You’re young, you’re active, and you have no plans to get pregnant soon, so when your period stopped coming, you weren’t too worried. Maybe you even thought, Well, this is kinda great... no messy period to deal with!
But no period means no ovulation—and ovulation is part of a healthy hormone cycle. A missing period is a sign of a hormonal imbalance, or trouble brewing beneath the surface. It’s a problem that you need to take seriously, whether you ever plan to get pregnant or not.
Ovulation is a key indicator of a woman’s overall health and not ovulating can bring a host of unpleasant symptoms, including acne, weight loss resistance, bloating, headaches, and mood swings. The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists considers the menstrual cycle a vital sign, like blood pressure and temperature.
And if you do hope to have kids one day, getting your period back is absolutely essential. The longer you go without one, the more you put your future fertility in danger.
Where did your period go?
There are some well-known, “textbook” reasons that periods disappear, like pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
There’s also engaging in too much exercise. Many women think a hard workout everyday is healthy, but there can be too much of a good thing. Extreme exercise can tip you into hormonal imbalance. So can eating too little and/or being underweight. Finally, a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), in which cysts grow on your ovaries, can stop ovulation in young women.
One of the top triggers for missing periods is coming off hormonal birth control. And stopping the pill doesn’t guarantee that your period will come right back. In fact, without making a concentrated effort through food and lifestyle modifications, many women who quit the pill do not start bleeding again for months or years.
What If Your Period is Missing, but You Don’t Have One of the Main “Causes”?
There are less talked about (but no less real) causes of missing or irregular periods, including stress. Chronic stress raises cortisol and messes up blood sugar, which disrupts ovulation. Studies also show that women with stressful jobs are at double the risk for anovulation (not ovulating) and menstrual cycle variability. Other research shows that women with high levels of stress around the time of ovulation have a harder time getting pregnant.
The blood sugar roller coaster, when your blood sugar is constantly going up and down thanks to eating high-sugar and refined carbohydrate foods, can also fuel missing or irregular periods. Imbalanced blood sugar is linked to infertility, and diabetes drugs like Metformin are often prescribed to women with PCOS to trigger ovulation. If you are considering taking Metformin for PCOS or infertility, I strongly recommend regulating your blood sugar levels with the FLO protocol and prepping your body for a healthy pregnancy ahead of time. You may discover you don’t need the drugs. (It’s also worth noting that, for many of the women I’ve worked with, Metformin hasn’t worked at all.)
Here’s How to Get Your Period Back
Bringing your period back online is something you can do with nutrition and lifestyle modifications. I’ve seen women who haven’t had periods in years engage the FLO Protocol and start bleeding in three to four months. With the right lifestyle and nutrition changes, this could become your story, too!
Your journey to reclaim your period should always start with what’s on your dinner plate, and for more on how to eat to balance your hormones and get your back your period, go here, here, and here.
I also recommend these three key strategies:
- Take self-care seriously. The more stressed you are (and who isn’t?), the harder you need to work to manage and mitigate stress. If you’ve been meaning to get back to your Yoga or Pilates class, do it today. Make sure you schedule dedicated non-work time—write it into your planner if you have to!—and engage in leisure activities you love. Some stresses in life aren’t modifiable (sick children or caring for elderly parents), but some are—perhaps certain friendships are no longer serving you and you can let them go or maybe the time is right to make a job switch? Scan your life for stressors you can change, and then do so!
- Get off the blood sugar roller coaster. The single best (and side effect-free!) way to address blood sugar problems is with food. Emphasize healthy complex (and non-gluten) carbs, eat enough healthy, high-quality fats and proteins, and make sure you front-load non-starchy vegetables in all colors of the rainbow. One great tip for keeping blood sugar steady all day is to eat a low-glycemic breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up. And remember: sugar hides out in a lot of processed foods—even ones you wouldn’t expect. So read labels carefully, and stick to whole foods when you can.
- Go to bed earlier! Hormones are hugely affected by sleep—or, more specifically, by lack thereof. The 24-hour circadian cycle has a direct influence on, and is directly influenced by, our bodies master hormones. When we’re short on sleep, it’s almost impossible to get our hormones balanced. So make sleep a priority tonight (and every night!).
If you are someone struggling with your period, now you know that change is possible! We’d love to hear what you’re struggling with and we’d love to help. Email us at [email protected] to connect with us for a consultation. You’ll get symptom analysis and feedback and direct, actionable tips to take your hormonal healing into your own hands.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
Is Your Period Healthy?
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign – your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.