How can exercise change your menstrual cycle?

Exercise can change a woman’s menstrual cycle. What are those influences? explores with you.

Perhaps you expect a lot of changes in your body when you start an exercise routine. You may experience muscle pain, weight loss, better sleep, and increased strength. But what you might not expect is that regular exercise can also change your menstrual cycle.

The changes can be positive or negative depending on many factors that affect how your body responds to increased activity levels. Here are the 4 most common effects of exercise habits on the menstrual cycle.

1. Uterine bleeding

Regular exercise can cause a slight change in hormone levels. This can interfere with the cyclic building and shedding of the uterine lining. The lining of the uterus can respond to hormonal signals by shedding and causing uterine bleeding.

This condition is bleeding from the vagina but not during the menstrual cycle. Its color can be crimson or bright red. It’s lighter than a normal menstrual cycle. You may also experience sudden bleeding during or shortly after vigorous exercise.

There is no direct cause and effect from bleeding after exercise. It may be the result of an endometrial disorder. Or it could be due to changes in the structure of the lining of the uterus or cervix. Increased intra-abdominal pressure along with some pattern of movement can cause bleeding from submucosal fibroids and cervical polyps.

uterine bleeding

High-intensity exercise can cause uterine bleeding

2. Late period

While exercise is generally good for you, the physiological stress of overtraining can disrupt the balance of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that acts as a control center for the menstrual cycle. It transmits hormonal messages to your pituitary gland and ovaries, thereby triggering ovulation.

If this communication is disrupted by physiological stress from extreme exercise or significant weight loss, the egg will not be released. If so, the changes that trigger your period won’t happen and you’ll miss your period.

Exercise-induced amenorrhea can occur in female athletes. Manifestations include:

  • Menstrual disorders
  • Low calorie
  • Low bone mineral density

>>> See more: Should you exercise during your menstrual cycle?

3. Change in menstrual flow

Don’t worry if you notice your periods are lighter at the start of your exercise routine. Hormonal changes can cause periods to stop, have a weaker effect on your body, and have a weaker flow.

READ MORE:  Effective solutions to treat insomnia recommended by doctors

Another change that can contribute to weaker menstrual flow is weight loss when you exercise regularly. Body fat or adipose tissue produces a type of estrogen. Excess estrogen in the body causes the mucous layer to accumulate more in the first half of the cycle. The thicker the lining, the more menstrual flow.

When you lose weight, you will reduce the amount of estrogen in your body, which should reduce the cyclic accumulation of the uterine lining. Thinner lining leads to less menstrual flow.

4. Dysmenorrhea

There are two types of pain during menstruation. Whether exercise helps or not depends on the cause of this pain.

Primary dysmenorrhea

This type of abdominal pain is an episode of pain for which the exact cause is unknown. It usually starts with the first period and goes on in cycles. An exercise routine can help you relieve primary dysmenorrhea.

The hormonal changes associated with exercise can reduce prostaglandin levels in the lining of the uterus. Prostaglandins are inflammatory substances made in the body that cause uterine contractions and abdominal pain.

Secondary dysmenorrhea

This is the pain stage due to the underlying disease. This type of colic usually develops over time and usually begins in your 20s or even later. Two common conditions that cause this pain are adenomas and fibroids.


If you have secondary dysmenorrhea, exercise can help reduce menstrual pain due to its effect on prostaglandins.

However, don’t worry if your pain gets worse with exercise during your period, especially if you have fibroids. They develop a network of blood vessels because they need blood and nutrients to grow.

When you exercise, your body shifts blood flow from other organs to serve your heart, lungs, and muscles. Under normal conditions, your uterus can adapt. But if you have fibroids, your period can be significantly reduced with exercise.

This causes a condition called ischemia, which is similar to that in the heart muscle. When a muscle is ischemic, you feel pain.

Reference source

How Exercise May Change Your Period Accessed: 30/10/2020

Easy Healthy Lifestyle