Are you getting ready for your next vacation? Are you driving one state over? You might be flying cross-country or even settling down for a long international flight. Traveling is always exciting but what happens to your menstrual cycle and your period during that time? You might be hoping that your period tracker will keep you on schedule, but what if we told you it won’t? If you’re asking if traveling messes with your period, the answer is yes! Now, let’s talk about the why and the how.
There’s a ton of things that can affect your period. You’ll find that the group that dominates the top of the list would be your hormones. When thinking about the hormones that directly affect the female reproductive system, you’ll find that estrogen and progesterone lead the pack with follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) shortly following. While you’d hear these hormones brought up in almost every reproductive talk, there are a few other hormones, namely melatonin, and cortisol that can also affect your period.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep. You might even see supplements on the shelf of your local pharmacy. When you travel, one thing is certain. You can bet that your sleep patterns are going to change. With traveling, often times you might find yourself waking up before the crack of dawn or falling asleep just before the sunrise. This is why you can expect your menstrual cycle to shift especially if you’re suffering from jetlag. A quick trip in the same time zone might not play a role, but if you’re headed for a 16-hour flight to Thailand, you can expect some changes, particularly in your sleep habits and cycle.
Another hormone that’ll affect your menstrual cycle is cortisol. Closely tied to regulating your body’s stress levels, this hormone is also tied to regulating your mood. Can you guess why? While traveling is exciting, it can also be a stressful time. While it all begins with the reservations, it doesn’t end until you’re back in your home. In between, you might be dealing with flight delays, inclement weather, baggage fees, and more. All of this can make a relaxing trip even more stressful which leads to your cortisol levels going up. And stress, as you know, plays a big role in altering your menstrual cycle.
Both melatonin and cortisol can affect your period in one of two ways. While the average period is 28 days, don’t be surprised if your period comes earlier than expected. This also works alternatively. Your period tracker might say you’re set to get your period on day 2 of your week-long vacation, but there’s a chance it might not come at all! Melatonin and cortisol can play such a big role that they can completely alter your menstrual cycle.
Traveling is amazing, especially when you get the chance to visit all the world’s greatest wonders. While you might come stocked with pads, tampons, and period panties, there’s a likely chance that your travels are going to throw your cycle out of whack!