So first let us understand why regular menstrual cycle is an important factor of good health. Dr Geeth Monnappa, Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Richmond Road, Bengaluru shares, “Regular menstrual cycles are important indicators of the underlying reproductive health. It signals a smooth functioning of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis or in simpler terms, it indicates a normal flow of hormones from the brain to the ovary which is essential for a normal period. Environmental factors have always played a key role in the regulation of menstrual cycles and therefore it comes as no surprise that many women are experiencing delayed or irregular periods amidst the COVID pandemic.This is secondary to a change in the lifestyle, work environment, stress or eating habits accompanied by the lack of exercise.”
Further, Dr Gayatri Deshpande, Senior Consultant, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital adds, “Complete lockdown of physical mobility and its subsequent side-effects are responsible for the rising complaints of irregular menstrual cycle during the pandemic. Hormonal disruption, caused by the lack of physical activity, rising mental stress levels, weight gain is leading to an ovulation and worsening of conditions such as polycystic ovaries.” She also added that women have to understand that household chores don’t equate to exercise. A low calorie, high fibre and high protein diet is equally essential.
As we accommodate to the new norm, it’s important to lead a healthy lifestyle, eat nutritious food and avoid junk and processed items. Dr Monappa also recommends a daily routine of aerobic exercise for 25-30mins coupled with relaxation of the mind with yoga, meditation, developing a hobby or spending time with family to overcome the added stress, will help overcome the changes that you face with your physical and mental health, and by doing so, will help regulate your periods.
Weight also plays a significant role in menstrual cycles. Women who are overweight tend to have higher levels of the male hormone testosterone, which prevents egg release, which is in turn necessary to maintain the normal balance between the female hormones estrogen and progesterone that is required for a regular period.
Increase in stress levels with loss of jobs and changes in the work environment can have a negative impact on the periods by interrupting with the normal signals from the brain to the ovary.This is necessary for a normal hormone production in the ovary which is responsible for a regular period.