The relationship between mood states, urinary stress hormone output (adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol) and adequacy of the menstrual cycle was examined in 120 recorded non-conception cycles from 34 women. It was hypothesized that women with higher stress levels would be more likely to experience abnormal cycles and that within women higher stress levels would positively relate to follicular phase length and inversely relate to luteal phase length. There was a non-significant trend for women to report higher stress levels during oligomenorrhoeic and unclear cycles compared with normal cycles. Analysis of covariance indicated that there was no consistent relationship between the measures of stress used here and follicular or luteal phase length within women. There was also no consistent pattern of relationship between reported mood states and stress hormone excretion within women. Further research is warranted to understand the role of stress and subtle menstrual cycle abnormalities in female fertility.
PIP: These analyses were concerned with the effect of psychosocial stress on subtle menstrual cycle abnormalities, such as anovulatory cycles, delayed ovulation and luteal phase defects. The relationship between mood states, urinary stress hormone output (adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol) and adequacy of the menstrual cycle was examined in 120 recorded non-conception cycles of 34 women. It was assumed that if stress contributed to cycle abnormalities, stress levels would be higher in abnormal cycles than in normal ones. The two-way variance analysis showed no statistically significant difference among normal cycles, short luteal phase cycles and combined oligomenorrheic cycles; it did not show showed clear pattern cycles for any of the urinary hormone excretion rates. Short luteal phase length is associated with decreased progesterone secretion, which has important implications for female fertility. Overall, though, the initial hypothesis that abnormal cycles would relate to higher levels of stress for individual women was not supported.