There are always things that you can do yourself to help improve your periods and hormonal system. These typically fall into different categories but are, overall, general maintenance tips. These are things that you can do to soothe, nourish and cool your body. 

By looking into and doing these things you can help improve your period and hormonal system.

Stress and Your Hormonal System

This is a factor that has a huge impact on period health.

Stress has a direct impact on your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that controls and regulates hormones.

When you are stressed, your hypothalamus signals your pituitary, which in turn produces less follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone. These are the two hormones that stimulate ovulation.

If you have less of these hormones, you will have less ovulatory cycles.

Cortisol

Another factor for increased stress is the production of cortisol from your adrenal glands. Cortisol is meant to be a short-term fight-or-flight hormone. Increased levels of cortisol gear your body towards immediate survival.

If you have high cortisol levels over a long period of time, it leads to your body taking protein from your muscles and reduced insulin sensitivity. It also weakens your immune system.

The problem for your period is that high cortisol impedes ovulation and ovarian steroid production.

Learn more about cortisol here.

HPA Axis Dysfunction

Chronic stress and high cortisol lead to dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

This means that communication between your hypothalamus, pituitary, and adrenal glands is impaired. This results in fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, low libido, low blood pressure, brain fog, poor immunity, PMS, and irregular periods.

In addition to stress, HPA axis dysfunction can be caused by the following factors: sleep deprivation, staying up late, jet lag, under-eating, illness, and nutrient deficiencies.

Oestrogen and progesterone help to stabilise the HPA axis.

This can lead to a vicious cycle of HPA axis dysfunction causing period problems, which further increases HPA axis dysfunction.

Conclusion

Hopefully you now have a better idea of the complications that too much stress can cause to your period.

Consider if any of these factors are playing a role in your life.

If they are, it can be a good idea to see someone for some extra help, or tips as to how to change things for the better.

Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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