I have recently come back from 12 blissful days in the lush green warmth of Ubud, Bali with my fiancé. However prior to leaving I went through a very busy and stressful period.
This I have to admit is mostly my own fault! I have a tendency to “bite off more than I can chew” in life. Sometimes I find myself wrapped up in the excitement and ferocity of a fast-paced life and forget how to say that simple little word “no”. I’m sure that many of you will recognize this in your own lives.
During these times, excess amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, which is released from the adrenal glands, circulates through the body. High cortisol levels have been shown to:
Suppress the immune system
Lower sex drive
Lower sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone
Cause mood swings; including anxiety, depression and irritability
Cause fluctuations in the hormones which control ovulation
And this can all lead to irregular and or painful periods and PMS
At first the initial stages of this fun, fast-paced lifestyle can be very rewarding, but after a time when you start to put out more than you take in, your stores begin to drain. Personally, I know when I have hit this stage because I am over-tired but I still can’t seem to get a good nights rest, I start at sudden sounds and I have this constant feeling like I’m forgetting something when I leave the house!
Something else that happens, and I only know this because I use the Sympto-thermal method for contraception, is I stop ovulating. This can be deduced clearly by the lack of fertile mucus mid-cycle and following this my basal body temperatures don’t rise. When the stress levels are still moderate I will still have a bleed (though my cycles will become longer); these bleeds are not true periods however because there is no ovulation taking place.
If I continue to lead the busy, over-worked and stressful lifestyle my periods simply stop. I imagine that if they had a voice they would say, “That’s it Shirley, I’m going to stop, until you do too!” My body gave me the warning signs and I didn’t listen, so my body deemed me too over-worked and therefore unfit for the task of being able to nurture another life within me.
When I was in Bali, I ovulated for the first time in months and I was so pleased! I felt like a woman again! And after a 58-day cycle my period came soon after returning home. This has been a very reassuring process for me because it higlighted just how useful the Sympto-thermal method is at giving me knowledge about my body and therefore warning signs that I can use in the future to prevent myself from becoming overly stressed.
Since I started charting my cycle 4 years ago I have learnt so much about my body, myself and my own unique patterns I can't recommend it more highly.