Possible Causes of an Early Period

At some point, most women will stop to give thought to the causes of an early period. Although a missed or late period is usually one of the most worrying menstrual situations for a woman, it sometimes comes as a surprise when a gal suddenly starts her period earlier than she anticipated. This is a situation that most women go through at some point in their lives, and in most cases it’s nothing to be worried about. If you’ve recently had an early visit from “Aunt Flo” and you’d like to discover the reason behind this unexpected arrival, then read on to learn about some of the possible causes of an early period.

Stress

The effects that stress can have on the body are infinite, and the menstrual cycle is certainly not off limits to the side effects caused by excessive stress. For most women, there will come a time when her stress levels increase so much that her hormones become imbalanced. As you are probably already aware, the menstrual cycle is highly dependent on the rise and fall of certain hormones at different times throughout the month; one major hormonal change will cause ovulation and another will trigger the start of the menstrual period. When a woman’s hormones change unexpectedly, it can adjust the time that ovulation occurs, or skip it altogether. Further hormonal changes can even trigger menstruation.

Anxiety over a new job, moving to another house or town, the death of a friend or family member, marital troubles, and financial strain are just a few examples of stressful situations that are common causes of an early period. Stress can not only change the timing of your period but it can also change the flow (heaviness or lightness) and duration of your period.

If you’ve recently been through a lot of stress and you think that it might be the reason why you’ve had an early period, then try to cut back on your stress levels. Engage in some relaxation therapy by giving yourself a much-needed time out in your favorite spot, make some time to read a good book, have a crying session (especially if you’ve been holding back the tears), or vent your stresses to a good, understanding friend. Once you’ve had a chance to bring your stress levels down you can step forward and handle your problems with a fresh attitude and clear thoughts.

Exercising/Dieting

The female of our species is well known for sometimes going a little crazy with exercise and dieting. Of course not all women obsess over their figures, but many do—and those who aren’t used to exercising or who go on a crash diet may find an expected and unpleasant surprise in the menstrual department. Excessive exercise has been known to prompt early periods, lighter periods, and missed periods altogether. It is thought that while exercising, the body is being forced to divert its energy towards the workout that the brain becomes side-tracked, in a way, and releases hormones at the wrong time. In some cases, it may fail to alter the hormones responsible for ovulation, which means that excessive exercising can not only cause an early period (due to missed ovulation) but it can also make it more difficult to become pregnant.

Dieting can have the same effect if one’s body is failing to get the right amount of nutrients. The female body works in a way that promotes self preservation when it thinks that it is under distress; and if there aren’t enough nutrients coming in to sustain everyday activities, then ovulation may be cast aside as an unnecessary use of energy, which then results in an earlier period.

Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are one of the most notorious causes of an early period, among other physical and hormonal side effects! Although birth control pills are 99.9 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, it can sometimes come at a price. You see, the standard estrogen-progestin pill works by adding hormones to the body to control how it works. The main processes that are affected are ovulation and the formation of cervical mucus. Birth control pills prevent eggs from leaving the ovary at all, and if there’s no egg then there’s nothing for the sperm to fertilize. The second effect of birth control pills is that they cause the mucus in the cervix to become much thicker which makes it a lot harder for sperm to get where they need to be.

Some of the most common side effects associated with birth control pills are changes in one’s menstrual cycle, such as having early or late periods, missed periods, bleeding between periods, abdominal cramping, and upset stomach/nausea. Weight loss or gain is also another possible side effect of using this type of birth control. In this case, it may be worthwhile to speak to a doctor about trying a different brand or type of birth control.

Birth control pills are one of the most common types of birth control, but there are other options that are less hormone-altering. Condoms, fertility monitoring (aka “the rhythm method), diaphragms, and spermicide are just a few options.