Can Stress and Exercise Cause Menstrual Bleeding?

Menstrual bleeding is a sign that the egg released during ovulation is not fertilized by any sperm. But when it comes earlier than usual or between your periods, this may make you worry that there may be something that is going wrong. Your hormones play a key role in your menstrual period. However it also can be affected by lifestyle factors, such as high stress and too much exercise.

Stress and menstrual bleeding

Stress is an emotional problem. However many times, it also can cause some physical symptoms. Overall, it’s very important to cope with your stress. It may be inevitable condition, but it can be managed.

Uncontrolled stress is linked with many health problems such as heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, and many more. And it also can worsen the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Will high stress cause a menstrual bleeding?

Women can have irregular periods with a wide range of different causes. And having menstrual bleeding earlier than usual or between periods is not common.

Typically, the length of normal menstrual cycles is about 21 to 35 days [1]. The use of birth control pills can affect the regular cycles, particularly in the first months after taking the pills.

If it’s the first time you take birth control pills or you are switching a new birth control, you can experience bleeding between periods or the bleeding occurs earlier than usual.

If you don’t take birth control pills, re-check the level of your stress before the bleeding occurs. While stress can cause a late period without pregnancy, it also can have contribution to cause your menstruation comes earlier.

Almost things that affect the balance of your hormone will probably do the same effect on your menstrual cycles, and stress (particularly uncontrolled and high stress) can cause the hormonal imbalance.

So, stress can have contribution to shorten or lengthen women’s menstrual periods [2].

It also can make your PMS (premenstrual syndrome) get worse [3]. Premenstrual syndrome is a group of signs (both psychological and physical symptoms) associated with ovulation (the time of when you release your eggs).

The symptoms of premenstrual syndrome include abdominal bloating, abdominal cramps, abdominal pain, headache, breast tenderness /swelling, acne flare-ups, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, mood swings, and even diarrhea or constipation.

If your stress do play key role in affecting your menstrual cycles, here are helpful tips you can follow to control your stress.

image_illustration90Overall, having menstrual bleeding between your periods also should be concerned in term whether or not it is normal. While many times it is closely associated with lifestyle factors, sometime it may also point to mild or serious health problems such as [4]:

  1. Uterine fibroids (benign tumor that grow in the uterus).
  2. Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid).
  3. Decreasing estrogen, it is common in the menopause transition.
  4. Inflammation or infection that affects cervix.
  5. Or even abnormal growth (cancerous growth) in certain organs of female reproductive system.

In addition, sometime the use of certain medicines (particularly such as anticoagulants, a kind of blood thinner), pregnancy complications (such as early miscarriage, a miscarriage that occur even when you haven’t realized that you are being pregnant), and the use of IUD (a kind of birth control) can cause bleeding between periods.

Some women can experience bleeding between periods at some points in lives. It may occur due to lifestyle factors such as stress. But if it is followed with unusual symptoms and comes with unknown reason, it’s much better to see a physician /doctor for more advice!

Other effects of stress on female body

In women, change in menstrual cycle is not the single complication from uncontrolled stress. This emotional problem can generate lots of problems on female body.

For instances, it can affect your chance of getting pregnant. It can lead to difficulty sleeping such as insomnia. It can increase your chance of having depression, unusual hair loss, or gaining more excessive weight – and many more.

Visit this section for other bad effects of stress in women!

Exercise and menstrual bleeding between periods

Exercise is another lifestyle factors that can affect your menstrual cycle. We all agree that getting plenty of physical activity is important to keep you fit and improve your overall health.

However, there are some issues you need to know in order to make sure that your exercise will be useful to improve your overall health effectively, including for your periods.

When exercise is bad for your period?

When you are exercising higher than what your body needs, this can be counterproductive for your health. In fact, irregular periods are pretty common in professional athletes that often do strenuous exercise.

 You need to know that exercise can take a ton of energy. If you do exercise excessively, your body could active the alert /rescue mode, particularly true when you are also underweight [5].

This rescue mode can push your body to eliminate unnecessary functions to save more energy in order to support you to keep survive.

And your menstruation is not the basic functions of your body, without it you can still survive. Therefore, it can be temporarily paused. As a result, your period is affected.

Can excessive exercise cause menstrual bleeding?

Theoretically, when exercise do affect a woman’s menstrual period, it is more likely to lengthen the length of the menstrual cycle which then eventually can lead to irregular periods or even amenorrhea (the absence of menstrual cycles) [6].

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