Your Period and Lupus: What’s The Connection?
11 May 2023
The autoimmune disease lupus impacts the body in so many way and your period can be affected. In this blog we will explore what you can do to help manage the effects when your period starts.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that cause your immune system to attack healthy tissues and organs. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including fatigue, joint pain, rashes, and even organ damage. The disease affects many systems of the body. The exact cause of the disease is unknown, but it's believed to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Can Lupus Affect Your Period?
Yes, lupus can affect your period as it disrupts the normal functioning of your reproductive system. One common effect is inter-menstrual bleeding, where you experience bleeding mid month. This can be quite bothersome and may require medical attention.
It will require you to keep supplies of period protection on hand at all times. Keeping period undies at the ready can save you money and keep you more comfortable. They can be worn and then washed and reused. There will be no more wearing and wasting single use products like disposable pads and tampons 'just in case'.
For most, once your disease is under control the effects on your menstruation settles down.
"Great pants. I bought some brief style cheeky pants. I have a contraceptive implant and can get spotting at random times during the month. The pants are lovely looking and super comfy. Much fresher and more environmentally friendly than using pads. Think I will get some more pairs and use them as my ‘every day’ pants. I really do recommend them" Gemma, Feb '21 trustpilot
Can Lupus Cause Irregular Periods?
Yes, both anecdotal experience and scientific studies suggest that lupus can cause irregular periods or for them to stop altogether. People living with lupus report that it can cause bleeding between periods - intermenstrual bleeding. Scientific evidence backs this up.
Hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and the overall impact on your body can disrupt the usual pattern of your menstrual cycle. If you notice irregular bleeding or missed menstrual periods, it's important to discuss them with your healthcare provider.
Can Lupus Cause Heavy Periods?
Yes, it's believed that lupus can cause heavy periods, or at least be a contributing factor. Scientific research has shown a correlation between lupus and increased heavy menstrual bleeding.
Factors such as blood clotting problems, hormonal imbalances, and inflammation may contribute to heavier periods in people with lupus. It is important to seek medical advice if you have abnormally heavy periods. This is to rule out other potential causes and manage the symptoms effectively.
"I love all my Cheeky products! The period pants are the best out there and by using them along with the cotton pads, I’ve been able to ditch throwaway products completely! I find the pads and pants so much more comfortable/reliable than tampons and disposable pads and less irritating too. My most recent purchase was a couple of larger wet bags to use for swimwear, just perfect! " Melissa, May '23 trustpilot
Advice for Managing Lupus and Your Period
Here are some tips and advice for managing lupus and your period:
- Heated pads or hot water bottles: Applying heat to your lower abdomen can help alleviate menstrual cramps and discomfort.
- Eating iron-rich foods: Heavy periods can lead to anaemia so it is important to include iron in your diet. Leafy greens, lean meats, and legumes are excellent sources.
- Taking regular breaks: Lupus can cause fatigue and overall discomfort so it important to listen to your body and take breaks. Pace yourself and prioritise self-care during your period.
- Invest in reusable period pants for heavy days. This will give you extra protection and peace of mind. Consider using additional protection such as washable pads as well.
- People with lupus may receive advice from their GP to use long-acting reversible hormonal contraception. This can help to regulate their cycle and bleeding.
- Birth control pills with combined hormones are not suitable for people with active disease. They are also not suitable for people at risk of blood clots.
Understanding the connection between your period and lupus can help you navigate this aspect of your health with greater awareness. While lupus can disrupt your menstrual cycle, it's important to remember that everyone's experience is unique.
By staying informed, seeking medical guidance, and implementing self-care strategies, you can better manage your cycle while living with lupus. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and there are resources available to support you. Stay strong and take care of yourself where possible.
If you found this blog helpful you may like to read our blog -
Period leaks: Why they happen and how to stop them
A beginners guide to reusable period pads
The beginners guide to period undies
As always, if you're unsure of what you need to make the switch, please do drop the team a line or use the online chat function. The team all use the products themselves and just LOVE to chat pee poo and periods, all day long, nothing is TMI and we all love to overshare based on our own experiences...
About the Author: Kirstin Scriven is part of the Customer Experience team at Cheeky Wipes, which since 2008 has been selling the original reusable wipes kit. She is mum to three kids and loves the forest, the sea and the hills!
Along with the rest of our crack team, she spends most days talking about poo, pee and periods and loves a chance to overshare. Cheeky wipes were recognised with a Queens Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2021, celebrating their hard work over the last 13 years.