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Can Infection Stop Menstruation?

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The menstrual cycle is a natural and complex process controlled by the female hormones responsible for regular bleeding; however, can infection stop menstruation?

Menstruation is a delicate interaction of hormonal changes in the female body. Although menstruation might be unpleasant and come with uncomfortable symptoms, it is crucial to female reproductive health.

Key points:

  • Menstruation is important in a woman’s life, as it signals good reproductive health. Infections can mess with the menstruation cycle.
  • According to how the human body functions, your immune system is usually able to repel any infection or invader, but when it fails, the bacteria or any invader organism grow and cause an infection that affects the reproductive organs.
  • Your menstrual cycle has an enormous amount of health-related information about you. Observe your menstrual cycle and know what to do if there are unusual patterns.
  • You can track your menstrual cycle by recording it on a calendar to learn what is normal for you. To determine the regularity of your periods, start by recording your start date each month for a few consecutive months.
  • If you notice any drastic change in your menstrual cycle or have missed your period three times in a row without being pregnant or experiencing menopause, Talk to an Expert Gynaecologist on KompleteCare. 

A skipped period might come as a relief, but it is a cause for alarm. In most cases, a delayed period is due to pregnancy, so a delayed or missed period might not bode well for sexually active women who are not ready to conceive. 

However, pregnancy isn’t always the cause. A late or missed period can signal an underlying health condition. 

A healthy reproductive system equates to a regular menstrual cycle in women. But various health conditions affect this natural process of menstruation, and infection is a potential factor that can muddle the process and cause irregularities.

A complex relationship exists between menstruation and infections, and different infections impact the body differently. But can infection stop menstruation?

This article discusses the relationship between infection and ceased menstruation and explores the mechanism behind this belief. By providing a clearer understanding of the effects of infection on the menstrual cycle, this article highlights whether or not infection can stop menstruation.  

Understanding the Menstrual Cycle

Menstruation is a female cycle that occurs when the endometrium (uterus lining) sheds. This cycle occurs throughout a woman’s life monthly and typically starts at 12 years. For each cycle, the endometrium thickens to accommodate a fetus by increasing estrogen and progesterone levels. When fertilization doesn’t occur as it should, the endometrium sheds, along with the mucus and blood from the cervix, which consists of the blood of menstrual flow.

On average, a menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but the length can vary, especially during the first two years when a woman sees her first period called menarche. Some cycles may be as long as 35 days or as short as 21 days. You should speak with a doctor if you experience anything outside of these parameters.

What is an infection?

Before delving into the question, can infection stop menstruation? Let’s have a clear understanding of what an infection really is.

When bacteria, fungi, or a virus invade your body and cause disease or harm, it is called an infection. These infectious microorganisms (pathogens) use your body as a base to sustain, rapidly multiply, and colonise, thereby causing diseases that manifest in different aspects of the body.

The microscopic organisms can manoeuvre and override some defense mechanisms sent out by the body’s immune system. Now the microorganisms get to your body system in numerous ways, such as through bodily fluid transfer, skin contact, inhaling particles, touching feces, consuming contaminated food or water, and an object or persons with the pathogens.

Remarkably, there are pathogens that have little or no influence on the body. Some variants cause modest infections, while others cause life-threatening infections. Also, note that the rapid increase and impact of infection on the body depend solely on the kind of pathogen.

Viruses are known to be smaller than bacteria, and they invade and engulf the body cells. Bacteria can exist in the absence of a host. That is to say, pathogens exist in different shapes, sizes, functions, DNA content, and ways they impact the body.

Can Infection Stop Menstruation? -Infections that Affect the Menstrual Cycle

Can infection stop menstruation?
Can Infection Stop Menstruation? 5

Infections in females are more common than you think and hurt the reproductive tract. The earlier you notice the symptoms of infection (especially during menstruation), the better. According to how the human body functions, your immune system is usually able to repel any infection or invader, but when it fails, the bacteria or any invader organism grow and cause an infection that affects the reproductive organs.

The symptoms of infection during menstruation manifest differently. However, common signs and symptoms of infection during menstruation include:

  • Difference in vaginal discharge. These include changes in odour, texture, and colour of the vaginal discharge. Vaginal discharge with a foul smell and a green, grey, or yellow (thick) texture is a sign of infection.
  • Vaginal/abdominal discomfort, pain, and soreness.
  • Increased and heavier bleeding. Infections like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) can lead to unusually prolonged and heavier bleeding.
  • Irritation, itching, and swelling of the vulva.
  • Painful burning sensation while urinating or having sex.
  • Fever with flu-like symptoms.

These symptoms can be quite challenging to recognize, making it difficult to get the proper treatment they need. Therefore, you must first identify the infection you’re dealing with.  

Yeast Infection

Yeast infection, or vaginal candidiasis, is a fungal infection that affects the vaginal area and is caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida. Yeast is a type of fungus, and candida is a particular type of yeast. A fungus is a multicellular parasite that uses enzymes to absorb organic matter. A healthy vagina has a balanced (friendly) bacteria and yeast level.

When the yeast and bacteria levels in the vagina become unbalanced, i.e., when the natural vaginal PH or flora changes or gets muddled, the yeast overgrows rapidly, leading to yeast infection. 

Common symptoms that manifest in the vagina and vulva include severe itching, irritation, thick lumpy white discharge, redness, swelling, pain, discomfort, and disruption of the menstrual cycle.

Can yeast infection stop my period? 

Can yeast infection stop my period?

No scientific evidence shows that a yeast infection can delay or stop your menstruation. So, if you experienced a yeast infection and a delayed period, it’s most likely a coincidence. However, in the days before menstruation, high estrogen levels can build up and cause the candida to overgrow. 

Factors Contributing to Yeast Infections

  • Use of certain steroids, antibiotics, and birth control pills like oral or hormonal contraceptives.
  • Unmanaged or uncontrolled diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Weak immune system
  • Unprotected sex with an infected partner
  • Wearing tight or wet underwear, scented tampons, or vaginal deodorant
  • Douching

How can I prevent Yeast Infections?

With a few lifestyle changes here and there, you can reduce the risk of a yeast infection. Apply the following hygiene to ward of yeast infections: 

  • Change sanitary pads or tampons every 6-8 hours
  • Avoid douching. Douching kills the bacteria that control fungus
  • Limit the consumption of sugary and spicy food. They help yeast thrive in the body
  • Always wipe from front to back
  • Keep the vulva clean and dry
  • Avoid tight underwear. Wear breathable or loose underwear and clothes.
  • Avoid scented tampons and feminine deodorants.
  • Change out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
  • Use water-based sexual lubricants
  • Control your blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.

It is worth noting that yeast infection symptoms share similarities with other conditions. To this effect, consult a doctor or healthcare provider to make sure you are treating the right condition.

Can Infection Stop Menstruation?
Can Infection Stop Menstruation? 6

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria enter the urethra during (unprotected) sexual activity. UTIs are common among women who are of reproductive age and sexually active. Although the opening of the urethra is right in front of the vagina, UTIs do not directly impact your reproductive organs or menstrual cycle. 


Can UTIs stop menstruation? 

As the name implies, UTIs only affect the urinary tract. It may extend into the upper urinary tract and cause a kidney infection, which is even more terrible. Nevertheless, UTIs do not delay or stop your period. 

UTIs are painful and can cause burning and induce stress. So, if it seems that a UTI is delaying or messing with your period, it may be that the actual cause is stress (from the infection) rather than the infection itself. A 2015 study found that high levels of stress are associated with menstrual irregularities. Similarly, a review also revealed that stress impairs the ovarian and menstrual cycle. 

How do I prevent UTIs?

  • Drink plenty of water. This will cause you to urinate, expelling the bacteria from the urinary tract before an infection occurs.
  • Urinate after sex.
  • Avoid douching and using sprays, deodorants, or powder on your genitals.
  • Wipe from front to back. This will prevent the spread of bacteria from the anus to the vagina and urethra.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of one or more of a woman’s upper reproductive organs, including the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. PID is usually caused by common STDs, such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia, and other non-sexually transmitted infections. If left untreated, scar tissue and pockets of infected fluid can develop in the reproductive tract, permanently damaging the reproductive organs. Depending on its severity, PID may or may not affect a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Common causes of PID

  • Sexual activity at age 25 or younger
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Untreated STIs
  • Unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Regular douching
  • A history of PIDs or STIs
  • Insertion of an intrauterine device (IUD). This small increased risk is limited to the first three weeks after a doctor inserts it in the uterus.

How can I prevent PID? 

  • Protected sex. Use condoms (the right way) every time you have sex. 
  • Test regularly for STIs
  • Avoid douching
  • Ensure your sexual partner is tested and infection-free 
  • Stick to one uninfected sexual partner.

Bacterial vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial vaginosis (BV) occurs when there is an imbalance between the natural beneficial and harmful bacteria in the vagina. It is not a sexually transmitted infection.

(STI), but it does increase the risk of contracting an STI like chlamydia.

BV is a common cause of unusual vaginal discharge, discomfort, and pain in the vagina. When the bacterial levels are balanced, the vagina remains healthy. The good bacteria (lactobacilli) outnumber the bad bacteria (anaerobes), but when too many bad bacteria grow, it creates an imbalance and results in BV.

Causes of BV

  • Multiple sex partners
  • A new sex partner
  • Douching
  • Low level of lactobacilli bacteria
  • Unprotected sex

How can BV be prevented?

  • Avoid douching
  • Wipe from front to back
  • Stick to one (or few) sex partners
  • Protected sex. Use latex condoms or dental dams.

Other Factors That Cause Irregular Menstruation 

Usually, your menstrual cycle occurs every 28 days, but it can range from 21 to 35 days. On average, the menstrual cycle lasts 29 days. If your period varies slightly from cycle to cycle, your period is regular. Irregular menstruation includes:

  • A period cycle occurs in less than 21 days or more than 35 days.
  • Unusually heavier or lighter bleeding.
  • Periods longer than seven days.
  • Three or more periods were missed in a row.
  • Severe cramps, nausea, or vomiting during menstruation.
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods or after sex.
  • Using more than one sanitary pad or tampon in one hour.

Several factors affect irregular menstruation, ranging from lifestyle choices to medical conditions. A study outlined some factors that contribute to irregular menstruation as follows:

  • Eating disorders (bulimia or anorexia nervosa).
  • Too much exercise.
  • Under secretion or over-secretion of the thyroid hormone (thyroid dysfunction).
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Hormonal birth control pills.
  • Asherman’s syndrome (scarred uterine cavity). 
  • Perimenopause.
  • Elevated levels of the prolactin hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland.
  • Elevated levels of the cortisol hormone, which the body produces in response to stress (Cushing’s syndrome).
  • Late-onset congenital adrenal hyperplasia (problem with the adrenal gland).
  • Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs).
  • Medications like those for epilepsy or mental conditions.

Medical and lifestyle factors that can affect menstruation include:

  • Endometriosis. abnormal growth of the endometrial tissue, which grows outside the uterus. It can cause severe abdominal pain, cramps, and abnormal bleeding.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This is when the ovaries produce androgens (a type of hormone) in large quantities. Androgens delay or prevent ovulation, which leads to irregular menstruation.
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency. This occurs in women under 40 whose ovaries don’t work correctly, causing irregular or missed periods.
  • Thyroid or pituitary gland disorders 
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Uterine cancer or ovarian cancer
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Stress
  • Miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Surgery, scarring, or blockages in your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

Health Conditions that Stop Menstruation

  • Pregnancy.
  • Menopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Amenorrhoea
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Genital tract defects
  • Pituitary gland dysfunction

Frequently asked questions

  1. How can I reduce the possibility of experiencing irregular periods (menstruation)?

You can lower the risk of having irregular periods by practicing good self-care, such as:

  • Indulge in a healthy lifestyle by eating an adequate diet and engaging in moderate exercise. Gradually lose weight if your body mass index (BMI) is high.
  • Do not indulge in strenuous workouts.
  • Change your sanitary pads or tampons every four to six hours to prevent infections and toxic shock syndrome.
  • As an adult, ensure that you have 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Certain levels of stress are good for our body’s mechanisms to function optimally; however, excessive counterproductive stress should be avoided or reduced minimally.
  • Ensure you get frequent check-ups with your doctor or gynaecologist.

2. How do I keep tracks of my menstrual cycle?

Your menstrual cycle has an enormous amount of health-related information about you. Observe your menstrual cycle and know what to do if there are unusual patterns.

You can track your menstrual cycle by recording it on a calendar to learn what is normal for you. To determine the regularity of your periods, start by recording your start date each month for a few consecutive months.

Final date: How long does your menstruation usually last? Is it unusually long or short?

Flow: Note how heavy your period bleeding was. Does it flow heavier or lighter than normal? How frequently do you need to replace your pad or tampon? Were there any blood clots?

Irregular bleeding: Do you bleed in between your menstrual cycle?

Pain: Describe any period-related pain you experience. Is the pain more intense than usual? However, it is normal to experience some pain or cramps during your menstrual cycle.

Any other changes: Has your behaviour changed in any way? Around the time you observed changes in your periods, did anything new occur?

3. Can antibiotics delay my menstruation cycle?

The main reason antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections like urinary tract an infection is because they inhibit or kill bacteria. In treating lower tract UTIs, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics that can be taken orally; however, antibiotics do not affect the hormones that are in charge of monthly ovulation and menstruation.

The antibiotics listed below are commonly used to treat lower urinary tract infections, and they do not in any way delay your period:

  • Ceftriaxone
  • Nitrofurantoin
  • Fosfomycin
  • Cephalexin
  • Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

Your period may be delayed with rifampin, an antibiotic that is normally used together with trimethoprim to treat UTIS. It may affect the hormone levels in your body. Also, having UTI does not stop your menstruation, but the stress that comes with UTI can cause some delays in your menstruation.

4. Can my menstrual cycle make me susceptible to infection?

High stress can affect you in many ways, including your menstrual cycle. What happens is that the estrogen level in your body is lower during the menstrual cycle. And estrogen is known for its anti-inflammatory qualities; in that case, the higher the levels of estrogen in your body, the less susceptible to developing a UTI.

You may be susceptible to developing an infection close to your period; this is due to a reduced level of estrogen at that time. Then, if you also include stress in any way close to the time of menstruation, your period may be delayed. The hormone estrogen helps enhance the good bacteria called lactobacillus. The pH levels in your vagina are in harmony due to the effective function of lactobacillus, which keeps bad bacteria in check.

5. Can infection cause bleeding between periods?

Any bleeding that happens when your period has ended or before the start of your next period can be referred to as bleeding between periods, or metrorrhagia. If this bleeding comes out light, it is called spotting, and sometimes it could flow heavily like your normal period. Some factors can contribute to experiencing bleeding between periods, like injury or hormonal changes.

Some of the factors listed below can cause bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia):

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Chlamydia is one of the STIs that can cause vaginal bleeding between periods. Chlamydia is commonly known to cause bleeding after or during sex.

Injury: during penetrative sex, injury can be caused in the vagina, sometimes due to insufficient natural lubricants the vagina produces, resulting in a dry vagina. Dry vagina during sex can be caused by not enough arousal or hormonal changes coming from menopause, diabetes, or cancer therapy.

Polyps: When there are polyp growths in the vagina or cervix, they can cause bleeding, and in most cases, they are removed surgically by the doctor.

Emergency contraception: taking some emergency contraceptive pills in the form of an IUD or morning after pill can cause bleeding between periods. Read more on emergency contraception here.

Hormonal contraceptives: hormonal contraceptives can cause bleeding between periods. Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) may cause bleeding that can adjust as time goes on. Bleeding between periods that is caused by hormonal contraceptives can occur from heavy flow to light flow, but in any case, ensure you contact a gynaecologist if the bleeding is heavy.

The best advice from the gynaecologist is to reduce the bleeding or stop it all together by changing to another form of contraception. The hormonal contraceptives can be found in the form of an IUD, a birth control patch, a contraceptive implant, a vaginal ring, and a contraceptive pill.

Now can infection cause bleeding between periods? yes, but can infection stop menstruation? No.

6. Who is most at risk of getting infectious diseases?

There is no one exempt from getting an infectious disease. You may be vulnerable to getting infectious diseases when you are in contact with a person or a place with particular diseases that are highly transmissible or when your body’s immune system is weak. Nonetheless, individuals at high risk of infectious disease are:

  • Pregnant women, young children, and elderly people over the age of 60.
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Unvaccinated people, especially against some infectious diseases
  • People on immunosuppressant drugs or infections, such as cancer patients and HIV patients.
  • People visiting places that harbour highly transmissible diseases.
  • What are the outcomes after treatment for infectious diseases?

7. What are the outcomes after treatment for infectious diseases?

When treatments are administered against infectious diseases, people get better, but sometimes with respiratory diseases, serious complications might arise. Sexually transmitted diseases can lead to infertility and cancer; therefore, endeavour to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others as well.

Some healthy people can be at high risk of severe complications from infectious diseases, just like people with a suppressed immune system.


Essi, C. (2023). Can infection stop menstruation?

Okeke, G. O. (2023). Irregular periods (menstruation)- Causes and home remedies to regulate your cycle.

Nagma, S., Kapoor, G., Bharti, R., Batra, A., Batra, A., Aggarwal, A., & Sablok, A. (2015). To Evaluate the Effect of Perceived Stress on Menstrual Function. Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, 9(3), QC01.

Edozien, Leroy C. Mind over matter: psychological factors and the menstrual cycle. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology 18(4):p 452-456, August 2006. | DOI: 10.1097/

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Claire Essi

Claire Essi is a health researcher and freelance health content creator. As a health and wellness junkie, she enjoys all things related to quality lifestyle and healthy living.

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