When the pandemic hit the world, 2020 changed everything and how we look at things. Hygiene became supreme, the world went into a lockdown, the way we work changed, relationships went for a toss in many householeds and stress levels magnified. Work from Home became a reality. The virus affected us mentally, emotionally, financially, and  physically. But it had a different kind of impact on women especially our menstrual cycles in a number of cases. Here's what happened with a few tips to help make the situation better.

How Did It Affect Women’s Health?

We now know that even the smallest things can change the menstrual cycle of women. Dr. Kriti Prasad, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Ranchi told HerZindagi that "contrary to the belief that some people still hold, the uterus does not control the cycles, but the brain does. Many people will be surprised to hear that the smallest things like stress/anxiety, food habits can impact your periods. Since our lives have turned upside down due to the pandemic, mentally, physically, and emotionally and therefore this lockdown, or in other words, ‘work from home’ was bound to have its own repercussions in terms of effects on your body, thoughts, and even menstrual cycles."

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"It was seen that while some directed their energy in getting fitter and a better and large proportion of the population was stuck with the ‘WFH’ against their wishes and their lives became more sedentary and inactive than ever. In both cases, whether one started doing more exercise or got into a sedentary mode with no physical exercise, it was bound to affect the cycles. Sudden change in routine like “too much exercise” or “being inactive affected women’s periods”.

"Statistics say that about 25-30% of women’s cycles were affected. It might have been affected in regularity or flow. Women had to take care of their child, her household, and her work at the same time, and that too without any help from anyone as no one could leave their houses. What people did not realise was that apart from physical health, psychological stability and health also matter a lot. Juggling between work and home, women somewhere did not prioritise their gynae health.

"Lockdown coupled with longer hours at work really impacted the mental health of many. As exercise dropped to zero and with almost no human interaction or a social life many people started having mental health issues that are not good for the body or for healthy ovulation. In turn, some also started gaining weight which is not a good sign for one’s health. Obesity leads to higher chances of infertility," Prasad shared. 

Impact On Fertility

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With work from home, we tend to get a little lethargic and binge eat a lot. Eating unhealthy food increases our chances of infertility. It has also been proven that long working hours and a high-pressure job might reduce our chances of conception. Stress has a direct correlation with hormones and the variation can impact your fertility adversely. The regular work hour shifts of 9 am-5 pm have turned into 9 am-9 pm jobs.

Most of us are spending so much time in front of the laptop with undefined work hours, which makes it difficult to plan oour day and take out any time for exercise. Due to prolonged working hours, people are also bound to have lesser sleeping hours. Unhealthy sleeping habits have been correlated to infertility in studies.

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Diet

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Diet/nutrition is an integral part of fertility. Mindful eating and consuming nutritious food is highly recommended. Prasad shared that as per studies, "Vitamin D is vital for the release of sex hormones and for ovulation. If there is a lack of Vitamin D in women, it might be associated with infertility. It is also a known fact that Vitamin E can decrease the time of conception.

"Folate or Vitamin B might help in conceiving. Infact Vitamin B (folate) is needed to make genetic material and it can be found in many foods naturally, like- broccoli, peas, leafy green veggies (cabbage, kale, spinach, etc.), and Brussel sprouts. Studies say that iron supplements may be very helpful and almost 35-40% of women who had iron supplements regularly had fewer chances of undergoing infertility issues. Some say that if men add walnuts to their diet, it can enhance fertility.

"Researchers have said that if one consumes full-fat dairy they have a low risk of ovarian cancer and may also help in ovulation. Thus diet and nutrition play an important role in enhancing fertility among both men and women," she added.

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Here are some tips that can help you out

Tips To Get Menstrul Cycle On Track

breathing wfh mesntrual cycle effect

  • Take up meditation and take a few minutes to be with your thoughts, as it might help you align your thoughts.
  • One can up practicing yoga, as yoga has proved to be very beneficial for women to get back on their cycle and in turn, also improve their fertility.
  • They should start eating healthy and increase the intake of water, as eating healthy is very important for a healthy body.
  • If you are a person who has an excessive intake of coffee and or alcohol, reduce it. It may help enhance fertility.
  • Reduce the level and amount of stress and pressure you take from work. Reducing stress and workload may increase your chances of conceiving
  • Try and make a routine for yourself and your family members.
  • Good sleep hygiene and breathing techniques can boost your fertility
  • If recommended by your doctor you may even take pills that might help in dealing with stress. Anxiety and irregularity of periods.

Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more on your health and how to take care of it with expert inputs.