Finding the Missing Link: Can Stress Cause Heavy Periods

Rishabh Mehta
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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can stress cause heavy periods

Heavy periods, medically known as Menorrhagia, are a prevalent concern affecting individuals worldwide. 

While various factors contribute to this condition, recent research has shed light on stress as a significant contributor to heavy menstrual flow. 

Understanding the intricate relationship between stress and menstrual health has become increasingly vital to prevent future complications. 

Let us explore how can stress cause heavy periods and understand the treatment options available.

What are heavy periods

Menstruation is a common physiological process among women of the reproductive age group. 

About 15-80 ml of blood loss per menstrual cycle is considered normal periods, and above 80 ml is considered heavy periods.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Fibroids, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Endometriosis, stress, and depression can cause heavy periods (Menorrhagia).

How does stress cause heavy periods

Abnormal menstrual patterns are exhibited by people influenced by psychosocial stress, improper sleep, and sociodemographic status.

A study found that self-perceived job stress was a cause of longer bleeding periods in menstrual cycles among working women.

Not only stress but any kind of psychological disturbance like depression is sufficient to cause Menorrhagia in women.

Other stress-related menstrual irregularities include Premenstrual Symptoms and Dysmenorrhoea.

To comprehend how can stress cause heavy periods, it is important to know the role of Estrogen and Progesterone in menstruation.

The endometrium tissue in the uterus undergoes rapid changes over the cycle of menstruation, which causes menstrual bleeding.

The normal cycle of endometrium tissue can be disrupted by the sudden lowering of Estrogen (Hyperestrogenism) or excessive Progesterone in the blood.

Gonadotropins are needed to have a proper balance of Estrogen and Progesterone, and their disruption causes the uterine lining (endometrium) to thicken, resulting in heavier bleeding.

Stress suppresses the release of Gonadotropins and Gonad Steroid Hormones, which can lead to menstrual irregularities.

Fact:
Gonadotropins are the hormones that regulate the secretion of Estrogen and Progesterone.
These include the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing hormone (LH), and Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormones.

How to manage stress causing heavy periods

woman sleepingSource: PATCHARIN_SAENLAKON_from_Getty_Images
Get plenty of sleep

There are many lifestyle tips to try if you are attempting to reduce your stress levels.

Not only can these steps benefit your overall health, but they can also help you stop experiencing heavy menstruation.

  • Maintaining a simple routine to track your activities
  • Getting plenty of sleep and limiting the use of electronics before going to bed
  • Keeping in touch with others and being social
  • Engaging in light exercises daily

Additionally, you can do the following things to manage your heavy bleeding.

Taking Iron and Vitamin C supplements

A person suffering from heavy periods loses a lot of blood and minerals like iron. 

Iron is an important constituent of a protein in the blood called Hemoglobin, which is needed to transport oxygen in blood.

Consuming green leafy vegetables, legumes, and iron supplements helps replenish the lost iron due to heavy bleeding.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) facilitates iron absorption and can be taken with iron supplements by eating citrus fruits like oranges and grapes.

Herbal remedies

Ginger teaSource: Murika_from_Getty_Images
Ginger tea

Evidence shows that certain herbal remedies also help to overcome heavy menstrual bleeding.

Ginger, pomegranate flower capsules, and myrtle fruit syrup effectively treat heavy menstrual bleeding.

However, these are natural remedies and should never replace the prescribed medications. 

Medications

There are many options for heavy periods, including medications and hormonal therapy.

Hormonal tablets like Progesterone prevent the uterine walls from thickening, thus reducing the chances of excessive bleeding.

Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) like Diclofenac can also lower blood loss.

Tranexamic Acid is another medication that prevents heavy bleeding by clotting the blood.

It is important to consult your healthcare professional before taking any medications.

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  • Takeaway

    “Can stress cause heavy periods ?” is a question that highlights the lack of insights about the problem among most people.

    Heavy periods (more than 80 ml of blood) can be caused by stress, insufficient sleep, and anxiety.

    Stress suppresses the release of Gonadotropins, which affects the Estrogen and Progesterone balance and ultimately causes heavy bleeding.

    Stress management through several activities like adequate sleep and light exercises helps to prevent heavy bleeding during periods.

    Moreover, iron and Vitamin C supplements help the body to recover from heavy menstrual bleeding.

    Natural remedies like ginger capsules, pomegranate flower capsules, and myrtle fruit syrup have been proven under research to reduce the effects of heavy periods.

    Prescription medicines like Progesterone tablets and NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Tranexamic Acid are available but are not without side effects.

    It is always advised to seek professional help when experiencing heavy periods before taking medications.

    Warning:
    Never take NSAIDs like Diclofenac for the long term without a doctor’s prescription.
    They can have serious side effects like stomach ulcers, headaches, dizziness, and indigestion when used regularly.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Does stress make your period flow heavier?

    Yes, stress has been proven to cause heavy period flows. Stress acts to reduce the production of Gonadotropins, which disrupts the delicate balance between Progesterone and Estrogen and increases the thickness of the uterine linings, causing heavy periods.

    How can I reduce my stress period?

    You can regulate your stress levels by making a simple routine about your daily activities, getting adequate sleep, engaging in moderate exercise, and being socially active. These help to put your mind at ease and distract you from the factors that induce stress.

    Can lack of sleep affect the period?

    Short sleep duration (less than 6 hours), poor sleep quality, and depression have been proven to cause excessive menstrual bleeding and other irregularities in women. You should always get an adequate amount of quality sleep and reduce the use of electronic devices before bed to avoid heavy periods.

    What are the treatment options available for heavy periods?

    Treatment options include hormonal tablets like Progesterone, NSAIDs like Ibuprofen and Diclofenac, and Tranexamic Acid. Most medications have side effects and must be taken under medical supervision. You can also try natural remedies like ginger and pomegranate fruit capsules, iron, and Vitamin C supplements for better results if your doctor recommends.

    Citations:
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