A Gyno Shares Why Summer Periods Can Feel Different

Fact: Being a woman is so empowering. *Sings Beyoncé lyrics, "Who run the world? Girls," while simultaneously dancing on a desk chair.* Real talk, though, womanhood comes with a lot, but today we're talking about one specific part of being a woman: menstrual cycles. Every month, Mother Nature likes to remind us she's alive and thriving. Some people dread that time of the month, but I embrace it. I remember being so excited and a little scared when it first came into my life during my pre-teen years. My mom taught me to view my period as a beautiful sign of maturity, and now, I usually try to view PMS as a good excuse to prioritize self-care and eat a tub of ice cream if I feel like it.

However, recently, I've been experiencing taxing side effects. This summer, my period symptoms have skyrocketed. Seriously, my cramps have been at an all-time high, my flow is way heavier, and my mood is oh so testy during that time of the month. I've been curious if my unbearable period symptoms are affected by summer's heat, or if it's something unrelated to the season entirely.

Science says that stress is one of the most common causes of irregular periods. According to this study, women under stress are 25 times more likely to have severe cycle symptoms. This study reports that stress can also lead to other adverse effects like missed periods from something called secondary amenorrhea. I have, admittedly, been feeling quite a bit of stress recently, so I reached out to Anate Brauer, MD, a fertility specialist and ob-gyn at Greenwich Hospital to learn more about how stress and seasonal shifts might be affecting my cycle.