate. “I’ve seen it a couple times in my practice,” she says. “It always surprises me, but it happens.”
Caroline Picard Health Editor Caroline is the Health Editor at GoodHousekeeping.com covering nutrition, fitness, wellness, and other lifestyle news.
For more information on eating disorders and how to seek treatment, visit https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Another cause of irregular periods is a syndrome called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a condition which causes your body to produce more androgen (a male hormone) than a woman’s body needs. This hormonal imbalance may cause the development of cysts on the ovaries, which can make ovulation (and therefore your cycle) irregular, or stop entirely. Luckily, your doctor can prescribe medications, like birth control, to help balance hormones and improve cycle regularity.
To learn more about PCOS and its symptoms, check out . If you believe you may have PCOS, be sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor for a professional opinion.
5. Birth Control
Although birth control can help some women regulate their cycle, it may also cause irregularity — particularly when a birth control medication has been recently started, stopped, or changed. Instead of asking “why is my period late?” You may actually start getting your period multiple times a month if the birth control you’re on has too low of a dose of estrogen — and who wants that?
Hormonal birth controls (like pills, injections, and implants), work by pumping excess estrogen and progesterin (female hormones) into your body, which effectively halts your ability to ovulate/get pregnant. Unfortunately, irregular cycles may occur as a side effect of these excess hormones in your body, especially while your body is still getting used to a medication.
For most women, cycles will regulate on their own 3-6 months after starting a new birth control. However, If you’re on hormonal birth control and still experiencing irregular cycles after 6 months, or your irregular cycles are causing distress, you should visit your doctor to consider an alternative prevention and/or treatment plan.
6. Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases, such as diabetes and celiac disease, may also contribute to period irregularities.
Uncontrolled diabetes can cause irregular shifts in blood sugar levels, which has been linked to hormonal changes and irregular cycles.
Celiac disease, on the other hand, can cause you to not properly absorb the nutrients in the food you eat. Nutrient deficiency— whether it is caused by celiac disease or otherwise — can ultimately cause irregular cycles as well.
If you have a chronic disease— or suspect that you might have one — it’s important to see your doctor to obtain an accurate diagnosis, and to create a treatment plan moving forward.
7. Early Peri-Menopause
Around the ages 45-55, most women will begin to experience peri-menopause (the period leading up to menopause). During this time, women may experience symptoms of declining estrogen levels, such as irregular periods.
For some women however, peri-menopause may occur early, with symptoms occurring at age 40 or even earlier. If you believe early peri-menopause may be the cause of your irregular periods and you wondering “why is my period late,” be sure to see your doctor. Once a diagnosis is made, you may choose to take hormone therapy (prescribed by your doctor) to help manage your symptoms.
8. Thyroid Issues
Conditions that affect your thyroid (the gland that controls your metabolism), may also affect your period. Both an overactive, and underactive thyroid can cause menstrual irregularities. Typically, over-active thyroids are associated with infrequent, lighter periods, while an under-active thyroid more often causes frequent, heavy bleeding. However, these typical patterns are not absolute, and differ from person to person.
If you believe a thyroid condition may be causing your menstrual irregularities, be sure to see your doctor. Your doctor can run tests to see if your thyroid is working properly, and prescribe (or adjust) medication to regulate your thyroid, if necessary. Fortunately, most women’s periods will normalize once their thyroid levels are regulated through medication.
Determining your cause
As you can see, there’s a wide range of factors and conditions that may be behind your irregular cycle(s), which is why it’s so important to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. While asking yourself, “why is my period late?” can be scary, there are a slew of reasons your cycle could be abnormal, although it’s never a bad idea to rule out pregnancy by taking a test (and making sure to have safe sex).
While your doctor can help you to restore normal periods, you can help them by taking care to track, and report any changes/symptoms that you notice day-to-day. With proper attention, diagnosis, and treatment, you can ultimately improve hormonal functioning and get your periods back on track!
From holiday cocktails to hoppy beers, the world of alcohol can be fun and recreational. It’s a way to unwind, socialize, and relax. But when you’re a health-conscious woman, it can be tricky to deal with—especially true for situations specific to the female body. We’re looking at you, Aunt Flo.
Our cycle is something special, but it can also be confusing. After all, so much happens each month, from PMS to ovulation. And when regular lifestyle choices—like drinking a glass of wine or indulging in Moscow mules—set the tone for your health, it only makes sense to consider your cycle.
Dr. Kari Formsma, MD, an OB/GYN in Grand Rapids, Michigan, explains the impact of alcohol on your menstrual cycle and why it matters to begin with.
Q. How does my body change throughout my cycle?
As with many areas of health, your cycle is all about a hormonal dance. When your period begins, estrogen levels are low. “This marks the first half of your cycle, which is the start of your period to 14 days later,” explains Dr. Formsma. “Your body builds up estrogen, thinking it’s going to get pregnant.”
Ovulation occurs around day 14 for the average cycle. During this second half of the cycle, progesterone and estrogen rise. Your body prepares to receive a fertilized egg. “But assuming that you don’t get pregnant, your hormones drop again–and then you get your period.”
Q. How can drinking alcohol impact my cycle?
Menstrual irregularities usually have to do with the conditions that develop from drinking, not the drinking itself. In other words, such problems aren’t directly related to the alcohol use, but may be indirectly influenced. Dr. Formsma notes that this is especially likely when liver damage develops.
Think of it on a big picture scale, too. Alcohol can impact habits that can influence menstruation. For example, long-term drinking can result in poor diet and increased stress–two things that can mess with your period. Further testament to how interconnected our bodies truly are.
Q. So when is the worst time to drink alcohol during my cycle?
The answer depends on your lifestyle. “If you are sexually active and not taking birth control, it’s best to completely avoid drinking from the mid-point of your cycle,” explains Dr. Formsma. Since this is the point of ovulation, you’re most likely to get pregnant during this time.
But wait—does it matter this early? Dr. Formsma says yes. “Minor drinking is significant. It can still result in a disorder on the fetal alcohol spectrum,” she cautions. “Many women come to me and say, ‘I stopped drinking when I found out I was pregnant.’ But even if it’s just six weeks from the last menstrual cycle, it can still be bad news. It’s an important issue.”
Even if you aren’t sexually active, it’s still crucial to think about choosing water over wine. According to Dr. Formsma, having more than one drink per day around your period can intensify PMS symptoms. This may include headache, drowsiness, and fatigue. Alcohol may aggravate cramps and soreness for some women. But since we’re all different, listen to your body. If alcohol worsens your PMS, do yourself a favor and skip it.
Q. Are there any other potential effects of alcohol on my overall feminine health?
Beyond Aunt Flo, consuming more than seven drinks a week can significantly increase risk for breast cancer, says Dr. Formsma. A greater risk for liver damage, stomach cancer, dementia, and pancreatic problems also make the list. Clearly, keeping tabs on your alcohol intake is vital at all times.
Q. What can I do to be more mindful of how much and when I drink?
For starters, familiarizing yourself with the recommended intake for women is key. Dr. Formsma reminds us that women metabolize alcohol a lot differently than men. It’s good to know how much is “too much.”
“For men, two drinks a day is considered acceptable,” says Dr. Formsma. “But for women, that recommendation is only one. More than three drinks in a single setting is considered as heavy drinking.”
So, what equals a single drink? “This works out to one shot, five ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer. If you get a pint of beer at the bar, this is actually 1 ½ drinks.”
As for water? Continue drinking enough H2O as usual. Staying hydrated can keep your focus and concentration in line. It can also help when Aunt Flo has you feeling tired and groggy.
Photo Credit: Alexa Fernando
Does Alcohol Affect Your Period? This Is What The Research Says
Alcohol consumption, in news that will surprise nobody, tends to spike over holiday periods, and that has left some scientists questioning whether or not there may be a relationship between drinking and menstrual cycles in women, and how they may effect one another. Bustle spoke with the data scientists at Clue, the period-tracking app that uses user data to do research on reproductive health, to get the lowdown on precisely how alcohol can affect your period, and what you might want to do about it.
“In moderation, alcohol probably won’t affect your menstrual cycle,” Clue tells Bustle, “but there is a lot of conflicting research.” There are three main areas in which scientists have investigated links between menstrual cycles and alcohol: how much alcohol you drink, what happens to the cycle itself, and the consequences of alcohol on hormones.
If you think you may reach for the wine more when you’re premenstrual, or that it affects you differently at different parts of the month, you could be right. The luteal phase, which happens just before menstruation, seems to involve different reactions to alcohol compared to other stages of your cycle. “There is some evidence suggesting alcohol consumed in your luteal phase may have more of an effect on your mood than during the follicular phase,” Clue tells Bustle. “By both increasing feelings of depression and anxiety, while at the same time increasing feelings of enjoyment from the effects of alcohol.” This idea comes from research done in 2011, which also indicates that women with a family history of substance use disorder might feel these effects more. “Researchers suspect,” Clue adds, “that people who experience symptoms of premenstrual syndrome may tend to drink more alcohol premenstrually. However, other studies note no change at all.”
When it comes to the cycle itself and how alcohol affects it, the research doesn’t give a clear picture. “Some studies note relationships between alcohol consumption and cycle irregularities, but generally only when alcohol is consumed chronically at high doses,” Clue tells Bustle. If somebody has a substance use disorder, it’s probable that menstrual changes will ensue, from an absence of a period entirely to cycles that are all over the place and a lack of ovulation. Women with substance use disorders may have a hormonal disadvantage when it comes to beating their disorder, too, in the form of estrogen. “New preliminary research on mice suggests that when higher levels of estrogen are present, there is more activity in the reward centre of the brain, which may make alcohol feel more rewarding,” Clue tells Bustle. That could have big implications for treating substance use disorder in women in particular.
For women who drink alcohol in moderation, however, the evidence doesn’t suggest any serious effects of alcohol on your menstrual cycle. “When looking at moderate drinking, there may be no measurable change in menstrual cycle function,” Clue says. “In fact, in one study, people who abstained from alcohol had more cycle irregularities.” That study, which was held in 2014 in Denmark, involved over 82,000 women who became pregnant after being surveyed, and those who didn’t drink alcohol had more irregular periods — but the researchers noted that this “may reflect other health problems in these women rather than an actual effect of alcohol on the menstrual cycle,” so more research needs to be done to sus out the actual cause and effect.
When it comes to alcohol and hormonal levels, it’s possible to draw a few firm conclusions. “After drinking, multiple studies have measured increases in estrogen levels, and sometimes increases in testosterone and luteinzing hormone,” says Clue. Luteinizing hormone is responsible for stimulating ovary follicles and help you ovulate. And the influence of alcohol over the cycle is an interesting one. “One particularly rigorous study,” Clue tells Bustle, “examined how drinking affects hormone levels during different phases of the menstrual cycle. Multiple hormonal differences were measured, such as increases in androgen levels during the follicular phase, and increases in oestrogen levels around ovulation, which persisted throughout the second half of the cycle. This effect has been shown to be stronger after binge drinking.” But in case you’re worried, don’t be. “The hormonal effects of moderate drinking did not to lead to changes in menstrual cycle function,” Clue says. Having a few drinks may shift your hormone levels, but the cycle itself seems to proceed normally.
When it comes to fertility, the research is a mixed bag. “One reason for how alcohol could impact fertility is through increased levels of estrogen, which could inhibit follicular development and ovulation — but this is still only a theory,” Clue says. However, science hasn’t given a clear answer on whether this happens or not. While a study published in 2017 links low to moderate alcohol consumption and drinking with struggles to conceive, Clue tells Bustle that it’s a “weak association”, and that “other researchers have linked higher alcohol consumption to infertility, and some found no connection between alcohol and fertility at all.” And they also urge caution about reading too much into studies. “There is some evidence to suggest that drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol may be associated with delayed menopause, but more research is needed here too,” Clue says.
Overall, you don’t need to be too concerned about your menstrual cycle when it comes to alcohol consumption. However, we’re still not entirely sure what abusing alcohol may do to the body and menstrual functioning in the long run. People who feel they may be struggling with substance use issues can call the National Helpline of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for assistance.
Every woman knows that their bodies and minds behave differently when they’re menstruating.
However, one aspect that is seldom touched on is how our menstrual cycles affect our alcohol consumption – and it’s something we should all be aware of, claims one recovering alcoholic.
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Speaking to Refinery29, author Jenny Valentish explains how realising the way her body responded to alcohol was linked to her menstrual cycle helped her on her path to recovery.
The Slough-born writer shares her story in her book, Woman of Substances, which explains how she drank up until her early 40s and subsequently uncovered a series of harrowing truths about the way alcohol can affect women.
During her research for the book, she found that the bulk of research concerning alcoholism ws conducted exclusively on males and ignored possible effects that female hormones might have on women drinkers.
“Drinking and taking drugs during your menstrual cycle can have a bigger effect on you than you might have been aware,“ she said.
“The party mode, horny week is ovulation week, not period week. And you are more sensitised to the effects of drugs and alcohol.”
She explains this is why alcohol can affect women more potently at that time of the month and that recognising this is crucial for those who may be trying to cut down their intake.
Valentish’s research also revealed that female recovering alcoholics are more likely to relapse due to the sporadic ways in which our hormones can affect the way our bodies crave and absorb alcohol.
She believes that the paucity in research into how drinking affects women must be addressed if we’re ever to truly help those who might be battling addiction.
“Research tends to be a really patriarchal field, and the people at the top are usually men. They see drinking as a male issue, but it’s not at all,“ she added.
Her book also references the gendered marketing of alcopops, which she claims are targeted towards teenage girls who will get drunker faster than their male peers due to certain enzymes in their stomachs enabling them to absorb alcohol quicker.
According to Drinkaware.co.uk, a woman’s blood alcohol level will almost always be higher than a man’s even if they drink the same amount.
This is because women are typically smaller in build and have a higher proportion of body fat than men, meaning the alcohol is more concentrated in their bodies as there is less body water to hold it.
Woman of Substances is available in the UK now.
Does Drinking Affect Your Period? Experts Have The Answers You’re Looking For
Listen, if you get periods, you don’t need me to tell you how not-fun they can be to deal with. But there are certain things you might be putting in your body during that time of the month that will actually only make your symptoms even worse.
And, unfortunately, one of those things is alcohol. Yep, drinking affects your period, and for some people, it can actually cause your menstrual cycle to spiral a bit out of control. Elite Daily spoke with a couple of experts on the matter, who can give you a basic rundown on what a little liquid courage is really doing to your hormones.
Of course, while there’s a general list of ways alcohol can impact people during menstruation, the effects still vary from person to person.
Nutritionist Stephanie Dunne tells Elite Daily,
I have clients who are very clear about how their hormones affect them, and it is different. Some will tell me that one glass of wine the week before their period leaves them tipsy, while others will say that’s the one time of the month they can have a couple of glasses and not feel the effects.
She went on to say that, though each person’s experience varies, she still recommends that individuals stick to the recommended alcohol intake limit. According to the USDA, women are recommended to have up to one drink per day, while men are recommended to have up to two drinks per day.
Here are a few other ways drinking alcohol can affect your period.
1. It Can Make Your Period Irregular
Which, of course, is totally annoying. This can happen because alcohol may temporarily increase your estrogen and testosterone levels, which can alter when you menstruate, thus causing missed or unexpected periods.
2. It Can Make The Pain Last Longer
I wouldn’t wish prolonged cramps on even my worst enemy, so I probably wouldn’t drink a lot during a night out if I knew it would cause me to wake up with extra-sh*tty cramps the next day.
Elite Daily spoke with sexologist Dr. Marie Stubbs, who says these terrible cramps after drinking alcohol are due to dehydration:
Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration, which can leave people more susceptible to cramps. Of course, many people suffer from menstrual cramps, so the consumption of alcohol can intensify this symptom.
3. It Makes PMS A Living Hell
Other than the awful cramps, other symptoms that might get worse after a night of drinking include breast tenderness, headaches, and mood fluctuations, according to alcohol education website Vinepair.
4. It Lowers Magnesium Levels
Magnesium levels normally fluctuate during a menstrual cycle, but alcohol only worsens the fluctuations, causing a depletion of the mineral. The lower the magnesium, the lower the blood sugar, which can lead to dizziness and sugar cravings, meaning overall, you’re not going to feel great.
5. Your Emotions Can Get Pretty Heavy
This is because alcohol can increase estrogen levels, making you more emotional about things that might otherwise not be as big of a deal.
So, do your body a favor, and lay off the liquid courage, at least during that time of the month. Your body just might thank you for it.
How Sobriety Regulated My Cycle
- June 20th, 2018
- by Jo Murphy
I was never a blackout drunk. I was simply drunk more often than not. Alcohol had become an emotional crutch as my life careened in a direction I didn’t like. I’m a woman who likes to be in control, you see, so when it seemed that things hadn’t turned out as planned, I struggled to go with the flow. Cue the drinking.
My daily intake of wine fast became my reason not to excel, or course correct, or work with the opportunities life was throwing at me. Until I put down the glass.
Does Alcohol Affect Your Periods?
I knew that my drinking had entered the gray area, yet I’d never really considered how alcohol changes the menstrual cycle. After years of living with irregular periods, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), my cycle had finally fallen into a respectable rhythm, fluctuating by a week at most.
This was fine by me until I discovered that heavy alcohol consumption could bring on early menopause. So I delved deeper, looking for further statistics to support my decision to dry out. I knew that alcohol was detrimental to my mental and emotional health—it had become a barrier between where I was and where I wanted to be—and soon I understood it as a feminist issue, too.
I therefore took sobriety as an invitation to step into myself (and my body) in a way I’d never done before. And it’s working. Just four months in and I’m flowing more, controlling less. Plus I’m closing in on 28 days with every period.
Can Alcohol Cause Hormonal Imbalance?
Research into the impact of alcohol on our periods seems to be inconclusive. It all depends on how much you drink, how often, and your general reproductive health. One idea that comes up time and again, however, is how alcohol interrupts the hormones needed to coordinate the menstrual cycle.
Excessive consumption can impact levels of estrogen, testosterone and luteinizing hormone. Alcohol also contains histamine, which stimulates the production of estrogen, too much of which messes with ovulation.
Ideally you need a healthy liver to break down these excess hormones, but if your liver is under duress after a drinking session, you may have a problem. As it tackles toxins, inflammation can arise in the body—something I know all too well. I’ve lived with sebhorreic dermatitis and arthritis (both are inflammatory disorders) for years. In my drinking days, they would flare up for nearly two weeks prior to my period. All I get now is a few arthritic twinges just a few days before I bleed. My skin, however, looks better than ever.
Plus, if your liver is stressed, your whole body is stressed. It takes time to recover from intoxication, and the process can cause a spike in cortisol. This sends a signal to the brain to stop producing estrogen and progesterone, since menstruation is deemed unnecessary when the body is in “fight or flight” mode.
Alcohol Leaves a Bitter Taste
Booze calms us down, but since it’s a depressant, it can drag us down further than we’d like. My hangovers became a shadow that followed me around, messing with my head as well as my hormones. Naturally, another drink took the edge off. So the source of my stress became the same thing I used to alleviate it.
Stress messes with the menstrual cycle, but it doesn’t have to be textbook tearing-your-hair-out stuff. We can experience it in much subtler ways. Even mild anxiety caused by a hangover can send us in search of the next sugar high.
We may get the buzz from the first glass, but the spike in glucose is short-lived. It’s quickly followed by an increase in insulin, as the body tries to level you out. Over time, high insulin levels can cause the ovaries to produce more testosterone, which could lead to insulin resistance, and (worst case) PCOS.
Should You Stop Drinking Too?
All of this depends on how much you drink, which depends on your mood, which depends on where you are in your cycle. No study, no matter how in-depth, can dissect a woman’s mind-body relationship. While we have a mental and emotional response to our menstrual cycle, our bodies also react to our state of mind. And whatever happens in between—drinking, for example—will interfere.
This, in turn, changes the ways we move, eat, sleep, and bleed. Everything we do, however, should be a choice, and that includes drinking. I know the decision to stop was one of the best I’ve made, but sometimes it can feel like the worst when we live in such a drink-pushy society. Then I remember that being subversive is the most powerful thing a woman can do, so I order a club soda and raise a toast to my ovaries.
Featured image by Monica Silva
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Medication That May Affect Your Menstrual Cycle
Steroid medications such as prednisolone can affect periods and make them irregular, prolonged and sometimes heavier. This is usually after long-term use of steroids.
Other forms of Contraceptives:
Contraceptives other than the oral pill can also affect the menstrual cycle. The non-hormonal intrauterine devices (IUD, Copper-T) can lead to bleeding between periods. Whereas hormonal IUDs (Mirena or Jaydess) secrete a small amount of progesterone within the uterine cavity and will often lead to lighter and less painful periods. Sometimes the periods are completely blocked. Irregular bleeding in the first few months is also a common side effect. The injection pill, implant and minipill all contain progesterone and often lead to absence of periods. Irregular unpredictable bleeding is a known side-effect.
Although different kinds of medication have been found to affect the menstrual cycle, if you are experiencing any symptoms or abnormalities which you are worried about, don’t hesitate to contact your GP or gynaecologist, or give us a call on 0207 10 11 700.
Are you using or thinking of using prednisone and you are worried about the side effects? If so, this article will give you some information about prednisone and how it can affect the menstrual cycle.
Prednisone is a drug, a steroid or corticosteroid to be exact. It is used to treat various diseases under the guidance of doctors or other medical experts. You might get it as a treatment for inflammatory diseases and certain types of cancers.
It has great use in rheumatologic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, but it also has been used for simple inflammatory issues such as acne.
Prednisone is well-known as an effective immunosuppressant drug because it is made to carry out the primary function of suppressing the immune system.
Since it will suppress your immune system, if taken, then you may be at risk of contracting various diseases and infections.
Long term use of prednisone can lead to an increased risk of certain viruses such as the cold and flu virus.
Short bursts of prednisone are less immune-suppressing, but do still come with a bit of a warning. Any time you take this drug, you should make sure you follow strict hygiene rules and wash your hands frequently to prevent the spread of infections.
This is the reason why users should avoid overdose and ill-advised use. It is also not recommended to be on long term steroids unless instructed by your doctor. There are many side effects associated with the drug that are cumulative if you take the drug long term.
Prednisone comes in tablet, liquid, as well as a concentrated solution that you can take by mouth. It is normally taken with food daily, one to four times or one time every other day.
A doctor might suggest that you take your dosages at certain time during day. Bear in mind that your personal dosage schedule will be given according to your condition and the way how you are responding to the treatment.
Since prednisone is a hormone, it is important that you take it exactly according to your prescription. Do not miss doses or miss times, this can upset the balance of the steroid in your bloodstream and lead to more side effects.
You should follow the instructions on the prescription carefully and get your pharmacist or doctor to explain any information that is not clear.
Effects of Prednisone and Menstrual Cycle
There are reports that prednisone can interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle. Many women experience irregular periods after using the drug for a prolonged time period.
In addition to that, some women complain of upset stomach, heavy bleeding, abdominal cramps, and more whilst using this drug.
Since prednisone is a hormone, it can affect the levels of other hormones in your body.
Prolonged use of prednisone due to a chronic medical condition is often necessary to keep inflammation at bay in your body. But, it can also affect the levels of various other hormones in your body, which may lead to disturbances with your menstrual cycle.
If you are using this drug, it can also intervene with the hormone changes inside your body. It is also known for causing different hormonal imbalances which lead to different emotional problems.
As an example, most women experience extreme mood swings, severe depression, increased anxiety, and other related symptoms with their moods.
These hormone changes may also lead to menstrual irregularities, increased hunger during or before your period, or even more symptoms of PMS. If the symptoms become too difficult to handle, then call your doctor.
Ensure that you call your medical doctor if you are experience these or any other unusual symptoms when taking any dosage of prednisone for any time period.
Your doctor might change the dosage to make sure that you are taking the lowest amount that will work for you. In addition to that, your doctor might have to change your dosage if you are experiencing unusual bodily stress such as infection, illness, surgery, or a serious asthma attack.
For this reason, any odd symptoms after taking prednisone should be reported to your doctor to ensure that they are normal side effects and nothing to worry about.
You should not hesitate to tell the doctor if the symptoms improve or worsens or you are seeing changes in your general health during the treatment.
This is true for any type of treatment that you are ever prescribed. A good line of communication between you and your doctor should be established in order to keep you as healthy as possible.
Call your doctor or email them through an online charting system if you ever have any questions or concerns about any of your treatments or medications.
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4 Things That Can Throw Your Period Out of Whack
You know that taking hormonal birth control or, you know, getting pregnant will affect your period. But other less obvious factors can also influence your cycle.
Usually, when you notice a change in your period, there’s nothing to worry about, says Dr. Scott Sullivan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medial University of South Carolina.
“The first thing I tell people who come in worried about a change is that, most of the time, everything is fine,” he says. “Oftentimes, if you just wait three to six months, whatever changes are seen will straighten out.”
If you’ve noticed a recent change, one of the common culprits below could be to blame. But remember, the best way to figure out what’s behind any unusual symptoms is to visit an OB-GYN for an exam.
While overdoing it with spicy food for a couple of nights in a row won’t impact your cycle, sustained diet overhauls can affect your period. “In general, if your nutrition is poor and you’re not getting enough calories, periods tend to go away for a while,” says Sullivan. “If you’re gaining weight, it’s really unpredictable. With certain people, they become heavy and frequent. With some people, they become really irregular. So on that end, it’s a little more unpredictable.”
In most cases, starting a new exercise routine shouldn’t really affect your period. But an extreme new regimen—say, training for a marathon or triathlon or even doing intense interval training regularly—can cause you to menstruate less frequently or not at all.
“That can really shut a period down because of the intensity of the workout or the weight loss associated with it—or just the hormone changes from intense exercise,” says Sullivan. “It sends a signal to the brain and ovaries to take a temporary pause. That’s not dangerous, it’s not unexpected. The biggest problem with that is you can have low estrogen in those settings and you can lose bone mass over time, but that’s often offset by the exercise.”
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If you’ve been following an extreme exercise routine and go more than a year without having your period, Sullivan says it’s important to check in with your doctor to avoid any long-term side effects.
This can impact your period more quickly than other lifestyle changes.
“If your brain is stressed, it’s putting out stress hormones,” says Sullivan. “You may not be sleeping, and your heart rate is likely up. That can really affect your period. It usually throws off the timing.” In other words, your cycle may suddenly become shorter or longer than what you’re typically used to.
Read more: Offering Women Period Leave is a Double-Edged Sword
While anxiety can be difficult to “cure,” Sullivan says that, when your stress levels return to normal, your period should, too.
4. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake
“These tend to make periods more irregular and change the timing for people,” says Sullivan, who notes that the most important thing is to know your baseline. That way, if anything changes, you’ll notice and be able to check in with your doctor about it.
“Learn your own body’s rhythms and what’s normal for you,” he says. “There’s a wide range of what’s normal.”
Write to Robin Hilmantel at [email protected]
Going on an extremely restricted diet can cause a missed period on the pill. Restricting your caloric intake too much can cause hormonal imbalance, since your body won’t be getting the nutrients it needs to produce hormones properly. Women who suffer from eating disorders are especially prone to this, but going on a crash diet can also affect your cycle
Did you know that sexual hormones come from cholesterol? Yes! So, it makes sense that having an abnormally low body fat percentage can wreak havoc on your hormones. Women who are either overweight or underweight can experience a myriad of hormonal issues. And if you lose a significant amount of weight quickly, your body may not be receiving enough calories to have a period.
Even for women who are not on birth control, excessive exercise can cause a missed period. This is because exercise can disrupt your hormonal levels and your menstrual cycle. High-performance athletes tend to suffer from amenorrhea and miss periods continuously, but even recreational athletes can experience this disruption.
Is it safe to skip periods with birth control?
Doctors and patients have been using birth control to stop periods for a long time. Some women choose to do it only for special occasions – maybe you expect your period right on your wedding date or honeymoon and would like to avoid it. Other women, however, use birth control to stop periods if they suffer from conditions such as endometriosis or period-related anemia.
If you’re interested in stopping periods with birth control, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about it. Fortunately, scientific research has found that using birth control to skip your period is as safe as taking your pills normally.
No period after stopping birth control – what is it about?
If you’ve decided to stop taking the pill, it can take a while for your cycle to return to normal. This varies from woman to woman. Some women go back to their regular menstrual cycle in a matter of days, while others need several months to have regular periods.
Allow your body up to 3 months to go back to normal after stopping your birth control. If your cycles remain irregular after this period, go to your doctor to find out the reason for your irregular cycles.
How to keep track of your menstrual cycle?
You can use a menstrual tracker like Flo to keep track of your cycle. Menstrual calendar apps allow you to log your symptoms and determine when you should expect your period. This can also take some weight off your mind, since you won’t have to remember when your period should come – the app will do it for you!
Overall, you’re more than likely safe from pregnancy as long as you’ve been taking your birth control correctly. A missed period on birth control can be caused by many different factors. Take a pregnancy test and if it is negative – try to ease your mind, do some relaxing activities, and stay healthy to help your cycle get back to normal!