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How Addiction Affects Your Period

woman suffering from addiction

Most women can empathize with the discomforts that can accompany one’s period. The Mayo Clinic asserts that one’s menstrual flow typically occurs every twenty-one to thirty-five days and can last between two to seven days long. Needless to say, for many women that time of the month is not necessary the easiest part of the month. Women that struggle with addiction have an additional layer of not only discomfort while menstruating, but could also be faced with serious effects to her period and reproductive health. Substance abuse and addiction can affect all areas of one’s life. It can lead to a plethora of short and long-term physical complications, relationship challenges, financial strain, legal issues, and difficultly maintaining employment. Addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). A person that struggles with addiction will prioritize her addiction and satisfying her drug and/ or alcohol cravings above all else in her life. 

Your Period

Menstruation (also known as having your period) is when blood from your uterus drips out of your vagina. Though every woman’s body is different, usually females around age twelve begin to have monthly periods. Some women have extremely regular menstrual cycles, while others may experience irregular menstrual cycles. There are a variety of different symptoms that can manifest when menstruating, and the combination and severity of symptoms will be unique to each woman. Some common period symptoms could include any combination of the following examples as provided by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Bloating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sore breasts
  • Exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Breaking out 
  • Headaches

The symptoms could manifest before you start your period and could last until you are finished bleeding for the month. Addiction can have an adverse effect on the regularity of your menstrual cycle. It can also exacerbate your uncomfortable period symptoms, leading them to be more pronounced, last longer and/ or worsen. 

There are certain substances that can have a greater effect on your period than others. Cocaine, for example, is known to be one of the most common illegal substances that can greatly affect your period. Reports have indicated that cocaine abuse can interfere with sex hormone levels in one’s body, disrupt the menstrual cycle and could stop ovulation altogether. Hence, someone that is addicted to cocaine could in theory go several months without a regular period, or not even get their period at all. Persistent and prolonged cocaine abuse could also result in damage to the fallopian tubes, which could affect one’s ability to conceive a child in the future. Addiction to other substances can cause other menstrual complications, some more severe than others.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous, and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at: info@friendlyhousela.org.

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