When your period comes unexpectedly (or doesn't come when you think it will), all you want to know is why. Why me? Why now? And who can I blame? Irregular periods are the worst, and often concrete answers are the only thing that can feel helpful.
However, pinpointing the exact cause of your menstrual distress can be difficult, as triggers range from dietary changes to emotional stress to underlying hormonal disorders, like PCOS. And now, science shows that we potentially have something new to blame for our irregular periods: work.
Yes, according to research, your job might be negatively impacting your period. "Not just your job in general, studies have shown that the stress from certain types of jobs can impact your period in specific ways," publicist Lauren O’Neill told Byrdie in an email.
Curious to know how your job could be messing with your cycle? Keep reading to find out more.
According to the research team at Clue, certain types of professions are closely linked with menstrual problems including dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) and anovulation (a period without ovulation), as well as abnormally long or short cycles.
Studies show that dysmenorrhea and short cycles have been associated with jobs that are low control (meaning employees have little say in their work tasks and other important decisions) and have low co-worker support. A study of stress in female nurses linked high stress with anovulation and longer cycles.
The effects of job-related stress on your period might have a lot to do with timing as well. Irregular cycles in nurses (and other jobs with inconsistent hours) could be due to the stress of rotating shifts.
If you think your job might be negatively affecting your cycle, start by tracking your period with an app. (We recommend one called Clue.) This will help you identify patterns in your cycle, which you can bring to your doctor to discuss further.
Interested in learning how to regulate your period the natural way? Read how living by the moon cycle cured one editor's health problems.