Womanhood is tough. As if we don't have enough things to worry about, we have our not-so-friendly monthly reminder from Mother Nature that we are at our body's mercy most of the time. Period problems can range from minor problems to major lifestyle changing complications. The more we can do to fix those period problems, the happier and healthier we will be. Here are eleven things that can mess with your period, so you can try and outsmart Mother Nature from time to time.
Rigorous exercise: Frequent rigorous exercise combined with low body fat can place stress on your body. Your stressed body will then tell your brain to stop producing reproductive hormones. A few days early or late is nothing to worry about, but if you miss your period for over three months, then it's time to talk to your doctor. (via Health)
Your weight: Being both underweight and overweight can screw up your period. Being overweight means you have excess fat cells, which means you have high levels of estrogen. Too high levels of estrogen ultimately stops your ovaries from releasing an egg, but the endometrial lining continues to thicken, resulting in heavy, infrequent, longer-lasting periods. Longer period isn't your only period problem, however; it can increase your risk for endometrial cancer. Your best option is to try and lose weight, but if you can't drop those pounds, birth control can help too. (via Health)
Being underweight has the complete opposite effect on your body, meaning that it isn't producing enough estrogen. That's problematic because the body needs adequate levels of estrogen to build a uterine lining and have a period. This usually occurs when you lose a lot of weight, as opposed to naturally being underweight for most of your life. (via Health)
Prescription drugs: Particularly, prescription drugs that involve hormones. Hormones are all connected in your bloodstream, and a drug can easily mistake its target hormone. For example, a drug used for treating a thyroid problem could affect a fertility hormone instead of the thyroid hormone. You should see your doctor if your period is consistently over a week early or late. (via Health)
Stress: This comes as no surprise. Stress can have multiple negative effects on your body, one of them being that you are less likely to conceive when you're stressed out. Your body and brain shut down and stop producing the necessary hormones for ovulation and menstruation. Try working out, doing yoga or meditating to reduce stress. (via Health)
>> Read more: Stress and Your Libido
Birth control: Birth control has a direct effect on your hormones, so it's no surprise that it can have an effect on your period. Most women take the pill in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it can take up to three months for your body to get used to it. Spotting can occur in between periods. Don't be alarmed; just give your body a few months to adjust. If it continues after three months, see your gynecologist. (via Health)
Your age: Hormone levels shift as you age; your cycle will get shorter before it gets longer, and eventually the number of eggs in your ovaries will decline, making your periods become infrequent. Unfortunately, that means that your periods will become more frequent before menopause. (via Health)
Poor sleep: Bad sleeping patterns can lead to period problems, especially in women involved in shift work. Women who work irregular hours experience irregular periods, because it affects your reproductive hormones which influence your ovulation and menstruation. (via Health)
Jet lag: Women who travel frequently for their job may experience irregular periods. This is because the body releases melatonin as if you're still at home in your normal time zone, which messes with your reproductive hormones. (via Health)
Drinking: Even light drinking might screw up your period! While drinking, your body could produce increased levels of estrogen and testosterone, which disrupts the normal hormone fluctuation necessary for ovulation. (via Shape)
>> Read more: Is Alcohol Ruining Your Fitness?
Infections: Bacterial infection, pelvic inflammatory disease and STIs can all mess with your period, causing the inside of your uterus to become infected and bleed. You'll still get your regular period, but you'll also experience bleeding and cramping in between cycles. Talk to your doctor if you're experiencing those symptoms. (via Shape)
Smoking: Smokers get worse PMS symptoms than non-smokers, because the risk of developing PMS increases the more you smoke, and also the younger you were when you started smoking. Smoking affects your levels of estrogen, testosterone, progesterone and other hormones involved in PMS. Not only do smokers experience bad PMS, but they also experience shorter, irregular cycles. (via Shape)
>> Read more: How to Solve Your Period Problems