The Flu & Your Period: How They’re Connected & What You Can Do
Feeling under the weather? Watch out, you may experience menstrual changes in the next few months as the flu and your menstrual cycle are more connected than you may think.
This flu season has been a real kick in the pants. The TIMES even called it one of the worst flu seasons in the last 10 years—so, if you’ve been hit with it and are feeling down and out—just know you’re not alone.
How the Flu Can Affect your Menstrual Cycle
First comes the body aches, then the congestion, hot flashes—what was feeling like you went too hard at the gym all the sudden has you on your heels. The flu has struck, and all you want to do is curl up in bed and wait for it to pass. Little did you know, it doesn’t just end with the flu—it may also affect your next few menstrual cycles.
We asked Naturopathic Doctor, Paria Vaziri, how the flu could affect your period. She said, “Getting sick puts a strain on your immune system, increases overall inflammation in the body, and can cause changes in sleep and appetite. Because of this, it can be normal to experience delayed ovulation (aka getting your period late) and potentially more symptoms around your period (like more cramps than usual).”
Being sick increases stress on the body—and stress, whether physical or emotional, can greatly impact how hormones function creating changes, increased symptoms or irregularity. “For most, the next period you have is most likely to be impacted although in severe cases multiple periods can be impacted.” Dr. Paria told us.
In addition, it doesn’t help that when you're sick your routine goes out the window—these lifestyle changes can also impact your cycle. Dr. Paria confirmed that, “Other areas that can further amplify the impact of getting sick include not getting proper sleep, being sedentary, loss of appetite, and dehydration.”
How to Minimize the Impact of the Flu on your Menstrual Cycle
So, what can you do to help minimize the impact of the flu on your menstrual cycle? The best thing you can do is to take care of yourself or ask a loved one to support you. Dr Paria suggests, “Rest as much as possible, try to get in as many nutrients as you can (this is a great time for soups, broths, and juices), and stay well hydrated! In the aftermath, it may be helpful to bring in some adrenal and anti-inflammatory support.”
“Usually, you don't have to do anything [if your period is affected by the flu] and your period will go back to normal with the next cycle. However, if symptoms persist I would speak with your OB/GYN,” suggests Dr. Paria.
The next time you're feeling under the weather, remember that the flu and your menstrual cycle may be more closely connected than you think. Take care of yourself, and soon you'll be back to feeling like your normal self.