Did you know that stress is one of the major reasons behind missing periods?

Stress can cause many physical effects such as headaches, upset tummies, chest pain and insomnia. It can also have a big impact on how your cycle functions. Your monthly cycle is regulated by a particular set of hormones. If the balance is upset by something like stress, then it can interfere with your period.

Some experts believe that it takes a one-time high stress event to really mess with your cycle, such as a death or job loss. Going through stress like this is likely to remove your period altogether.

However the stresses of everyday life such as deadlines or the general work-life balance juggling act can definitely cause your period to become irregular, so while it may not stop altogether, it may not come when you expected it to.

Why can stress stop periods?

The stress hormone cortisol impacts how much oestrogen and progesterone you produce. If you have too much cortisol it can affect everything from the flow and length of your cycle, as well as when it’s due to arrive.

There’s also a theory that the loss of your period at stressful times goes way, way back. Focusing on survival means that your body shuts down hormones needed to reproduce so that you don’t get pregnant in a threatening and scary environment.

How can I get my period to come back?

The obvious way to get your period back to how it used to be is to remove the stress from your life.

If you've gone through a traumatic event and you’re finding it hard to feel like you again, engaging in a little therapy could help you feel saner and help you get your cycle back on track.

It’s hard to remove everyday stress from your life, however, you can handle it better, which in turn should help your periods return.

What are the best ways to tackle stress?

Exercise: Working out releases endorphins, which makes you feel better. If you feel really stressed, try something like boxing, which will release all those pent-up frustrations!

Eating well: During really stressful times it can be hard to eat well but ensuring you’re getting a balanced diet is essential to help you cope. Step away from the takeaway and instead eat nuts, broccoli, salmon and dark chocolate – all of which have properties to help reduce your stress levels.

Learning to say no: If you feel overwhelmed, then it’s time to start saying no. It doesn’t make you a bad person, but it does make you a healthier one.

Taking time out: When stress hits it can be hard to have fun. Try and enjoy a night out with friends or partake in a favourite hobby. This allows your brain and body to have a break from the stress in your life.

If your period is late or has stopped and you don't think it's stress related, read 4 reasons your period has stopped and Why is my period late.