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Sometimes your period can become irregular after you travel. These 3 things could affect your menstrual cycle while traveling:
1. Jet lag
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recognizes jet lag as a sleep disorder typified by excessive daytime sleepiness and associated physiological impairments. Jet lag affects your body’s circadian rhythms.
Alterations of biological rhythms that commonly occur in jet lag are linked to significant disruptions in reproductive function.
2. Change in sleep patterns. As you know, certain essential hormones in your body are produced during your sleep. Traveling to a different time zone often involves confusion with melatonin release. You have to adjust to a new schedule, so your body suppresses the hormone until it's dark again. If you’re a regular traveler across time zones, this can throw off your cycle.
3. Stress. Any journey is a stress to your body. Consequently, stress affects your hormonal balance, which triggers alterations in your menstrual cycle. Stress triggers a cortisol increase which can worsen PMS symptoms and period pain. It can even delay ovulation, leading to missed or late periods.
There also may be secondary things occurring during traveling that have an impact on your cycle, such as illness, bacterial infection, digestive system irritation, or a flu that you may get during traveling. They may also influence your hormonal balance which may lead to changes in your menstrual cycle.
If you’re planning a pregnancy, you should be especially careful about frequent travel, as an altered cycle can also lead to an ovulation shift and may consequently lead to unsuccessful conception.
To minimize the negative effect of traveling on your body that could trigger hormonal deviations, please make sure to do the following:
Follow good sleep hygiene
Eat properly at least 3 times per day
Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and junk food
Drink only bottled water
Maintain personal hygiene
Gradually adjust to the new time zone before you actually travel there to avoid jet lag
If you travel often, ask your doctor for recommendations that can help you beat jet lag.