Before diving deep into the topic, let’s put it out there at the onset that the impact on your periods will depend on the distance that you travel. The further you travel from your home, the more effect on your period. If you love travelling, then planning a trip is half the fun sometimes. Then again, let’s not forget the thrill of going for that impromptu, spur-of-the-moment, unplanned trip. However, chances are that those spontaneous trips are going to be local and small distance. After all, it is less likely to take an impromptu trip across the world covering different timezones.
Suppose you are planning for that long-distance trip covering hundreds and thousands of kilometres. In that case, it might serve you well to keep that all-important menstrual cycle of yours in mind. Most of the time, doing anything during your periods is an arduous task. Travelling is best left for your non-menstrual days. Having said that, sometimes travelling during periods becomes unavoidable due to several reasons. For example, you might have to go on an official visit, business trip, or family emergency. If you face a situation where you have to travel during your periods, I’m sure you want to know how it will affect your mental and physical health. Read on for some of the repercussions to help you make an informed decision.
Let’s start with what a period is. The female body produces eggs, and when these eggs are not fertilized, the oestrogen and progesterone level in your blood reduces. This prompts your body to get rid of this unfertilized egg. Hence the monthly period that you have a love-hate relationship.
The next important concept to know is a phenomenon called the circadian rhythm. Circadian comes from two Latin words circa, which means around, and dias which means day. The circadian rhythm is how your body reacts to light and dark, night and day. This rhythm helps your body maintain the hormone release and maintain the different fluctuations of hormone in the blood depending on the time of the day. Let’s not forget that pesky jet lag that you feel when your timezone changes drastically and suddenly. That can play havoc on the hormone level of your body. Travelling across multiple timezones throws your body’s normal circadian rhythm, thus impacting your menstrual cycle. You can easily picture it as a domino effect whereby disturbing one tile has a ripple effect on the entire tile stack.
Apart from circadian rhythm, another factor that affects your health when travelling is stress. In fact, stress is something to avoid at any cost. The control centre of all the hormones in your body is the hypothalamus in the brain. Stress can affect the hypothalamus so that it causes a delay in periods, or you might skip a period a month altogether.
If you are unwell and you have to travel, your periods might also contribute to an irregularity. When you are ill, your body’s immune system concentrates on fighting whatever is causing you the illness. So, your menstrual cycle and maintaining its regularity are not a priority for your body. This is especially true while travelling as your body has added factors to deal with.
So how do you prepare yourself for that travel? Here are some tips and tricks that might help. Keep in mind that you might need to tweak these according to your situation.
When you are travelling, menstrual changes are expected for one or two cycles. Do not panic unless your symptoms are severe or persist for a long time. So, try to relax instead of worrying about being pregnant or severely ill if you miss periods after travelling.
Menstrual cycle: when is it?
Be aware of your cycle. When are your periods due? Check if you can plan well so your periods do not fall during travelling? Alternatively, check with your doctor if you can take a pill to delay your periods just this once? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, do it. Your body will thank you for considering its welfare. Additionally, a period tracker goes a long way for you to keep tabs on your menstrual cycle and ensure you are on top of it.
Preparation is the key.
Make sure that you carry your period paraphernalia, even if you do not expect it to happen when travelling. Preparation is half the job done. If you use tampons, it is not available in some places. Either research ahead and ensure that the area you are travelling to has tampons or ensure that you carry them in bulk.
In conclusion, it is safe to state that if you are travelling nearby, it will likely not affect your periods. However, if you are crossing timezones, you might experience delayed or skip periods altogether for a cycle or two. However, that is ok, and all you need to do is stay put, relax, and not stress. You will notice that your period schedule is back on track after a cycle or two.