Traveling can cause a lot of issues within your body. Jet lag can make you feel super tired, and the pressure of flying can do some serious damage to your ears if you’re unable to equalize them. Both flying and traveling by a vehicle on the ground can give you all kinds of not-so-fun digestive problems — most of which probably have to do with food choices (but obviously the best part of road trips is snacks, soooo).
But there’s something else that can happen to your body while traveling that you may not be aware of — it can totally mess with your period.
As it turns out, “Traveling across different time zones and being exposed to light at unusual times of the day messes with your circadium rhythms, throwing off your body clock and triggering hormonal changes – and strangely, the symptoms getting stronger the further east you travel,” according to Marie Claire.
Periods are really sensitive (you’ve probably noticed your period syncing up to the close women in your life), so sudden changes in environment, added to the stress of traveling, change in diet and change in sleep patterns can throw your menstrual cycle off. Sometimes your body might skip your period altogether if it’s under too much stress.
But don’t worry. Your period will most likely resume to its regularly scheduled program in the following month. So unless you’re actively trying to get pregnant, or can’t deal with the idea (and scariness) of your period potentially being late, the period changes shouldn’t affect you too much.
There isn’t a definitive way to avoid period changes, but there are some ways to try keep your body stress-free while traveling. Find a way to exercise daily, eat a healthy diet and maintain a regular sleep cycle. And if you can throw in some yoga and hot baths, that’ll help too. But obviously traveling doesn’t always allow for those things. So do what you can, and if your period gets out of whack, at least you’ll know why!