Many women worry that having sex will change their period cycles. However, the most robust data shows that sex can affect your cycle only when you are within the fertile window around ovulation.
Having unprotected sex during this time increases your chances of pregnancy. It’s also when oestrogen peaks and libido naturally increases. However, there are many other factors that can impact your menstrual and sex drive.
Hormones control many aspects of the body, including the menstrual cycle. Some hormones increase during puberty and pregnancy, while others decrease. Many women also experience hormonal fluctuations as a result of an underlying health condition like thyroid disease or diabetes.
Sex and sexual arousal can trigger the release of certain hormones, such as oxytocin, which may make your period bleed slightly more or less than usual. However, these changes are small and temporary. Sexual arousal may also trigger the pelvic floor muscles to contract rhythmically, which can accelerate the shedding of the uterine lining. However, this isn’t exclusive to sex, as oral sex or masturbation can trigger the same effect.
In addition, sex can increase the likelihood of pregnancy if it happens during or around the fertile window, which is between Days 13-15 of the 28-day menstrual cycle. Unprotected sex during this time can cause the ovary to release an egg, which then moves into the fallopian tube where it can be fertilized. If fertilized, a missed period will be one of the first signs of pregnancy and spotting will occur throughout the rest of the pregnancy.
It’s important to remember that a late or missed period can also be caused by a variety of factors, such as pregnancy, medication, stress, illness, poor nutrition, and even certain foods and environmental toxins. If your periods are irregular, talk to your doctor about ways to get them back on track, such as birth control pills, a diet high in folic acid, or a hormone-regulating treatment like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
There’s been a lot of buzz about how having sex can change women’s periods and menstrual cycles, but there isn’t much scientific evidence to back it up. Some studies suggest that if you have unprotected sex during the follicular phase, or around the time of ovulation, it can increase your chances of getting pregnant. However, if you have sex during the luteal phase, or right after ovulation, it may reduce the risk of pregnancy because the follicle deflates and the oocyte moves into the fallopian tube.
Your sex drive will fluctuate throughout your cycle, and it’s likely that you’ll feel more interested in sex around ovulation. This is because estrogen and testosterone peak during this time, naturally increasing your libido. However, everyone’s libido is different, so it’s worth tracking your own sex drive to get a better understanding of what impacts your desire and arousal.
Sexual activity also increases the release of serotonin, a brain neurotransmitter that enhances mood and feelings of well-being. Orgasms can also trigger oxytocin, which some researchers think helps relieve cramps during menstruation. But more research is needed to see if these effects are significant.
While sexual arousal can cause changes in hormones, it’s unlikely to disrupt a whole cycle. That said, certain factors like pregnancy and prescription birth control can certainly make your period late or irregular. And long-term stress can impact how your body produces hormones, leading to an erratic menstrual cycle.
Many women notice their sex drive increases around ovulation, the day when the ovary releases a follicle that contains an egg. This is because the hormone oestrogen is at its peak during this time, naturally increasing libido. But orgasms may also produce oxytocin, which is thought to decrease stress and promote relaxation. Regular sex and a healthy diet can lower stress levels, which can also help your period.
A woman’s period may also be delayed because of a physical problem or health condition, such as thyroid issues. In addition, some teenagers get a delay because their hormones haven’t been fully tuned for working efficiently.
But in general, sex isn’t likely to cause a delay in your period unless you have a medical problem that could prevent ovulation from happening. For this reason, it’s best to talk with your doctor if you have concerns about your menstrual cycle and sex. Having the right information will keep you feeling more confident and prepared to handle your periods. The way sex feels can change throughout your cycle, too, depending on hormone shifts and your personal preferences. Tracking these fluctuations with Clue can give you a better understanding of what your body is experiencing.
Variations in Cycle Length
Each month, your body creates a new lining in the uterus to prepare for a potential pregnancy. If a fertilized egg doesn’t implant, this lining sheds and causes your period. The length of your cycle varies and can be anywhere from 25 to 31 days long. This variation is normal and does not signal a problem.
In fact, it’s common for a woman’s longest and shortest cycles to both occur within the same year. While it may seem inconvenient, it’s not dangerous to have a cycle of 27 days one month and 34 days the next.
When it comes to your ovulation and period, it’s your hormonal balance that matters most. If your hormones aren’t balanced, it can impact whether or not you ovulate and the time window in which you have a chance of pregnancy from unprotected sex.
Research into how lifestyle habits and patterns can affect your menstrual cycle is still relatively new. That’s why Jessica Grieger and Robert Norman, researchers from Adelaide University, teamed up with the fertility tracking app Flo to investigate how diet, stress levels, sleep, exercise and age can affect your cycle. They aggregated and anonymized data from 1.5 million Flo users and looked at their daily habits. They found that cycle length and follicular phase length decrease with age but there’s a wide range of variation in these variables.