Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot has changed for many. In the everyday, remote meetings have become commonplace, children over the world experienced home schooling, and hybrid models of working more popular than ever. One thing that’s changed for a lot of people is their periods!
You may have noticed changes to your menstrual cycle since or during the pandemic, and you’re not alone. We’ve gone ahead and asked the members of our period focussed Facebook Group to tell us how their periods have changed this year, and here’s what they shared.
Most seasoned period-havers are experts in what they can expect the week before their own period comes; mood changes, fatigue… you know the drill. But COVID may have thrown a spanner in the works for your PMS.
Ellie said “My period pain has been worse on day 1 and 2 and my PMS symptoms (grumpiness, tiredness, feeling emotional) have been way more noticeable than before the pandemic.”
Feeling emotional is completely valid (at any time but especially at the moment) when you’re PMSing. With the world having to deal with the uncertainty of a global pandemic, it’s no surprise that our feels have been hitting us harder than normal this past year.
Beth said: “My hormonal response during my period and just before seems to be a lot worse – I’m finding it harder to cope in general and am actually in the process of getting my implant taken out to give my body a bit of a break and a chance to regulate my moods and emotions again. Maybe it’s because I have more time by myself to notice my moods, but deffo seems like everything is just 10x harder during the pandemic and an extra 50x harder during my period!”
Focusing on period pain while you’re in it can make you tense your body and worsen the cramps. Often, distracting yourself with, well… anything, takes your mind off it and eases them up. But with fewer activity options in lockdown, there’s much less opportunity to distract yourself.
Exercise has been proven to help ease menstrual cramps, but with a reduced amount of movement – gyms and offices closed and a daily allowance of one walk – exercise has been stunted for a lot of people during the pandemic.
This has resulted in period cramps seeming and feeling more painful than usual.
Bethan said: “cause I’m less busy my periods are way more painful cause I notice them a lot more. My endometriosis definitely got worse too, so much so I had to go to A&E cause I legit couldn’t walk. I reckon due to higher stress”
If your period pain is unmanageable and stopping you from doing everyday things, check in with a healthcare professional to see if they can help.
This year has been stressful to say the least. And stress plays a BIG role in the regularity of your periods. In fact, some levels of stress have caused people to miss a monthly period entirely! If you’ve also had/recovered from COVID, you may have experienced what would be unusual for your body, such as continued irregularity, even after recovery from the more common symptoms.
Natalie said: “After I recovered from the worst part of COVID, my cycle after was almost a week late, and the one following was super early. From speaking to a couple of my friends, they’ve experienced a really similar thing too! Maybe it’s the stress our bodies and minds went through to recover that resulted in this?”
On the other hand, some people have noticed their cycle is shorter and their periods have become more regular. This doesn’t surprise us. During lockdown, people have made conscious efforts to exercise more frequently, eat healthier, sleep better… all the good stuff that your body cries out for, meeting the criteria for a regular period.
Gabby said: “I’ve been eating more lockdown, experimenting with meals that are both tasty and nutritious. It’s definitely done my body good as my period is way more regular and heavier. I’ve even started using a tracking app! ”
Maddy said: “my cycle is now a lot more regular and about 10 days shorter since lockdown/working from home – but more crampy 🤷”
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Similarly to regularity, stress can impact the heaviness of your flow too – more commonly, making it lighter. Lockdown may have also encouraged you to exercise more than your body is normally used to, also affecting your flow.
Leonie said: “My cramps seem to have gotten worse on day 1 and 2, but in return my periods have gotten shorter and after a quite heavy flow on those first 2 days I only have to replace my cup once a day (and even then it’s often not full).”
Sophie said: “Lockdown has made period fatigue, pains, and headaches much more intense, but my period itself feels lighter/similar”
Mental health changes
It comes as no surprise that depression has tripled during lockdown, and can worsen during PMS and when menstruating too. Mental health isn’t spoken about enough, let alone the effects your menstrual cycle can have on it. If you’re finding your period more difficult to deal with lately, check out these tips on how to take care of your mental health during your period.
The effects of lockdown on periods aren’t all bad. We’re really glad to hear that in some ways, lockdown has been beneficial for people on their period.
Luna said: “I enjoyed my periods more because there wasn’t any pressure to leave the house or be out of PJs due to lockdown.”
Leonie said: “I do like that working from home means I can take it slower on those days and it doesn’t feel like as much of a nuisance or slog, compared to dealing with the pain from an office chair.”
Livvy said: “WFH is a blessing on day one of my period. That’s something I will miss (or try to incorporate into my working pattern more).”
Have you experienced any of the above changes in your cycle? Or maybe an entirely different change to your PMS or periods? Let us know in the comments how your period changed during the pandemic or even your relationship with your period!