Udisha Srivastav - ‘Periods Don’t Stop For Pandemics’, The Dual Battle For Women

“Periods don’t stop for pandemics.”

We, women, suffer and struggle a lot than men, and still, we strive for more attention and kindness. As the second wave of Covid 19 has been striking drastically in the entire world, we are in the dual battle against both the periods and pandemic. This is a love letter for every woman, who is struggling against these pandemics.

The Internet world is flared with myths relating to menstruation. The anxiety and stress over the pandemic seem to have altered menstrual cycles and increased the chance of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms in many women. And after many influencers and health experts posted on social media, several women reacted on social media with the same experience.

The Abnormality in Periods

During these pandemic days, several women have suffered the loss of their menstrual cycle, later resulting in heavy and lengthy bleeding, drastic mood swings, and petulance. According to the informal survey conducted by the gynecologist Anita Mitra, 65% of survey respondents had alterations in their periods. Another survey organized and published by MedRxiv found 53% of women had recognized a difference in their menstruation, including increased cycle duration.

As per Karen Carlson, MD, Obstetrician, and Gynecologist at Nebraska Medicine, “The pandemic in itself has made more stress for women. There is prior data that the cycling hormones, estrogen, and progesterone suffered by women with reproductive capability offer a defensive impact against COVID-19, which is favorable news”. 

Carlson explained in a conference that “Abnormal bleeding is the most common reason people present to the gynecologists, however, in recent months, there has been a slight upward trend in these problems”.

Anxiety is one of the causes of altered menstrual cycles. It also prevents the pituitary hormones that facilitate the ovulation mechanism. Several abnormalities in a person’s menstrual cycle are a natural anxiety response given by the last pandemic year. However, heavy bleeding for more than 2 weeks or abnormality for more than 3 months could indicate something more severe like a disorder or cancer symptoms.

Amplified Anxiety and Depression

For some women, bleeding abnormalities is not a problem, instead, their PMS has become malfunctioning. And some women have noticed severe shifts in their mood during their menstruation, to being inaccessible and feeling serious anxiety and uncertainty.

Researches done by Maureen Whelihan, MD, a gynecologist in Palm Beach, Florida, show that the majority of her patients under the age of 39 feel that they don’t suffer hormonal imbalance, but anxiety and neuroreceptor problems. Maureen says that nearly 30% are suffering a rise in mood syndromes since the beginning of the pandemic. Many of her patient’s menstrual cycles are relatively normal but their tension and depression have been magnified.

Periods Never ceases for Covid-19

Menses are healthy and natural. It is not an indication of an ailment. However, misconceptions about period and COVID-19 are spreading across the world. There is no medical explanation for these beliefs, which could enhance the embarrassment of menstruation. Yet the pandemic is affecting how people suffer menses. Disorders associated with the menses like endometriosis or migraines should be taken into account. The financial crisis is impacting access to period supplies, and intensified anxiety could affect menses cycles and period-related biological and emotional distress (PMS).

Feature Image Credits: United Nations Population Fund

Udisha Srivastav is a Freelance Content Writer with Femsay.com