Period problems take many shapes. Here are some of the most common:
Irregular or unpredictable periods
Weight gain and/or weight loss resistance
No matter how period problems show up for you, they disrupt your quality of life. And they point to an underlying hormone imbalance—one that can be addressed with food and lifestyle strategies.
That’s right. There are specific, scientifically-backed strategies that will bring your hormones into harmony and erase your symptoms. You can think of it as a form of biohacking. Biohacking is the practice of using food, lifestyle, exercise, and targeted supplementation to enhance health, and you might have noticed that a lot of the people who are talking about biohacking are men. And that’s just fine… for men! Women can biohack, too, but we need strategies designed for our unique female physiology.
Today, I’ve gathered up the best strategies for women who want to optimize their hormone health, and their overall health. Here’s what I recommend:
Proven Strategies to Erase Period Problems
If you take the following steps, you will notice an improvement in your symptoms within three to six months. (If you don’t feel better, consult a trusted healthcare practitioner to rule out a clinical condition.
Healing Strategy #1: Practice The Cycle Syncing Method™ with food
Eating to ease period problems requires aligning your weekly meal plans with your 28-day cycle. Women have unique nutritional and energetic needs during each week of the month—unlike men, who can thrive by eating more or less the same way everyday—and you will look and feel your best when you match the vegetables, meats, plant proteins, fruits, and legumes you eat to your shifting hormonal needs. Think of it this way: as your hormones change, so does your menu!
If the idea of switching up what you eat each week feels challenging, start with my 4-Week Flo Food Challenge. And if you’re scratching your head (and maybe freaking out a little) because you don’t know what your hormones do or when, don’t panic! Use the MyFLO app to track your cycle and start eating cyclically.
Healing Strategy #2: Practice The Cycle Syncing Method™ with movement
To really optimize your hormonal health, you need to shift your workouts to fit your cycle in much the same way as you do your diet. Your body is primed for different kinds of activity across your cycle, just as its looking for different kinds of nutrition through each of the four phases. Ready to get started? Learn what type of exercise is right for each phase of your cycle here.
Healing Strategy #3: Detox the RIGHT way
If you suffer from hormone imbalances and period problems, it can be tempting to do an extreme detox. The severe restrictions and big promises (Lose 20 pounds overnight! Eliminate all the toxins from your body!) sound like a relief after suffering with hormone-related symptoms for so long. But deprivation plans and strict detoxes backfire for the vast majority of women. Severe calorie restrictions tax our already overburdened adrenal and endocrine systems—and make our hormone problems worse.
Don’t get me wrong: a detox can help, but it must be the right kind of detox, one that focuses on clearing the body of excess estrogen. Excess estrogen in the body (relative to progesterone) contributes to everything from severe PMS to PCOS.
If you want to detox estrogen, don’t do a juice fast or a cleanse. Do a gentle detox that supports the body’s elimination process by giving it all the nutrients it needs. If you want even more support in doing a safe, nourishing detox, I designed a 4-day Hormone Detox to kickstart your hormonal healing.
Healing Strategy #4: Be very careful with intermittent fasting (if you do it at all)
Most studies on fasting have been done on men and/or have shown mixed results for women. One study found that intermittent fasting helped improve insulin sensitivity in men, but women didn’t get the same benefit. (Good insulin sensitivity is essential for balanced hormones.) At the same time, the study showed that women’s ability to tolerate glucose actually got worse during intermittent fasting. Other research shows that fasting can have a negative effect on cortisol, insulin, estrogen, and progesterone— all the major hormonal players in your body!
Studies suggest that intermittent fasting can be very helpful for women (and men) with compromised cellular health (individuals with cancer and/or those going through chemotherapy), but for women in generally good health who are working to balance hormones and heal hormone-related symptoms, I don’t recommend fasting.
Healing Strategy #5: Don’t default to the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet, which is a high fat-low carbohydrate diet, is all the rage these days, but research suggests that it can mess with thyroid function— and thyroid health is absolutely essential for healthy hormone balance. Here’s where this biohack becomes sex specific: thyroid problems disproportionately affect women. It’s estimated that one in five women have a thyroid issue, and many of those cases are undiagnosed. If you’re trying to bring your hormones into balance, your best bet is to eat in line with your cycle—and leave the ketogenic diet for individuals with other health issues.
Healing Strategy #6: Ditch coffee
Upgraded coffee can work well for those who are efficient metabolizers of caffeine, but if you have period problems chances are more than good that you are not an efficient metabolizer. In my experience, caffeine is a no-go for women who want to optimize hormone health.
Caffeine can increase the development of benign breast disease. For women with PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and fibrocystic breasts, caffeine is a guaranteed way to make more cysts. Plus, caffeine mucks up hormone health in other ways, too. If you’re trying to solve your period problems, it helps to break this habit.
Healing Strategy #7: Ditch sugar
Sugar is bad for hormone health and bad for overall health. Say goodbye to sugary and high-glycemic foods and stick to high-fiber, high-phytonutrient whole foods that are rich in healthy proteins, fats, and complex carbs.
Healing Strategy #8: Supplement like a girl
Women have unique micronutrient needs, and we can’t expect optimal hormonal health—or optimal overall health—when we follow blanket supplement prescriptions. We need supplements tailored to our unique female physiology. Specifically:
While every woman should be supplementing with B vitamins, if you’re suffering from hormone imbalances, you’ll need to be extra aware of your intake. Research suggests that intake of vitamins like thiamine (B1) is inversely related to endometriosis. Another important type of B vitamin, folic acid, is known to be important in managing PCOS.
Magnesium is a must for women with hormone imbalances since it improves insulin sensitivity, which has widespread implications for the entire hormone system. And if you’ve ever suffered from hot flashes (whether you’re menopausal or not even close) magnesium has been shown to significantly reduce the symptoms.
If you’re suffering with fibroids or any hormone-related health condition, vitamin D is an absolute must. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that supplementing with vitamin D reduced the size of uterine fibroids. This may be especially essential for African American women since they’re 3-4 times more likely to develop fibroids and 10 times more likely to be deficient in vitamin D than white women. More generally, vitamin D acts like a master hormone in the body, which is what makes it so critical for all women with hormone imbalances.
Probiotics are a must: one study found that in just 12 weeks, probiotics helped significantly reduced endometriosis pain. I designed my FLO Balance supplements with women’s unique micronutrient needs in mind. They contain everything you need to supplement strategically for optimal hormonal health.
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.
Alissa, can you take the flo supplement vitamins when you are expecting?
My sister has pcos, went through a round of hormones to get pregnant, mission accomplished- but I’m worried about her still.
Would the supplements be the best bet?
No, the Balance Supplements should not be taken during pregnancy. Make sure she is getting regular checkups (starting earlier than 8 weeks) to check hormone levels, especially progesterone levels. She may need hormonal support during pregnancy if she has had low progesterone levels. The only supplement I can recommend would be a prenatal, as recommended by her doctor.
How do I practice the Cycle Syncing Method with food and with movement if I’ve had a missing period for a year and don’t know where I am in my cycle? What’s the best way to begin?
You can view some of the responses to this question above! Quickly: You can link your cycle to the moon: full moon is ovulation and new moon is day one of menstruation. Map it out from there. Then simply sync your diet to your cycle when it returns. You may need to support your adrenals and take a good look at your diet to make sure your blood sugar levels are remaining balanced throughout the day before your cycle will return. Let my team know how we can support you!
Dentist henderson nv says
Thank u for sharing.
I wasn’t disciplined enough to remember the pill.
I had the Mirina IUD inserted firstly after my daughter was born and then again after my son.
I don’t want to have anymore children.
I now don’t experience any period or symptoms. After listening to you on Jim Kwik’s podcast I feel like I’m muting this integral part of knowing what’s happening with my body. I can’t hear my natural intuition anymore.
Do you know of any women in this situation and what did they do?
I’m curious about this, as well. I have the mirena iud and would like to know how to go about sincing my cycle when I don’t have a period anymore, just some random spotting here or there.
I just started reading In the Flo and took v-sign quiz. I wanted to purchase the vitamins/supplements you offer but you don’t ship to Canada. Are you able to recommend what vitamins/supplements I can purchase elsewhere? Any help is appreciated
Monika Grover says
Amazing post. I have always faced this problem of irregular periods because I have PCOS. Earlier, I thought that I have PCOD then, my gynecologist told me that I have PCOS, not PCOD and she cleared me the difference between both PCOS and PCOD. Thanks for sharing this informative post. This will help all the girls who suffer from irregular periods
I am 44+ and I have not seen my period in over a year. Am I in menopause stage.
I was diagnosed with PMDD in 2009. I do not see any references to PMDD on your website?
Do you offer any separate recommendations regarding this topic?
I am 47 approaching peri menopause and it is getting worse. I also have Hashimoto’s
I’d love your feedback!
Ps. I took your V -test!
Alisa Vitti says
Hi Nicole, PMDD and other hormone imbalances are treated from a holistic standpoint – You may notice that I mention symptoms and how to understand the sources and then heal them. This is because rarely is a condition uniform for all women, but the causes of the imbalances are the same. Please reach out if you would like more support!
ANGELICA OFFUM says
my period is ceased for some years now , what can I do ,I have a child and i’m trying to conceive please help me
Sarah Taylor says
I turned 40 in March and my periods before that have pretty much been regular, falling on the same date of the month every month. When I get stressed they have been known to be anywhere from 10-20 days late. That being said ever since I turned 40 it was like something changed. My periods have not been every 30-31 days like they normally were. In March I came on the 42nd day. In April I came on the 29th day. In May I missed it all together and came on June 4 which was the 39th day. And now we are in July and I was scheduled to come on July 5 and I still haven’t, I’m on my 35th day now. I’m worried because I haven’t had kids yet and I don’t want to be going through peri-menopause. It’s so odd because my PMS symptoms are sooooo much better now. I used to have them bad! But my periods are all over the place. I was told this means I’m not ovulating every month. Should I seek medical help? I am currently taking a B complex, I3C, magnesium, probiotics, VitC and Zinc and protein powder. I am plant based. I am not sure if this is related to stress about my marriage not working and it possibly coming to an end. But I want so much to have a healthy flow and I don’t have any signs or symptoms of any female issues. Send help!
hi! I am 15 and I went to the gynocologist after having amenorrhea for more than 3 months (now around 5). My hormone levels are balanced however I am underweight (due to a restrictive eating disorder that ended last year, I would still get my period although irregularly but this year I became orthorexic for around 2 months and lost it completely). I eat a lot and follow my nutritionists orders and the gynecologist has actually told me to eat white rice, refined sugar, junk food because “I’m young” and can’t restrict myself from these foods even though Im not orthorexic anymore and just enjoy eating healthily. I eat very balanced and am never hungry, I have around 6 meals a day and do no cardio and only 3 hours of exercise per week. I have no idea why I cannot get my period back, I have gained some muscle and abdominal fat, still a tad underweight though. Does anyone know what I can do to get it back?? Thank you!
Cara Polus says
Mary, look up this @thisgirlaudra on instagram and YT, she will help you
Worry Wart says
I have missed a period for the first time. I am 40 years old fit as a fiddle. But in the last few weeks i drank coffee like mad (due to work). My hair looks horrible and i am not sure what to do. I am definitely not pregnant and i dont wish to conceive at any point in my life. Please can you advise ?
I have always been 7 days early on having my period been that way for years. I’m now 37 and I’m having a period just a week apart this month. What would help me to get my hormones balanced because I will not take birth control and I don’t want a hysterectomy just yet.
FLO Coach says
I would recommend you pick up a copy of Alisa Vitti’s book Woman Code – there are so many things you can do to heal and support your hormones to regulate your cycle! If you want to reach out you can also schedule a session with a coach here, whatever is easier for you.
XO, Christina – FLO Coach
Alisa – how do you practice cycle syncing with food and movement if you have no period and therefore do not know where you are in your cycle?
Hi Alisa. I’ve been very stress lately. Two weeks after the first day of my last period, I had a 2 days spotting. Then on the day 22 of my cycle, I had sex. Now, my period is late for 9 days and I had experienced nausea and migraine.
I’ve been taking Cerezette for about 10 years with a few breakthrough bleeds. But in October 2020, my periods re appeared even though I continue to take the pill. I have had smear an ultrasound, all clear.
They are mainly light, but irregular. Some lasting approx 2 weeks. The last one was a week with a weeks break and has just restarted.
I have lost 7kg in 4 months due to the herbalife & exercise plan I’m on an take some supplements.
The cramps can be unbareable. Any ideas?
I’m 41 and have been diagnosed with Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / early menopause. My AMH levels were essentially 0 in January 2020 (nearly 2 years ago now), and my FSH was 63, I believe. I haven’t had a period in about 11 months at this point (since Dec. 2020), though I did have a week of extremely light spotting in Oct 2021. I have a history of endometriosis and have had 4 excision surgeries for it. I’m currently in my second round of the balance supplements (probably about 3 months in) and have more recently been targeting my diet and trying to move more. What I want to know is if you think there’s any chance of getting my periods started again and if so what the #1 thing you’d recommend to do or take to get my ovaries back online. Thanks!