Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level





Ballentine, Hope

Committee Member/Reader

Osborne, Cara



Reproductive health is an important indicator of a woman’s overall health; however, menstruation is often viewed negatively in modern society. Across the nation, women are suffering with issues related to hormones and menstruation. Evidence continues to surface linking high levels of stress to negative health outcomes. The purpose of this literature review is to assess the effects of stress and stress reduction of the menstrual cycle in naturally-cycling women of reproductive age.


Peer-reviewed research within the past five years was selected for this review using the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. A variety of search terms were used to conduct this review and inclusion criteria were: articles published in English; a clearly evident peer review process; the authors addressed stress or determinants of stress; participants for each study were of reproductive age, non-pregnant, and pre-menopausal; and the authors related stress to menstrual characteristics. Twenty-two articles were originally selected based on the inclusion criteria, but after further investigation, only ten were selected for the full review based on their focus on the desired topic.


Stress negatively impacts various characteristics of the menstrual cycle. While women and healthcare providers may have some understanding of the negative impacts of stress on general health, they are likely unaware of the specific negative effect on menstruation. Stress reduction and the use of prescribed coping mechanisms can reduce the occurrence of morbidity resulting from the negative impact of stress on menstruation. Health practitioners should encourage healthy self-care habits and coping mechanisms in order to promote wellness and improve quality of life for women of reproductive age. Further studies should be done to determine which habits and coping mechanisms will prove most effective in improving outcomes.


Menstrual cycle, menstruation, menarche, stress, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder