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Travel and Periods – How Traveling Affects Your Period

Travel and Your Periods

In this article, you will learn how travel can affect your period, including why irregular periods and missed periods can be common when you’ve been traveling. 

Travel can affect your period, just like any other “lifestyle change.” Even though your travels are temporary, it is still a disruption in your normal routine. Because the hormones that rule your menstrual cycle can be sensitive to anything new – from stress to your change in eating habits – you can have a delayed period and sometimes, even a missed period – due to your travels.

International travel, in which your body undergoes more of a shock, can definitely cause more of an upheaval to your menstrual cycle than a short weekend trip.

So, how does traveling affect your period?

When you travel, especially overseas or to another city far away from where you normally live, where there is a dramatic time change, your regular internal biological clock – or the circadian rhythm – gets thrown off. This is called jet lag and it can cause all kinds of problems – from irritability, exhaustion and fatigue, stomach problems, and even lack of appetite.

Your circadian rhythm influences hormone release and other important bodily functions, so when your rhythm is off, this can affect the hormones – such as estrogen and progesterone – that play a key role in ovulation and your menstrual cycle. There might not be an estrogen spike that leads up to ovulation, or perhaps the estrogen spike is delayed due to the change in your body’s rhythm, so you will have a later period than normal that month.


Flying and Periods

Rapid air travel – flying – across different time zones can expose your biological clock, or circadian rhythm, to shift and can lead to major jet lag. For example, one study, published in the Journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine indicated that you have sleep disturbances in 70% of the time after crossing a time zone. This major disruption in your circadian rhythm can have major affects on your period.

In fact, in the same study, it stated that it was well documented that female flight attendants were commonly known to have irregular menstrual cycles.

Stress, Travel and Periods

Your menstrual cycle is also very sensitive to stress. Traveling – as fun as it is – can come with a crazy ton of stress. From the packing frenzy of figuring out what to pack, what time to arrive at the airport or to leave your home to get to your location, taking a trip comes with much stress.

Changes in Diet and Exercise

When you travel, your diet often changes, depending on your location. For example, you may suddenly forget to grab breakfast or you decide to delight in eating the local food, which may be different than what you are normally used to. You may be eating more carbs and breads than you typically do. Your diet may not change for the best, and this lifestyle change can affect your period, your hormones, and how you feel.

You probably aren’t working out or exercise as you normally do, either. And this can have an impact on your periods.

Yes, Traveling Can Delay Your Period

The bottom line – If you have been traveling and your period is suddenly late this month, there’s definitely a chance that it’s the jet lag, combined with the change in your eating habits, and the stress that comes with traveling that are causing your delayed period.

But you should definitely take a home pregnancy test, just to be sure.

About the author: DP Nguyen is founder and editor of Hip Chick’s Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies. She’s an expert pregnancy and women’s health blogger. She is NOT a medical doctor and does NOT offer medical advice. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • Evs November 4, 2017, 2:34 am

    I got periods after 9 days of travel,,, it really afect periods,,,soo much streess,, tuk prenancy test n cme out negative

  • Alice Teacake July 30, 2017, 11:08 pm

    I travel continuously and have found my period really does change – so many factors are involved in that: diet, exercise, time zones and stress. I use a period tracking app to record when I’m menstruating to really keep on top of things and I find this helps. I also use menstrual cups so I can see how light or heavy my flow is.

  • Donna mona July 5, 2017, 11:21 pm

    This article helped me a lot, I’ve been struggling with my period because I’m almost 1 week late, I just came here in US from Phil 1 and half month ago, I got my period for the month of may last may 31 after that I never gotten until now I am about week delayed.

  • Kitana February 8, 2017, 11:31 am

    I had started my period while on vacation in Puerto Rico On January 6th 2017, it was normal. When i came back i had unprotected sex – not for the first time but he ever ejaculated inside of me. I’m now 2 days late i had all the symptoms you know, bloating and tender breasts and headache i dont know pf this traveling thing has affected me or something else..?

  • Jenn January 13, 2017, 8:27 am

    I was travelling in Bali in september and europe in october and november and my period was so regular that NASA could have set its clocks by my cycle. However i came to thailand and im almost 2 weeks late. Took two pregnancy tests which came out negative. So strange. Thanks for the information!

  • Kul January 5, 2017, 1:42 pm

    hi
    I have my period date 6 desemba Africa then travel to overseas then my period usually come to 2 January. But in danger day I was have sex with my huby plz its normal or

  • Henrietta December 14, 2016, 10:35 am

    Your cranium must be pricettong some very valuable brains.

  • Anela December 11, 2016, 3:40 am

    So I had unprotected sex. I wasnt the first time. He never released in me. I was bloated days before I usually start. My chest got the trenderness. Only one day late now. I did travel from Mississippi to two hrs back time difference, California. But I haven’t had my peruI was stressed this past week but I never miss the exact day

  • kiv October 15, 2016, 6:26 pm

    Travelled to the uk in august 2016 period lasted a month light flow, few days later it started again this tims heavy flow lasted about 2 weeks now it’s back October 10th normal-heavy. Went to a walk in clinic and was told i need a blood test and that they can’t carry out the test there . I am also hypothyroid. Could this be climate or some other health issue? Visiting my doctor soon as i get back to my country

  • Nicole October 6, 2016, 7:45 am

    My last period was late August 2016 so my period supposed to come late September ,Today is now October 6th and no period still. I travelled on 08/31 and my other habbits were thrown off like what i was eating …how regular i was going to the bathroom but I never knew that it would have an effect on my period. I hope this is the case….I took a pregnancy test and it was negative but I still feel uneasy

  • Cassie October 3, 2016, 7:04 am

    I had depro shot and 2 weeks before i traveled to africa was supposed to be when i should of had another shot but I didn’t because it caused me depression. I then finally got a 3 day light period the first week of my travels. 5 weeks later i never got a period. I had sex the last night of my holiday and then took the morning after pill which was the day i was flying back to Australia. Still had not got a period. And now 3 and a half weeks later i still have no period. So its been 8 weeks since. Is this because of travels or could i have fallen pregnant that last night of my holiday even though i took the morning after pill. Im also taking anti maleria medication. Have been for 8 weeks now.

  • Sophia September 22, 2016, 2:38 am

    Hiii
    I have just moved abroad and it has been pretty stressful to adjust in Spanish lifestyle I am 4 days late now

  • Kiko September 20, 2016, 2:34 pm

    I travelled on an 18 hour flight and with 8 hours time difference. My periods delayed by 6 days.

  • Kiko September 20, 2016, 2:33 pm

    I had 18 hours flight time and 8 hours difference. My periods delayed with 6 days.

  • Ezie July 20, 2016, 10:23 am

    This site really helps. I am freaking out now, I supposed to have my period on the 18th. I have a regular cycle. I and my husbnad went to Hongkong-Macau, Macau-Hongkong, HK- Malaysia, Malaysia-Singapore, SG- Malaysia then going back to the Philippines after after weeks. We did alot of walking since we arent familiar of those places. During those vacations almost everyday we did 20,000 steps onwards, eating variety of foods, stress, sleeping late and
    my routine was entirely changed from the usual. Now that Im finally home I expect to have my cycle on the 18th its 20th now and its late. Im freaking out. Would our travels affects my period? Pls advice.

    • Bliss December 6, 2016, 11:07 pm

      This is entire article is about how traveling can affect your cycle so I would think the answer is yes. Also HK-Macau is only like 1 hr away so I don’t know how much that would affect anything.

  • koko June 11, 2016, 8:44 am

    I had travelled to London and Europe last month (May). it was a 15 days trip. my periods are late by 9 days now. how can I normalize my biological clock?

    • Louisa December 14, 2016, 11:34 pm

      There is a critical shortage of invmoratife articles like this.

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  • Lici May 21, 2016, 6:48 pm

    I had unprotected sex but it was basically only in and out bc of fear of pregnancy. Almost three weeks later I have travelled from USA to Africa. My period is going on 7 days late. I have weeks of not eating and weeks over-eating to the point of pain, as I model. Also taking malaria medicine now for the trip.

    • Desiree May 23, 2016, 12:27 am

      You sound like an adult woman. Take a pregnancy test if you think you may be pregnant. None of us can tell you. Don’t be in denial about it…just take the test.

  • Harriet December 20, 2015, 6:07 pm

    Hi
    I traveled from uganda to us in july but since then i haven’t seen my periods it normally

  • tilly December 4, 2015, 8:59 am

    yes it is normal I get bad cramps all the time you just need to get some painkillers for it or suck it up

  • suchitra November 30, 2015, 4:25 am

    hi

    i had an protected sex last month & on the end of nov i travelled to india from usa…my period date on 2nd decmbr…now m having liquid ,clear discharge from vagiana….i usually hv leg pain as sympotm for the period to get started..so pls suggest if there is any need to get worried or it will be normal like other month?

  • Slim November 24, 2015, 12:55 pm

    I came from Georgia to New York last Tuesday and my period came like 5 days early Thursday .. Usually by now day 6 I’ll be done.. But am still flowing heavy n it’s really getting frustrating … Does jet lag also effects the flow?

  • Fajr November 17, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I am a 1st year medical student doing mbbs in bangladesh.it has been almost a year and i got only my first two periods and i am also taking OCP as i am a typical PCOS patient.i took other medicines also which my doctor prescribed but still i am not getting my periods..plz tell me what should i do..plzz plzz

    • Cathy December 14, 2016, 10:58 am

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  • Arwini October 24, 2015, 1:07 pm

    My cycle was thrown off after taking the Depo shot. My cycle had been like clock work, the 12th of every month lasting 5 days. After Depo it took 6 months to get my cycle back. 3 days really light bleeding. 10 months to get a full on cycle. But it has been anywhere from 23 to 34 day cycles.

  • sweite July 23, 2015, 5:54 pm

    hi.

    two months back on may 20 i came to canada from india at at that time i had got infection and after taking medicine i have got periods on may 27, but till now i didn’t get m period. i have consult doctor she told because of jetlag it was delay in your period. how many days can jet lag affect the periods.

  • aleaxandra June 26, 2015, 10:51 am

    Does it apply for women who are on the pill ?

  • Jamila Gultepe June 18, 2015, 7:34 pm

    I am almost on my period for 1 week. I am on birth control. I just want it to stop

  • Shivani June 9, 2015, 1:54 am

    Hi,

    I would like to knw does time zone effect the mensuration like bad cramps and all.As I came to us from India 15 days ago..and I my periods come on regular Bases but I got bad cramps on 2 nd and 3rd day …please tell me is it normal..

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