Many women have complained about irregular and painful periods during this period of self isolation and home sheltering.
According to the doctors, due to being confined to houses for a long duration of time, their routine activities like sleep pattern, eating habits, physical activity all have been affected which causes stress, resulting in irregularity of periods and the intensity of cramps.
Dr. Anubha Singh, Gynecologist and IVF Expert from Shantah Fertility Centre said: "Many patients have informed us over phone that their periods have become irregular and after talking to them it was found that they are feeling very stressed. The reason for this is that the Covid-19 lockdown has spoiled their daily routine. Stress problems in women have increased due to the epidemic. Stress affects the amount of cortisol produced by the body. Among women who are under high stress, 40 per cent of women complain of infertility. However, there is no concrete evidence that infertility is due to stress."
Many psychiatrists and psychologists have given their own arguments some say the problem increases in women who live in stress and depression.
Panic among women
Stress is bound to cause hormonal imbalance and even PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in women. "If you had been borderline PCOS all along, this stress induced by the pandemic might push you over to the other side. The uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, and the fact that no one really knows when this might end, has resulted in widespread panic. Also since most women are now locked indoors, they're probably not leading the healthiest of lives. Such unusual situations could exacerbate preexisting hormonal imbalances in women. For instance, if a woman had been diagnosed with mild PCOS, it might get aggravated during this time" explained Dr. Anubha Singh.
Diet and sleep patterns are affected
Since most of the women have been locked inside the house, they are not able to live a healthy lifestyle. In such a situation, their sleep patterns and diet are also being affected. Stress can increase the imbalance of insulin in the body which causes the secretion of leptin hormone. Women who used to cycle period within the first 30 days, now their cycle can be delayed by 7-8 days or even more. This is called oligomenorrhea.
Acne in women
When we are stressed, our body releases cortisol. When it is in abundance, it reduces estrogen production which leads to a spike in androgen levels. Androgen plays an important role in connecting with the sebaceous glands. At greater stress, these glands produce oil. Excess oil stops our skin pores, and causes an inflammation that takes the form of an acne.
If hormonal imbalances persist in women, it could affect hair growth, weight bloating, hair fall, trouble in concentrating and it may even lead to impaired fertility in the long run. Dr. Shobha Gupta, Medical director and IVF Specilaist from Mother's Lap IVF Centre said that "cases have been seen where women under extreme stress or duress have stopped having periods altogether. Although we've not reached that stage yet, we just might if things continue the way they are now."
Everyone is trying to ease these situations or stay calm. "One key factor in reducing stress levels is coming to terms with the fact that the current situation, where all of India is locked down, is not in anyone's hands and working on oneself is really the best way to deal with it. Try and make a fixed routine for your day, eat healthy foods, sleep on time, and try to be happy as much as possible. Do not take stress unnecessarily" added Dr. Shobha Gupta.
(Puja Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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