It is indeed sad that even in this day and age “women issues” namely menstrual cycles still attract unfounded myths and taboos. The latest myth labels irregular periods as a sign of having contracted Covid-19. The global epidemic of COVID-19 is impacting the health and personal decision-making of people across the globe, but menstrual cycle is neither an illness nor a sign of having contracted Covid-19. Strange enough though, research being conducted in various parts of the world is indicating that women are least susceptible to contracting Covid-19 during the menstruation period.
Whatever said, every myth does have some legs to run on. According to Practo, a mHealth platform that is offering increased services of telemedicine in the lockdown, online queries involving period problems, pregnancy complications, birth control techniques, and miscarriages have grown by 250%. Since the outbreak of corona virus. One in every three consults that came from women is for Gynecology-related issues. Women contracting the virus have complained of abnormally short cycles; abnormal pain during their periods; no periods for couple of months; strangely – reversal of menopause.
Many of those who have not been impacted by the virus have also complained of heavy, missed, or irregular periods – something associated with by women suffering from Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It is a condition where the female body produces more of the male hormone androgen. As a result of the hormonal imbalance, cysts form on the ovaries. This can cause the periods to become irregular or to stop completely. Other symptoms include weight gain, hair loss from the head and excessive body hair growth. While such myths have no medical explanation but can increase the stigma of menstruation.
But one is forced to ask - Is there some relationship between coronavirus and menstruation? Dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime viral outbreak, plus being isolated at home is leaving a lot of people feeling down. If you – a woman is feeling anxious and uncertain, know that your feelings are totally normal and valid.
Stress can impact both mental and physical health. Some folks with underlying anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are feeling triggered right now. Likewise, stress may influence cycle length, vaginal bleeding patterns, painful periods, and premenstrual symptoms (3). It’s not likely that this outbreak will impact your cycle, but you can monitor any changes your body might go through by tracking them in Clue. Keep in mind that stress is most likely to be the culprit of any changes to your cycle, not the Coronavirus.
The lockdown has resulted in a surge of mental health issues, with people more stressed and uncertain than ever. When we are stressed, our bodies release adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones to induce a flight or fight response.
But prolonged spikes in cortisol can interfere with other hormones, particularly reproductive hormones in women. This could lead to anovulation (no ovulation), amenorrhea (no periods) or a delayed or painful bleed. Stress manifests differently in different people and as a result, the changes in a female cycle can range from longer to shorter periods, missed or painful ones.
If you’re feeling mentally impacted by the Coronavirus news, the best thing to do is to focus on yourself and practice some self-care. This can look different for everyone, but some simple things I can suggest are:
Continue to regularly take your prescriptions and/or supplements.
It might be hard to access your normal healthy foods during social isolation. Still, try not to eat too many junk foods.
Meditate or write a journal.
Revisit an old hobby or take up a craft.
Fix some things around the house.
Find an indoor workout routine that you like.
Maintain your usual sleep schedule.
Enjoy hot showers and baths if you can.
Monitor your media intake.
Ask for a hand or foot massage from someone who can administer it.
Instead of staying glued to the latest COVID-19 updates, allow yourself to check the news at certain times of day.
Try to fit some stretching and deep breathing into each day.
If you live with partners, roommates, or family, take this time to connect and nurture your relationships.
Check in with friends and neighbors over phone or video—your virtual companionship might help someone cope and help you feel connected.
Don’t be afraid of talking about your problems with your immediate family.
All the above is very possible and there are no excuses for you not to follow them. Now, here are some ways to address many of the issues:
A normal menstrual cycle occurs every twenty-eight days and will last for about three to five days. Every female has a menstrual cycle with a unique pattern that might vary from what is considered normal. You won’t have anything to worry about if your pattern is identical each month, but you should get some checks done if you notice abnormalities as these might lead to serious medical conditions. Some irregularity symptoms are:
Anovulation: You will have this condition if you are not ovulating normally. It’s worth mentioning that this condition can affect women with regular menses, so you might not know that you have ovulation problems until you are unsuccessful in getting pregnant.
Oligomenorrhea: This is one of the common menstrual cycle problems and it’s linked to fewer periods in a year. You might have this condition if your periods only come three to six times a year. Oligomenorrhea is not a disease in itself, but is often a symptom of other conditions such as stress, obesity, hormonal imbalance and PCOS or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Menstrual Cycle Cessation: Cessation of menstrual periods, also called amenorrhea, refers to the opposite of irregular menses with fewer periods. You will have this condition if you are in the reproductive age and you need medical help to get your periods. It is considered normal in females of menopausal age. Breastfeeding and pregnancy can also cause temporary amenorrhea. The serious causes include PCOS, anorexia, excessive exercises, and similar health conditions.
Menorrhagia: This condition is characterized by abdominal cramping and heavy bleeding. It is usually common in women close to menopause and young girls, both stages where the hormones changes. Hormonal imbalance is said to be the main cause of this condition.
Dysmenorrhea: This is a very painful menstruation problem that is linked to heavy bleeding and cramps. Ovarian cysts or endometriosis are often the main causes. Heavy bleeding with clotting during periods usually indicates polyps or uterine fibroids, benign growths inside the uterus. You can experience excessive bleeding if you have this condition.
There are Do It Yourself, treatment Protocols designed by Acupressure Research, Training and Treatment Institute, Allahabad, for Menorrhagia, Dysmenorrhea, Premenstrual Syndromes (P. M. S.), and other problems related to mensuration problems that cannot be given here and need a short raining to be given. Ladies interested in treating self and others are advised to register themselves by going on to www.artofselfhealing.in to organise a Training webinar.
A sample treatment is given for heavy discharge before or after time:
The blood is bright red or dark red blood. Patient has the following symptoms like feeling of heat, agitation, thirst, and Constipation, The simple treatment is to find the painful points on the Index and Middle finger on spots near about the points shown in the figure given below, stimulate these points with a probe and paste a Methi seed on each of the points, marked red, using micro surgical tape.
Pressure points for treatment:
Menorrhagia (Excessive mensuration) – Liv 2 or CV 3
Postdated / excess menstruation -- Liv 6, * Painful period -- Liv 8 *
Irregular menstrual cycle -- Li 11 *
Please note that wherever * is shown, paste germinating point of Mung seed on that pressure point.
(From increasing metabolism to overcoming physical problems, Prof Luthria speaks about the art of self-healing through simple techniques. For more information on treatments and remedies, kindly visit www.artofselfhealing.in)