New Study Shows That Stress During the Covid-19 Pandemic Has Affected Women's Menstrual Cycles

New Study Shows That Stress During the Covid-19 Pandemic Has Affected Women’s Menstrual Cycles

A new study has shown that the stress of the Covid-19 pandemic has affected woman’s period cycles.

Researchers collected data from 354 women between 18 and 45 who were evaluated for a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Between March 2020 and May 2021, participants provided information on their stress levels and any changes to their cycles related to the pandemic.

Researchers found that the participant’s menstrual periods were altered, including cycle length, duration, flow, and spotting.  More than half of women reported changes in at least one area, and 12% reported changes in all four categories.

Several participants in the study were not on birth control before the pandemic, nor were they menopausal or postmenopausal.  Stress can affect the way estrogen and progesterone are produced.

“In the United States, women have shouldered more childcare duties during the pandemic and find COVID-19–induced changes to daily activities, along with the potential risk of COVID-19 illness, significantly more stressful than men,” the study said.

According to the study’s author and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Martina Anto-Ocrah, irregular cycles can affect fertility and mental health.

“Women are constantly being told, ‘This is in your head,’ ” Anto-Ocrah said.  “Until we get some data to show that what is in women’s heads is actually the truth, the medical society kind of turns us away and doesn’t believe it.”

The study also found that younger women and those with a lengthier history of mental illnesses reported higher stress levels.

According to Linda Fan, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale School of Medicine, women who are having irregular periods should chart their cycles and consult their doctors.

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