How Can Traveling Affect Your Period?

Traveling is an exciting experience to explore the beauty of the world, meet new people, and make lifetime memories. However, for all females, a hidden companion that travels alongside them is their periods, which adds a twist to these adventurous trips. You might have noticed menstrual irregularities associated with your traveling history.

Yes! Traveling affects your periods. Sometimes these effects might go unnoticed or confused with something else but traveling leaves an impact on your menstrual health.

What are the negative effects of traveling on normal menstruation?

Following are the disturbances that traveling causes:

  • Irregular period
  • Delayed period
  • Lighter period
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Dysmenorrhea (painful period)
  • Amenorrhea (stoppage of period)
  • Emotional disturbances (mood swings, anxiety, and irritability).

How does traveling impact the menstrual cycle?

The two main culprits behind menstrual abnormalities due to traveling are a disturbed circadian clock and increasing stress levels. However, various factors ultimately negatively affect periods. These include changing dietary habits, poor sleep, lack of exercise, and hormonal disturbances. All of them are interconnected with the circadian clock, so it is principally a vicious cycle that ends up disturbing the menstrual cycle.

Jet lag and disrupted circadian rhythm/clock

Traveling across different time zones can disrupt your circadian rhythm, which is the internal biological clock. The primary factor affecting the circadian rhythm during travel is rapid changes in light and darkness exposure. When you enter a new time zone, your body’s internal clock desynchronizes from the local time. This mismatch is commonly referred to as jet lag.

Jet lag can disturb hormone production and regulation, impacting the menstrual cycle. The body needs time to adjust to the new time zone, and during this adjustment, menstrual irregularities may occur.

This disrupted circadian rhythm alters the release of sex hormones: gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). All of these control the menstrual cycle, and this is how fluctuating hormones can cause irregular periods with various abnormalities.


Stress is something that accompanies every aspect of life. Traveling is often associated with the stress and anxiety of going from one place to another, adjusting to new routines, encountering new places, meeting new people, and facing various other challenges.

Stress during traveling can disrupt the normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. Stress stimulates the release of cortisol, a hormone that helps the body respond during a fight or flight situation. Cortisol can decrease or completely stop the release of sex hormones named GnRH, FSH, and LH. This leads to decreased or retarded ovarian function, hence causing delayed or skipped periods.

For those with pre-existing menstrual disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis, stress can exacerbate the symptoms and further disrupt the menstrual cycle.

Changed sleep pattern

When you move to a new place, sleep is most affected. You might not adjust to different weather conditions, find your bed uncomfortable, or simply face difficulty sleeping.

All the physical and psychological factors, including disrupted circadian rhythms, cause disturbances in sleep schedules. You might experience difficulty sleeping at night or have daytime sleepiness. Sleep disturbances disrupt the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.

Altered dietary habits

Diet routines are disrupted due to different time zones. Irregular meal timings or skipping meals can cause blood sugar levels to spike or drop, upsetting hormones.

Traveling to new areas exposes women to different spices, ingredients, recipes, and dishes. This can lead to abdominal discomfort, stomach issues, indigestion, and altered gut functions. These gastrointestinal disturbances indirectly cause hormonal and menstrual problems.

Exercise deprivation

People usually have fixed exercise routines, whether they prefer walking, jogging, or going to the gym. Exercise helps regulate hormones.

During a trip, people often neglect their fitness and exercise routines. This lack of exercise can disturb the hormonal cycle, alter blood sugar levels, decrease dopamine, and increase the risk of gastrointestinal issues. All of these can affect the menstrual cycle.

How to manage periods while traveling?

Maintaining and managing your menstrual cycle while traveling can be quite a challenging task. However, if proper measures are ensured on your side, your body will be a loyal partner and reward you with regular periods.

Here are some tips to manage and maintain a regular menstrual cycle while on a journey:

Period kit

Make yourself a period kit or bag that includes all essential items necessary for periods during traveling. You can pack this kit by yourself. Make sure that it contains all accessories that you might need during the trip, it should have the following:

  • Pads, tampons, or menstrual cups; all according to your preference, but take more than you think you might need to avoid any stress during the journey.
  • Underwear 
  • Intimate wipes
  • Waste disposal bags
  • Sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Gentle cleanser
  • Ziploc bag.

Choose the absorbency you need based on your flow. Try super tampons with a liner or pad as backup on heavy days. Do not forget nighttime pads too! While traveling, keep your kit easily accessible, not buried deep in your suitcase.

Keep up with routine

Discipline is the primary secret to overall well-being, either physically or biologically. Have a proper routine, make a schedule, arrange your tasks, prioritize your health, and most importantly, stick to your routine.

Don’t forget your routine even if you go on a relaxing vocational trip. Have a healthy diet, exercise, eat on time, sleep on time, rise early, and have good thoughts.

Be organized

You should keep yourself prepared for upcoming hardships that might come in the form of delayed or painful periods. Have all your items packed with you to prevent any further problems. It is better to be prepared and have more than you think you will need, especially if you are going to a destination where such products may not be readily available or accessible.

Carry over-the-counter pain relief medication like ibuprofen or paracetamol to manage any pain you may experience. Have some multivitamins or supplements in your traveling bag, and you are ready to go!

Comfortable clothing

Don’t opt for fancy or aesthetic clothing if you are on your period. Comfort should be your priority. Put on clothes that are soft, loose, and allow proper circulation of air to prevent moisture and chafing.

Avoid stress

Do everything you can to prevent stress. Plan things accordingly. Time management should be practiced. Schedule in advance so that nothing goes out of the way. And even after all that, if you experience some anticipatory stress, try some relaxing techniques like yoga, meditation, and calming therapies.

Maintain a healthy sleep pattern

Party hard, but don’t forget to ensure a proper 8 hours of sleep. Consistent and adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle. No matter how busy your schedule is, maintain a consistent sleep-wake pattern.

Sleep at the same time and rise early at the same time daily. This will help you synchronize your body functions with a 24-hour day. Ensure a proper sleeping environment; you can also practice some sleep therapies such as deep relaxation techniques.

Healthy diet

Gut health is crucial as it provides fuel for the proper functioning of the whole body. Eat healthy food with well-balanced nutrients. Avoid too much fat, junk food, and unhygienic food. Eat meals at regular times and be consistent in your meal timings.


It is important to do the fitness exercises that you normally practice in your daily routine. Or, if you are too lazy or occupied with work, at least do some stretches or take some time for a morning walk.

Avoid salt

During menstruation, salt and water may be retained in some conditions. So, avoid consuming too much salt or salty foods. Consider eating potassium-rich foods instead, such as bananas, spinach, and avocados.

Stay hydrated

Aim for a daily water intake of around 2 to 3 liters to stay hydrated and alert. Drinking ample amounts of water during periods helps prevent bloating. Drink clean water to ensure the proper flushing of toxic substances from the body.

Sustain hygiene

Keep yourself and your body clean. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and avoid touching contaminated surfaces. Bathe regularly. If water is not available, have sanitizer or wipes with you. Additionally, it is important to maintain menstrual hygiene.

Focus on self-care

Taking care of your overall well-being is essential for menstrual health. Find time to relax, engage in activities you enjoy, and prioritize self-care practices. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Connect with nature and enjoy moments with yourself.

Plan your trip accordingly

If possible, set up your travel plans keeping in mind your expected period date. It is helpful to plan a trip just after your period to avoid menstrual bleeding during your trip.

The period tracker at Menstrual Portal also helps you to predict your period dates.

Seek medical advice

If you are on birth control pills or if you have any other menstrual abnormalities like PCOS, consult your healthcare professional and get a management plan.

Menstrual Portal also offers free online consultation, regarding all your menstrual health queries.

How to delay your period on a trip?

There might be a much-awaited family or a business trip and you might think about delaying your periods, it is a choice that should be opted for as a last resort and not as the first idea that comes to mind. You should consider delaying periods only if it is necessary. Below are some methods to delay your expected date of menstruation:

Hormonal birth control pills

Hormones come in the form of various pills, which are taken as a contraceptive method to avoid pregnancy.

Progestin (norethisterone), a synthetic form of the progesterone hormone, is used to delay the periods. It can delay periods for up to 17 days. It mimics the action of natural progesterone, preventing progesterone levels from falling.

Progesterone prevents further egg maturation and also stops the shedding of the uterine lining, known as menstrual bleeding. Start taking progestin pills 3 days before the expected period date and continue taking them for 20 days. After stopping progestin, periods usually start in a few days.

Progestin is primarily safe but should not be used regularly, and also, progestin alone cannot act as a contraceptive.

Progestin can be taken independently or in combination with estrogen as the combined contraceptive pill. Combined contraceptive pills cannot be taken just before your due period’s date; they must be taken back-to-back to extend periods. Some of the combined contraceptive pills are Yasmin, Cilest, and Rigevidon.

Other contraceptive methods

This category includes birth control patches and vaginal rings, which are commonly used as contraceptives but can also be used for delaying periods. These are less common than hormonal pills.

Natural Home remedies

There are many natural ways to delay periods but there is limited scientific evidence to support their efficacy hence should not be expected to be accurate. Also overdoing these might have possible side effects. Following are some natural ways to get your periods late:

  • Drinking lemon juice
  • Gelatin mixed with water
  • Apple cider vinegar mixed with warm water, should be consumed 12 days before the expected period
  • Eating cucumbers 
  • Watermelon 
  • Powdered gram lentils mixed in warm water
  • Drinking cinnamon tea
  • Heavy exercise
  • Avoiding spicy foods.

What if someone is already on hormonal birth control?

If someone is already on hormonal birth control therapy, the effects of traveling on periods are minimal or unnoticeable. This is due to consistent hormone levels. Hormonal birth control pills contain progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) and estrogen combined or only progestin.

This intake keeps levels of these hormones well controlled, resulting in lighter, shorter, and more predictable periods. Circadian rhythms affect the body’s natural hormone production and release, so disturbances in circadian rhythms will not impact these levels, as they are supplied externally through oral intake.

Changing the time zone will impact the timing of taking the pills, so it is important to continue taking pills according to your original local time zone and not adjust to your new location’s time zone; otherwise, it will disturb the hormone balance.

How to maintain your menstrual hygiene while traveling?

Traveling is a lot of fun, but your mood might be spoiled by upcoming periods during your trip. Don’t worry; we will guide you through the best hygiene tips to provide a hassle-free and comfortable trip experience. Maintaining proper hygiene during your periods is important to avoid any infection, contamination, and complications.

Here are the tips you should follow during your travels:

Take hand wash with you

Hand wash is an essential product during traveling. Many public bathrooms do not have any sort of soap or hand wash. Even if available, it is best to avoid using them, as you might get an infection from communal use.

Dispose of products properly

After using pads, tampons, or cups, place them in waste bags and throw them in the dustbin. If dustbins are not available, keep the waste with you until you find a suitable disposal site.

Bathe regularly

Bathe regularly to rid your body of sweat and any germs you may have come into contact with.


When using public toilets, take special care due to the potential for infection from unhygienic conditions. Consider using a seat cover to avoid direct contact with a potentially dirty seat.

Dietary hygiene

Avoid eating food from local stalls or unhygienic restaurants. Always wash your hands before eating, and if possible, prepare your own meals to ensure proper hygiene.

Evaluate your Menstruation Hygiene

Picture showing different menstruation products

Water-disinfectant drop capsules

In many tourist regions, clean water is not readily available. Disinfectant drop capsules can be used to purify water, so it is a good idea to have some on hand.

These are just a few steps you should follow to enjoy a healthy trip, even during your period, and prevent any sort of infection or illness. Maintaining proper menstrual hygiene while traveling is essential for comfort, cleanliness, and overall well-being.

Can I drive while on my period?

Driving during your period is generally considered safe and does not pose any significant risk. However, certain safety measures should be taken to prevent any potential issues:

  • Plan your journey in advance
  • Bring all essential items with you if you are driving to a distant place
  • Carry painkillers to alleviate any discomfort or cramps
  • Take breaks to rest and recharge
  • Consume healthy foods to prevent digestive disturbances while driving
  • Ensure you are in a comfortable position while driving.

Frequently asked questions

Is delaying periods considered safe?

Yes, delaying periods is generally safe when done with professional guidance and when taking the prescribed dosage. Safety depends on an individual’s history, suitability, and underlying conditions, so it is strongly advised to seek a doctor’s advice.

When taken inappropriately, certain side effects such as irregular/breakthrough bleeding, nausea, headaches, and stomach upset may occur.

Is it okay to travel by train or plane during periods?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to travel by train or plane during periods. By taking care of your personal needs, staying hydrated, maintaining hygiene, and wearing comfortable outfits, you can ensure a stress-free journey.

Is there a buildup of blood in the uterus that is not shed due to delayed periods?

While taking hormonal pills to postpone periods, there is no buildup of blood in the uterus. This is because estrogen and progesterone pills prevent the thickening of the uterine lining, and hence there is no blood that needs to be shed.

How long can jet lag delay your period?

The exact length of the delay varies from female to female and depends on several factors, including the women’s overall health, stress levels, and the severity and duration of the jet lag.

For some females, jet lag might not have any noticeable effect on their menstrual cycle, while for others, it could result in a delay of several days or even longer.

Can traveling make your period come early?

Yes, traveling can sometimes cause your period to come early, just as it can cause a delay. The menstrual cycle is sensitive to various disruptions, and changes in routine, stress, and altered circadian rhythms associated with travel can influence the hormonal balance that regulates the menstrual cycle.

Last medically reviewed on August 23, 2023.