Expert advice

Rebecca Martin: fertility expert

Rebecca Martin is a Naturopath and Herbalist who specialises in reproductive health. Rebecca consults and presents for various health sectors alongside working in her Sydney city practice, CBD Natural Health.

Travel affecting your cycle

Thursday, September 20, 2007
Travel and in particular long-haul flights can affect your cycle, delaying ovulation and hence your period.

Question:
I have recently returned from a holiday overseas (of two weeks), it would have started at about day 14 of my cycle. I am now at day 30 and think I may have ovulated late. This is not normal for me as I normally ovulate around day 15 and my period starts about day 29. I track my cycles. Could travel overseas cause my cycle to be longer and ovulation later?

Answer:
Travel and in particular long-haul flights can affect your cycle, delaying ovulation and hence your period. The female menstrual cycle is a complex system of interactions involving the brain and endocrine system and it is well known that stress can disturb this balance.

You may not think going on holidays is stressful, but consider the frenzy and anticipation that often precedes a holiday. For some the actual flight can be a stressful experience — apart from flying fears, there's lack of sleep, dehydration and aeroplane food. Combine these factors with the change in routine on holidays and it's little wonder the body can get confused.

It is also known that flying through several time zones disrupts the body's biorhythms. While this commonly causes jet lag, it may also explain higher incidences of cycle irregularity among intercontinental aircraft staff, as observed in several studies.


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