Stress can make your period pain worse, science says.
According to a new study, which was published in the Journal of Women’s Health, there could be a link between the intensity of your period pain and your stress levels.
This may not be a surprise to many of you who have already worked out that your period pain is worse when you feel stressed and anxious.
But at least now there is some scientific evidence to back it up.
Stress can make your period pain worse, science says
Women who experienced a great deal of stress in the run up to their menstrual cycle experienced more extreme pain compared to those who weren’t stressed.
Four times as many women who were stressed revealed that they experienced moderate to severe pain during their period.
The research team said: “Each woman is an individual, and some women may experience severe symptoms that require medications.
"However, future studies may show that stress reduction techniques can prevent or reduce the severity of premenstrual syndrome, which might provide a cost effective alternative to medications for some women.”
Experts believe that practicing mindfulness, yoga and exercising can help alleviate some stress.
The link between period pain and stress
Our bodies respond to stress by releasing stress hormones which can affect us in lots of different ways.
When our bodies are faced with stress, the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released, each of which have different effects on the body.
The menstrual cycle is an intricately-timed process which relies on the cooperation of important hormones, at specific times, to release an egg and prepare the womb in order to reproduce.
If these hormones are disrupted, then your menstrual cycle can be affected too.
When you’re stressed, cortisol can interact with the master gland which controls the production of many hormones, and shut down non-essential endocrine functions - such as those involved in digestion or the menstrual cycle.
As a result, if you’re trying to cope with a great deal of stress you may find that you miss periods or have a slightly irregular or more painful cycle, as stress hormones can have a huge impact on your reproductive hormones.
Research has found a link between high stress levels and painful periods.
Plus, it is thought that when we are in a state of stress, we experience a heightened sensitivity to pain, so it is important to take a look at your stress levels if you suffer from painful periods often.