Can Your Menstrual Cycle Change After Being Sexually Active?

Each woman’s menstrual cycle is unique. It may be long or short, heavy or light, painful or not.

Sex can cause small changes in hormones which could affect your period. Having sex right before your period or during your period can cause a surge in hormones which may delay your period.

Increased Estrogen

Many women experience increased sexual desire as they get closer to ovulation, the part of the menstrual cycle during which one of your ovaries releases a mature egg. During this period, your estrogen (spelled oestrogen in some countries) spikes and oxytocin levels increase. This is a great time to have sex, especially because your cervix is more open and it’s easier for an embryo to implant.

As you move into the luteal phase, which begins on the day of your period and ends when one of your ovaries sheds the uterus lining, progesterone levels decrease, causing a drop in sex drive. Luckily, testosterone levels rise during this time as well and can boost your energy levels and improve orgasms.

Of course, your sex drive fluctuates based on so many other things, including how much sleep you got the night before and whether or not you had a spicy lunch at work. The important thing to remember is that sex has a direct effect on hormone levels, which affect everything from your libido to the length of your period and severity of PMS symptoms.

Decreased Progesterone

During the ovulatory phase, your ovary produces a follicle to grow and then release an egg. Once the egg is released (ovulation), the follicle closes and then forms a corpus luteum to produce progesterone. Progesterone thickens the uterine lining and helps support pregnancy. If the follicle isn’t fertilized, the corpus luteum breaks down and you get your monthly period.

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After ovulation, your sex hormones decrease and your progesterone levels rise. Unprotected sex during this time increases your chances of getting pregnant. Having sex before ovulation also causes your uterus to thicken up faster, which can cause you to have an irregular menstrual cycle and premature bleeding.

Several things can change your menstrual cycle, including lifestyle, emotional, and medical factors. Track your menstrual cycles with a period app to monitor changes over time. If you notice a change, talk to your doctor for more information. Also, make sure to use protection (like condoms) during sex to prevent HPV infection. Sex can also help you feel better by triggering orgasms that increase the amount of serotonin your brain releases. This neurotransmitter boosts mood and feelings of euphoria, which can be helpful during PMS.

Increased Cortisol

Stress hormones like cortisol can cause a lot of menstrual weirdness by interfering with the feedback loop that creates imbalances in the necessary period hormones estrogen and progesterone. High levels of cortisol suppress reproductive hormones, leading to a lack of sex drive and menstrual irregularities (aka, menorrhoea).

The HPA axis is activated during a stressful situation to fuel the body’s natural fight-or-flight response. It also releases the primary stress hormone, cortisol, which suppresses gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the reproductive system. GnRH stimulates the pituitary gland to produce LH and FSH, which regulate ovulation and the production of estrogen and progesterone.

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When you have sex, your ovaries release both GnRH and LH, which is why sex can affect your menstrual cycle. Orgasms can also induce hormonal shifts in oxytocin, which decreases stress and may increase your libido during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, just before ovulation.

Increased Blood Pressure

Many factors can change your menstrual cycle and bleeding, including lifestyle, emotional, and medical. A late or missed period may be caused by many things, from a diet that’s too restrictive to stress and illness. Sexual arousal can cause your body to release hormones, and a change in any of these hormones may have an effect on your monthly flow.

Unprotected sex near the time of ovulation (Days 13-15 in most cycles) increases the risk of getting pregnant. This is especially true if the follicle that releases an egg is large. Unprotected sex can also delay the start of your period by a week or more.

Pregnancy can also cause your period to stop, and it’s important to get a positive pregnancy test before you have any further sexual activity. However, breastfeeding can sometimes slow the return of your period and menstrual cycles after pregnancy. If you’re concerned about irregular periods, talk to your healthcare provider. They can do a pelvic exam and Pap test to check for abnormalities. They may also run blood tests to check for low thyroid (hypothyroidism), uterine fibroids, and other conditions that can cause heavy bleeding or pain.

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Decreased Blood Sugar

While most women do not have a very regular menstrual cycle, it is important to tell your West Des Moines OBGYN about any irregularities. For example, if you have periods that are shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days, this could indicate other medical issues such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Also, if you have heavy bleeding that lasts more than 7 days or soaks sanitary products three to five times per day, you may be suffering from secondary dysmenorrhea (cramping pain caused by menstrual blood).

Additionally, it is important to track your periods and blood sugar levels with a period-specific blood sugar logging app like mySugr in order to find patterns and identify any changes that you might need to make to your diabetes management routine. This is especially true right before and during your period, when the progesterone levels drop quickly and insulin sensitivity can change dramatically from person to person. Your doctor can help you figure out how to manage these changes as you learn more about your body and your menstrual cycle.

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