Crystal Cox/Business Insider
Stress impacts the body in many different ways. As well as pain and acne, it can cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle, and even make periods stop altogether.
This is down to the release of excessive cortisol.
Sarah Toler, a doctor of nursing health and science writer at female health app Clue, told Insider if you can't get the products you need, you could try experimenting with reusable cups or absorbent underwear.
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it's possible you're feeling more stress than ever before — even if you don't realize it. This constant, underlying stress can do some weird things to the body, from chest pains to breakouts. It can also cause havoc with your menstrual cycle.
Sarah Toler, a doctor of nursing health and science writer at female health app Clue, told Insider stress activates a certain hormonal pathway that promotes the release of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
"Excess release of cortisol can suppress normal levels of reproductive hormones," she explained. "Potentially leading to abnormal ovulation, which can disrupt your cycle."
Stress can cause irregularities, pain, and can even stop periods altogether
Amenorrhea, the absence of periods, has been known to occur when someone has been through a traumatic event, Toler said. Daily life stress can also impact how long your cycle goes on for. However, there are probably many factors at play if they stop altogether.
"Naturally, these are, for many, unprecedented times, so it is difficult to tell exactly how the stress and anxiety felt whilst the UK is on lockdown might affect a person's cycle," she said.
Dysmenorrhea, painful menstruation, has been linked to high stress situations, such as working in an insecure job without much support. People who already experience period pain are more likely to be impacted this way, Toler said.
"It's important to keep in mind that it is not likely that this outbreak will impact your cycle, but you can monitor any changes your body might go through by tracking them in an app like Clue," she said. "Vitally, keep in mind that stress is most likely to be the culprit of any changes to your cycle that you notice, not the coronavirus itself."
Crystal Cox/Business Insider
The pandemic has led to a lot of panic buying behavior, meaning the outbreak may impact the availability of period products like tampons and pads.
It's unclear how long lockdowns and government-advised self-isolation will go on for, which may make it difficult for people to have the supplies they need.
"Most people who menstruate usually keep about a month's supply of period products on hand," Toler said. "Two months' worth of period supplies might be a reasonable stash to keep on hand during this outbreak."
While it's true that you need these items, so does everyone around you.
"Buying out a whole store's worth of tampons means someone else won't have any, so aim to be conscientious of the needs of others," Toler said.
Now is the time to experiment
Toler recommended you could try using a washable menstrual blood collector like a cup or absorbent underwear if you're worried about running low. Social distancing right now gives you the opportunity to experiment, she said.
"While you are practicing vigilant hand washing and sanitizing around the house due to COVID-19, practice the same type of hygiene care with your period products," she added. "Boil anything made of silicon after use. Wash reusable pads and underwear with soap in hot water. Wash your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds before and after you change your blood collection product."
Right now there is no shortage of period products, but we don't know what could happen in the near future. Even if supply chains are operating normally, a rumor or misunderstanding can cause items to fly off the shelves.
"When there is no other option, we can look to what people who menstruate do with limited resources," Toler said. "When menstrual products aren't available, many people use a small cloth or tissue paper. A sock may be thin enough to be worn comfortably in underwear.
"Everyone who menstruates has had to improvise at some point!"
Read the original article on Insider