- The US study to evaluate the impact of stress on peoples' periods
- 54% of the respondents experienced changes in their menstrual cycle
- Higher levels of stress can cause heavier menstrual bleeding: Study
Washington: A new Northwestern Medicine study has found that women and people who menstruate experienced irregularities in their menstrual cycle because of increased stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings of the study were published in the ‘Journal of Women’s Health’. This is the first US study to evaluate the impact of stress on peoples’ periods. The study surveyed more than 200 women and people who menstruate in the United States between July and August 2020 in order to better understand how stress during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced their menstrual cycles.
More than half (54 per cent) of the individuals in the study experienced changes in their menstrual cycle following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Individuals who experienced higher levels of stress during the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to experience heavier menstrual bleeding and a longer duration of their period, compared to individuals with moderate stress levels, the study found. The study provides a better understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted women’s mental and reproductive health, the study authors said.
“We know added stress can negatively impact our overall health and well-being, but for women and people who menstruate, stress can also disrupt normal menstrual cycle patterns and overall reproductive health,” said lead and corresponding author Nicole Woitowich, research assistant professor of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Prior research has found that menstrual cycle irregularities are often reported by women who experience mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, or by those who are facing acute life stressors such as natural disasters, displacement, famine or defection.
Given the unprecedented nature of the pandemic and its significant impact on mental health, this data is unsurprising and confirms many anecdotal reports in the popular press and on social media, Nicole Woitowich said.
Since the onset of the pandemic, social media has been one of the major platforms where women and people who menstruate could share questions or concerns about their menstrual cycles. Only recently have these concerns been addressed by the biomedical research community.
Reproductive health should not be ignored in the context of COVID-19, Nicole Woitowich said.
“We are already seeing the ripple effects of what happens when we fail to consider this important facet of women’s health as many are now experiencing menstrual cycle irregularities as a result of the COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 infection,” Nicole Woitowich concluded.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.