Can Stress Make Your Period Late?
Are you wondering why your period isn’t on time? Wondering if stress can make your period late? Here’s why it happens and what you can do about it.
Stress isn’t the Enemy
It’s hard not to look around and take on the extra stress, but see what you can do to navigate the stress you feel. Emily Nagoski, co-author of Burnout, shares, “The good news is that stress is not the problem. The problem is that the strategies that deal with stressors have almost no relationship to the strategies that deal with the physiological reactions our bodies have to those stressors. To be “well” is not to live in a state of perpetual safety and calm but to move fluidly from a state of adversity, risk, adventure, or excitement, back to safety and calm, and out again. Stress is not bad for you; being stuck is bad for you.”
Stress is a part of life, but if you don’t process your stress, it can build up and cause physical symptoms in your life and delay your period.
How Stress Impacts Your Period
Healthline writes, “When your stress level peaks, your brain tells your endocrine system to flood your body with hormones that switch on your fight-or-flight mode. These hormones suppress functions, including those of your reproductive system, that are not essential to escaping an imminent threat.
If you’re under a lot of stress, your body can stay in fight-or-flight mode, which can make you temporarily stop ovulating. This lack of ovulation, in turn, can delay your period.”
Delegate, Decide, or Delay
Sometimes stress piles up because it feels like everything all at once. Can you delegate something on your plate to someone else? This could look like hiring help, assigning kids chores, or asking a co-worker to help on a project.
Deciding can look like choosing not to make a choice right now, so it’s not constantly hovering in the back of your mind. Maybe you’ll come back to the choice (whether or not to have kids, move, or take a different job) in a few months or a year, but this way, it’s not one more thing pressing on you.
You can delay things adding to your stress by being honest about what needs to happen right now. Look at your calendar coming up for the next few months. You might feel overwhelmed, but if you scale into the current week, we can recognize what’s possible and what we can do right now.
How to Navigate Constant Stress
There is also systemic oppression, wars, and toxic situations happening all around us. If you cannot remove yourself from a problem or fix it, finding allies, an activist group, or a friend to confide in can help you not feel alone. Sometimes solidarity can be a balm to the soul and help you get through the day knowing it’s not your fault.
If you are consistently late in your period: for example, if you are usually every 24 days, and the past few months it’s been 28-32 days, recognize that your body may have changed its rhythm. This can happen due to age and hormones, among other things. If you are nervous about a late period, consistently talk to your doctor. A six-day flex window is normal, depending on stress and other factors, but to be sure, you can pick up a pregnancy test at a store if you want to know.
Other factors that can make your period late.
We’ll write another article soon on factors that can make your period late, as they can be anything from new medicine, sleep, illness, hormones, food, and exercise to your birth control. Check out this article about period books to find resources you can dive into, that we recommend. Remember, you are a human in a cyclical body, so give yourself some grace, do something kind for yourself, and odds are you’ll get your period in a day or two.