How Stress Impacts Your Hormone Cycle

At Aavia, we talk a lot about the ovarian hormones (estrogen & progesterone), but cortisol (the stress hormone) significantly impacts our mood, energy, and overall well-being too! Stress can impact our hormone cycle, like causing a skipped or delayed period. 🧠

How does stress impact my hormones?

Cortisol, the stress hormone, plays a pivotal role in our body's response to stress. Cortisol isn't inherently bad; in fact, it often helps motivate us to do our best. However, a lot of people experience too much stress, causing feelings of anxiety and exhaustion. Here are 3 ways excess cortisol can impact your hormone cycle:

  1. Stress can delay or stop ovulation if there's too much of a cortisol spike in the follicular phase (first half of your cycle).
  2. Stress can make your luteal phase longer (yikes!) by decreasing progesterone levels (the dominant hormone during the luteal phase, the second half of your cycle).
  3. Stress increases blood sugar levels, which can cause irregular periods.

How can I reduce stress?

Free daily habits to make 2024 a better year:

  • Mindful breathing: try deep, intentional breaths like box breathing.
  • Move your body: low-impact movement lowers cortisol levels, but don’t overdo it! See what feels best for you. Too much high-intensity exercise can actually increase cortisol levels.
  • Log your mood & symptoms in Aavia: use your cyclical trends to learn when you're more stressed in your cycle to plan for more relaxation.
  • Sleep: aim for 8 hours of sleep every night, it's recharge time!

We all get stressed from time to time, but chronic stress and high cortisol levels can seriously affect your health. We recommend talking to a doctor if you believe you are experiencing chronic stress.