“Why is my period SO WEIRD in quarantine?” “Why is my period 5 days early?” “Why is my period missing or erratic?” “Why am I bleeding so much?” “Why is my period so much more painful recently?”
These are questions we’ve been hearing A LOT since quarantine began. You’re not crazy, and you’re not alone.
De Lune co-founder and Head Nutritionist, Courtney Mayszak, (RDN, LDN) explains:
Your period is like a wellness report card. Changes in your physical, emotional, and environmental well-being can affect your period, even if those changes happen weeks before you start bleeding.
Quarantine is the perfect storm of such changes because it is a physical, emotional, and environmental disruption.
Physically, we may be eating less nutrient-dense food, sleeping erratically, and moving less.
Emotionally, we may feel a lost sense of control, social frustration (especially if home with kids!), and sustained stress.
Environmentally, we may be isolated and/or confined to smaller spaces than we are used to.
These physical, emotional, and environmental stressors are going to manifest in functional conditions like period symptoms.
Cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, typically spikes during stressful “fight, flight, or freeze” situations for short time periods.
These days, cortisol levels may be spiking more frequently and being sustained for longer time periods due to the stress of living through a pandemic.
That can put us into a catabolic state, when our body is focusing on survival and not prioritizing things like pregnancy. In some cases, this can stop your ability to ovulate or have a regular, predictable period.
So, what can you do to help your body and your cycle during quarantine?
1. Nourish your cycle.
The nutrients that we consume become more important than ever during this time. We use them for every function, including creating and getting rid of the hormones that regulate stress and menstruation. Quarantine can be an opportunity to explore nutrient-dense foods and recipes. Stock up on whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. These staples deliver plenty of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber to keep your cycle healthy and strong. Seek out foods containing omega-3 fatty acids to help relax the body, such as flaxseeds, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
2. Support with supplements.
Meeting all your nutrient needs from food alone is easier said than done, especially when you have problematic period symptoms that require increased nutrient demands. Clinical studies show that vitamin B1 and zinc are just as effective as painkiller drugs for reducing painful period cramps – with fewer side effects. Same goes for herbs like ginger and fenugreek. Find therapeutic doses of these ingredients and more in De Lune’s Cramp Aid supplement. Nutritional and herbal supplements are powerful PMS-fighters, too. Therapeutic doses of saffron, rhodiola, vitamin B6, magnesium, and calcium have been clinically shown to effectively and safely reduce PMS symptoms like sadness, mood swings, and brain fog. Find all of these ingredients in De Lune’s Steady Mood supplement.
3. Practice sleep hygiene.
When sleep is out of wack, hormones are too. You might be sleeping more or less than normal during quarantine; or you might be sleeping the same amount, but at unusual times of day. Any of these changes will affect the body’ circadian rhythm which dictates our hormonal response and thus, our menstrual patterns. Practicing sleep hygiene includes tactics like sticking to a bedtime and wake-up time as consistently as possible, resisting the urge to look at a screen right before bed, darkening your bedroom as much as possible, and drinking a warm herbal tea (like chamomile or valerian) to calm your body to sleep.
Thanks, Courtney! Check out De Lune’s offerings here!