Why jet lag can affect your period

Something to keep in mind before your summer holiday…

With the exception of popping ears and aeroplane scrambled egg, it’s safe to say that jet lag is the worst part of a long haul flight. No matter which luxurious far-flung destination you land in, the chances are that your first few days will be clouded with exhaustion.

Jet lag messes up our sleep patterns, making it hard to go to bed at the correct time and making us feel drowsy during the day. It sometimes even causes digestive problems by throwing off our mealtimes.

But there’s another annoying facet to jet lag which you might not be aware of.

It turns out that the dreaded jet lag not only affects your sleep pattern, it can affect your period pattern too.

Why exactly? Travelling across different time zones and being exposed to light at unusual times of the day messes with your circadium rhythms, throwing off your body clock and triggering hormonal changes – and strangely, the symptoms getting stronger the further east you travel.

The change in environment added to travel stress, different eating habits and a confusing sleeping pattern have been shown to throw off your super sensitive menstrual cycle hormones, causing a delayed flow, with many women getting irregular periods during travel and some not even getting a period at all.

Don’t sweat though. The temporary change of blood flow isn’t dangerous but it can be incredibly annoying – plus if you’re sexually active: very scary.

While it’s true that there’s no definitive prevention, there are ways of easing the effects. Finding a balance of good exercise, a healthy diet and regular sleep once you reach your destination will eventually help regulate your cycle. Not to mention, hot baths and yoga are good ways to get you back on track.

So even if it jet lag does mess with your menstruation, it certainly won’t ruin your holiday.

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