Can Infection Stop Menstruation? 16 Important Facts

Can infection stop menstruation? It all depends on the kind of infection.  Some have severe effects, while others have a more moderate effect.

Whenever there is something related to periods or menstruation1, for some females it is normal but for many, it is a matter of concern. However, we can’t say that everything is pessimistic about periods.

Every month, women go through periods or menstruation. It is a normal and healthy part of women’s life.

Menstruation is nothing but the monthly bleeding from the uterus present in females. It is primarily the shedding of the inner linings of the uterus.

1. What is the Menstrual Cycle?

The menstrual cycle is the term used for the process where menstruation and ovulation 2occur, in women as well as in female primates.

One menstrual cycle is the period from a woman’s first day of menstruation to one day before the next period date.  The normal range of the menstrual cycle is 28 days but it may vary in different individuals.

The female reproductive system goes through various changes as soon as puberty hits.

Every month, one egg is released from the ovaries with mucus and blood, forming the menstrual flow.

1.1 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle

The menstrual cycle is divided into four phases. They are as follows:

  • Menstruation phase
  • Follicular phase
  • Ovulation phase
  • Luteal phase

1.2 Regularity of Periods

Every lady has a menstrual cycle that is distinctive to her physiology3. The menstrual cycle may prevail anywhere from 21 to 36 days.

The regular monthly menstrual cycle signifies that there is a proper hormonal balance of estrogen4, progesterone5, and testosterone in the body. It is a fine indicator that the woman has good reproductive health.

can infection stop menstruation
By Saranya7/ pixabay/ Copyright 2023

Irregular periods are nothing but the changing menstrual cycle length.  Though irregular menstruation or delayed periods are not always an indication of a problem, sometimes it is better to see a gynaecologist 6to know the root cause.

A general thumb rule is that a period is considered late if it is held off by five days or more.

Some of the reasons why menstruation can be delayed or stopped are as follows:

It is necessary to know that any stressor, whether physical or emotional, can alter the menstrual cycle and cause late periods.

2. Can a Yeast Infection Delay Your Period or Affect it in Any Way?

A healthy vagina contains a proper balance of bacteria and yeast. When normal vaginal pH7 disrupts or changes, then vaginal yeast infection occurs.

There is excess growth of the fungus candida that generally manifests as discharge, itching, irritation, and swelling of the vagina and vulva.

There is the possibility that high levels of estrogen during different phases of the menstrual cycle, before menstruation, can permit the overgrowth of candida. This can imbalance the yeast and bacteria ratio in a healthy vagina and thus causing yeast infection.

However, it is not scientifically proven that yeast infection can delay periods.

Other causes of yeast infections that may lead to menstrual irregularities are as follows:

  • Intake of Antibiotics,
  • Birth control pills,
  • Gestation,
  • Rampant diabetes and
  • Weak immune system.

3. Can Stress Delay Your Period?

There are various causes why a woman can miss her periods, or they might stop altogether. One of the major causes of this is stress.

In today’s hectic world, there is not even a single individual who does not have some kind of stress. A manageable amount of stress in life is considered normal but if it is exaggerated, whether it is mental or physical, it is harmful to health.

Stress can raise the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Intense physical, mental, or nutritional stress activates a chain reaction in the body and affects its metabolism.

It initiates changes in the activity of the brain and brain endocrine glands8 passing through the suprarenal gland. Here, cortisol and adrenaline are released into the bloodstream. Thus, they disrupt the hormonal balance of reproductive health.

Stress can make the menstrual cycle length longer and more painful or can make it cease completely.

4. Can a Bacterial Infection Delay Your Period?

Bacterial vaginosis or BV is a condition induced by a change in the levels of particular types of bacteria in the vagina which usually results in vaginal odour and discharge.

When there is an imbalance of healthy bacteria in the vagina, an individual becomes sensitive to bacterial vaginosis9. The most common bacteria found in the vagina is Gardnerella vaginalis.

BV occurs when there is a hormonal or pH imbalance in the vagina. Usually, the vaginal pH lies between 3.8 – 4.5 mostly acidic. But the menstrual blood has neutral pH of 7.4, which throws off the natural pH of the vagina and ultimately leads to infections like bacterial vaginosis.

4.1 Can BV Affect Menstruation?

Bacterial vaginosis does not affect hormones and, hence, does not cause any kind of disturbance in the menstrual cycle.

If BV is left untreated for a long time, then some serious health conditions may arise, like contracted pelvic inflammatory disease.

5. What Causes the Period to Miss a Month?

A late or missed period does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant. There could be other reasons as well.

Periods can be missed for a month, which could not always be pregnancy. The reason for missed periods for a month could be one of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Obesity
  • PCOS or PCOD
  • Losing body weight or weight gain
  • Specific Chronic diseases
  • Thyroid issue or
  • Early perimenopause.

6. You’re Experiencing Early Menopause

Perimenopause is the period that leads to menopause or it also means ‘around menopause’. It almost lasts for up to four years before menstruation stops thoroughly.

In perimenopause, the period may skip one month and come back on track for the coming next three months. Or, periods can be also skipped for three months in a row and may arrive unexpectedly, usually with heavier or lighter flow.

Perimenopause is also termed a menopausal transition. Females can start perimenopause at different ages, some may notice menstrual irregularities in their 40s while some in their mid-30s.

If there is a constant difference of seven days or more in the stature of a menstrual cycle, it indicates early perimenopause. And, if there is a length of two months or more between periods, it indicates late perimenopause.

7. You Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome is concerned with hormones that play a vital role in females’ reproductive health. A female with PCOS either does not have periods often or periods may last many days.

In PCOS, small sacs of fluid are forged along the ovary’s outer edge which is called a cyst, these cysts contain immature eggs, which are called follicles but these follicles fail to release eggs regularly every month.

In today’s generation, most women are confronting PCOS due to lifestyle changes. Most of the women diagnosed with PCOS are in their 20s or 30s which is reproductive age. This problem leads to difficulty in conceiving a child.

If PCOS is not treated well it may lead to certain health conditions like type 2 diabetes, infertility, etc.

8. Low Body Weight

Excessive or instantaneous weight loss can cause menses to be irregular or may also stop it completely.

8.1. How Does Weight Loss Affect Periods?

This occurs when parts of the brain, that are the hypothalamus and pituitary gland stop releasing hormones that influence the menstrual cycle. The medical term for this condition is hypothalamic amenorrhea, and it causes estrogen deficiency.

9. You’ve Been Getting Less Sleep Than Usual

PMS i.e. Premenstrual syndrome, is a vast combination of signs and symptoms that includes fatigue, mood swings, depression, cravings, irritability, breast tenderness, etc., which are experienced by most menstruating women.

Some researchers have conducted a survey in which it was found that about 30% of females experience disturbed sleep during menses, while females with PMS are likely to experience insomnia.

9.1 Hormones Impacting Sleep in the Menstrual Cycle

Around the menstrual cycle, hormonal levels peak and drop. A few days before the period progesterone level is at its peak but if fertilization does not occur, the level of progesterone drops and menstrual blood flows out.

After menstruation, the progesterone level again starts to rise. The drop in the progesterone level during the menstrual cycle is the only reason that makes it more difficult to sleep.

Progesterone is not the only hormone that impacts sleep. During menstruation, body temperature elevates to a certain degree, which disturbs the sleeping pattern.

This is caused because of estrogen levels in the body. The hypothalamus which regulates the body temperature is impacted by estrogen levels. Hot flashes and night sweats can be experienced if the estrogen level is low.

10. Your Birth Control

Stopping or delaying the periods by using birth control can also be termed as menstrual suppression. There are various methods for birth control, some are as follows:

  • The pills
  • Intrauterine devices
  • Patches
  • Implants
  • Vaginal rings and 
  • Shots
can infection stop menstruation
By PatriciaMoraleda/ pixabay/ Copyright 2023

All the above-mentioned birth controls impact the menstrual cycle and mense in different manners. However, some other birth control methods do not affect periods at all. They are as listed below:

  • Male condom
  • Female condom
  • Spermicide
  • Cervical cap
  • Diaphragm and
  • Contraceptive sponge.

All the above-mentioned birth control methods are effective if used correctly and do not affect menses or any kind of hormonal imbalance.

11. Could a Yeast Infection Medication Affect Your Period?

The short answer is ‘NO’. The yeast infection medication does not impact or affect the menstrual cycle.

Usually, miconazole (Monistat 3) and terconazole are the medicaments used to treat yeast infection and it does not have any wreck on periods. In rare and severe conditions, they may affect menstruation and might also stop menses.

12. You’re Breastfeeding

If a woman is breastfeeding, her menses may not return for considerable months after the delivery. This happens because prolactin, a hormone that causes the secretion of milk, prevents ovulation and thus also menstruation.

If a woman is breastfeeding her baby exclusively, her periods may not return for months or even more than 1-2 years if she keeps breastfeeding.

Once the periods return, they may be irregular for some duration or at least until lactating.

13. Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs)

STIs stand for Sexually transmitted infections that flare up primarily by any type of unprotected sexual contact. Some STIs can also be passed along during the gestation period, labour and lactating period and also through infected blood.

STIs have a significant hit on health. If they’re not treated, they can lead to severe consequences which include infertility, myocardial infarction and also an upsurge in the risk of HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus).

Some of the common types of STIs are-

  • Chlamydia
  • Genital herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Genital warts
  • Scabies and
  • Trichomoniasis.

13.1 Do STIs Affect Periods?

Most Sexually transmitted infections do not affect periods unless they advance to become a more severe infection.

However, some STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhoea may cause a difference in the menstrual cycle such as delayed or missed periods or bleeding in between.

A significant connection between periods and STIs does not exist.

14. Issues With Your Thyroid

The thyroid hormone does have a significant role in controlling the menstrual cycle. Excess or less secretion of thyroid hormone can impact the menstrual flow by making it heavy, light, or irregular.

Thyroid issues can certainly influence menses; they can halt periods for several months or more, resulting in a condition known as amenorrhea.

Severe cases may also lead to early menopause before the 40s. Hypothyroidism is likely to develop after menopause.

15. Exercising Factor

Your new exercise regimen could be depleting hormone levels that make your periods happen.

Exercise is always good for the body; the issue with hormones arises only when a person is not exercising at all or overdoing it. The common type of hormonal imbalance, occurring after exercising is as follows-

  • Low estrogen: Estrogen is produced in ovaries, adrenal glands and fat cells. When the female’s body fat level drops below 19%, she is at risk of low estrogen, and there is also a chance of absenteeism or irregularities during the period.
  • Low progesterone: When there is continual intense workout, sex hormone production pales into insignificance to cortisol with this mechanism, progesterone can take the prominent bang. A low level of progesterone can shorten the woman’s menstrual cycle, making it irregular and can even stop menstruation.
  • High androgen: When the body is stressed with exercise, the adrenal glands increase cortisol production, and the androgen gets pumped out. Excess androgen production hinders ovulation and the period cycle and may cause infertility and PCOS.

16. You Used Emergency Contraception Sometime in the Past Few Months

Emergency contraceptive pills are hormonal contraceptives that contain hormones known as levonorgestrel, these pills help to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual activity. It typically delays ovulation.

can infection stop menstruation
By GabiSanda/pixabay/ Copyright 2023

The effect of emergency contraceptive pills depends on the phase of the woman’s menstrual cycle in which the pills are taken. In some women, it causes late periods. While in others, it shows the reverse effect in form of the early arrival of periods. These are the ordinary side effects of emergency contraceptive pills. So, there is no need to be concerned.

17. Conclusion

Regular periods are a sign of a healthy reproductive system and good hormonal balance. Though sometimes there are hormonal changes that make periods irregular, there are several other reasons for menstrual irregularities. If the infection spreads in reproductive health are not treated suitably they may stop periods altogether in severe conditions.

Usually, a slight change in the menstrual cycle is not a matter of concern but if it is a drastic change with extremely painful periods, you must contact the gynaecologist right away.

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Last Updated on by Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology

Authors

Sakshi Dhande
Sathi Chakraborty, MSc Biology

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