Have your period and ovulation been missing without a trace for months and maybe even years? Then it could be that you have something called hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA) . HA is a condition that arises from you taking in too little food and nutrition for a long time, too much exercise in relation to food and recovery and/or too much stress. Today we dive deep into how you can get your missed period back through your lifestyle.
Hello, where is my period?
If you have missed periods as a result of hypothalamic amenorrhea (HA), it is often possible to get your menstrual cycle back naturally . When you have a missed period (absent ovulation), it is your body's way of signaling that it does not have enough resources to prioritize ovulation and your menstrual cycle. The longer you have been without ovulation, the longer it will likely take to get back to ovulation and your menstrual cycle. Before we delve into how you can get your period back, we recommend starting by reading what missed periods and hypothalamic amenorrhea mean and potential causes .
Why is it important to get back ovulation and menstrual cycle in HA?
Being without ovulation for a long time means that the body does not create enough of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen has many functions, including protecting the body against osteoporosis. When you have low levels of estrogen for a long time, it can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis either now, which can for example be expressed in the form of an increased risk of injury for athletes, but it can also show up later in life. Getting ovulation back has many positive effects which, in addition to protection against osteoporosis, include increased energy, sex drive, strength, energy, quality of life and luster in skin and hair. With low estrogen, you can often experience dry mucous membranes and reduced sex drive, so getting ovulation back comes with many wonderful effects!
How can I get my missed period back naturally?
Getting your missed ovulation and thus period back with HA often involves eating more, exercising less, gaining weight and dealing with stress (internal and external). It may seem like a tough challenge, but remember that you don't have to make the journey alone and it can be very helpful to have professional help to get all the pieces in place. When it comes to missed periods that are lifestyle-related, it is usually not only about the food, exercise or the body itself, but it is rooted in something deeper that needs to be healed, such as a dysfunctional relationship to food, body and exercise that is often rooted in self-esteem. Below we will go into different parts of your lifestyle that can naturally help you get back to regular ovulation and get your missed period back.
Eat enough food every day
First of all, it is important to give the body enough food and energy every day . Skipping meals is not an option as it does not signal to the body that it is safe. It's not just about getting breakfast, lunch and dinner, but you also need to make sure you eat enough at each meal. You need to get a mix of fat, protein and carbohydrates and enough calories for your body to feel confident enough to prioritize your fertility over just focusing on survival. An important reminder is that you cannot get your ovulation or menstrual cycle back on an energy deficit, and many times you need to eat a lot more than you think!
Increase your fat intake
Many women have grown up (unconsciously or consciously) with a fear of fat. We've been fed that fat makes us fat when in fact the opposite is largely true. Quality fat is essential for your ovulation to function. You need fat to be able to produce and balance your hormones. By eating fat, you also stabilize blood sugar, which in turn affects other hormones. It also helps the body repair itself, reduce inflammation, cleanse the liver of leftover and used-up hormones and absorb certain vitamins and minerals.
A study highlighted in the book The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack found that women who were put on a low-fat diet were more likely to ovulate late or absent than women who went on a high-fat diet. Your sex hormones; estrogen, progesterone and testosterone are created from cholesterol so you need to get enough fat in every meal.
May need to gain weight
Many women heal their missed period/HA by gaining weight (as they are often low in fat percentage and/or weight). Many feel that this can be one of the most challenging steps as it often means that the body changes when you gain weight. It's not unusual for women who have HA to recognize themselves in having a dysfunctional relationship with food, body and exercise, which makes this step extra challenging, but we promise, it's worth it . Remind yourself why you are doing it – because you want a healthy and strong body that can function for as long as possible. Your worth is not in your size, weight, or what your body looks like (even though society often leads us to believe that). Sometimes it doesn't even have to be about big changes in weight or body, so don't focus on your body but rather on getting enough food, rest and recovery. It will give you so many other positive effects such as increased quality of life, energy, sex drive, strength and luster in skin and hair.
Reduce or change the way you exercise
Changing the way you exercise and in some cases reducing exercise can be an important aspect when getting your missed period back. To get ovulation back, your body needs to feel safe, which you achieve by having enough resources in the form of eating enough and reducing any stressors. Exercise is magical in many ways, but exercise can be experienced as a type of physical stress for the body. Therefore, physical activity can be a stressor, especially if you experience a lot of stress in your life in combination with eating too little in relation to what you get rid of and how much recovery you get.
If you feel a lot of resistance from reading this and feel "no I'm not going to remove the training, it's the best I know" this may be exactly what you need. It is usually what we feel most attached to and cling to the most that we need to let go of, or at least change our relationship with.
In a healing process to bring back missed ovulation and menstruation, our experts testify that they have often seen in their clients how it can be beneficial to reduce high-intensity training such as HIT sessions, interval training but also mile-long runs as it often contributes to stress. This is something one of our Womensync founders also experienced. When the body is stressed (even if you yourself think that run makes you calm and harmonious, it does not mean that your body does) it will do anything but prioritize your fertility. Some cut out exercise altogether to heal their relationship with exercise and understand that nothing happens when you don't exercise. Others replace training sessions with, for example, quieter walks, yoga, meditation or strength training.
Meditating, seeing a coach, yoga, doing breathing exercises, painting or going for regular massages can be great tools, the important thing is to find ways that suit you and help you deal with what is stressing you. The body does not know the difference if you are being chased by a bear or that you have thoughts of not being enough, anxiety that you think you ate "too much", about to break up with your partner or something else. Therefore, it is important to find tools for how you can work with the internal and external stress you experience in your life. Prioritizing recovery is one of the most important parts of getting your period back. Only you know what recovery is for you, it could be going for a walk in the forest, spinning, baking or listening to music. Bring in more of the things that make you relax, have fun, be in the moment and enjoy!
Release the perfectionist in you
Striving for perfection has made many women sick. In the society we live in, it is easy to strive for perfection in all areas of our lives such as in work, family, how our home looks but also when it comes to weight and how we look. The first and most important step is to become aware and there you are now (cheers!). We are only human and perfection is not something we are made to achieve, moreover perfection is subjective. Constantly striving for perfection leads to stress in every way - because you are never satisfied. Perfection does not exist - but YOU do. You deserve to be healthy and well – and an important part of being healthy is having a menstrual cycle. So once and for all, put yourself first and let the perfectionist within you gradually take less place in your life. Just practice and practice every time it comes up. Allow the thought to come (observe without reacting) but don't offer it tea. As you practice this, it will slowly but surely take up less space when it doesn't get as much attention.
Could I Get My Period Back, Can You!
One of us who founded Womensync, Susanna (who is writing this post), has herself gone through a healing process with missed periods. The journey has been long and it hasn't been smooth sailing - but I promise you it is possible to get your ovulation and menstrual cycle back. My missed period started to become regular when my body got what it needed in terms of enough energy, food and the type of food I ate, when I changed the way I exercised combined with several other parts of my lifestyle such as more recovery. Recovery doesn't have to mean lying on the sofa, but rather doing things we feel good about, time to just be and let go of all the demands that exist.
I won't pretend it was challenging because it has. In my healing process, I have abandoned much of what I thought was "healthy", such as what kind of food to eat, how the body should look, how to live. Instead of living in a way that is considered "right" from society's perspective, I have had to go into myself, practice paying attention and listening to what exactly my body signals and feels good about. A big lesson is that many times there is a big difference in our mind, that is, what we think we need and what our body actually needs . The best thing about this journey has been that my whole relationship with my body, exercise and food has changed. Nowadays, I have a relationship that is mostly filled with freedom and love instead of fears, musts or limitations. If I could , so can you.
Did you like this post?
Then we can advise you to read (and listen to) the following:
I have missed periods - is it hypothalamic amenorrhea?
High-intensity training and running linked to the menstrual cycle with Jenny Koos
How lifestyle factors such as caffeine, too little food and veganism can affect the menstrual cycle with Jenny Koos
Podcast Episode #5 with Susanna: Missed Menstruation, Lifestyle Change and Holistic Health .
Note: This blog post is for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure. If you have health problems, it is important to discuss them with an expert. We work closely with the Livakliniken , which is run by one of Womensync's external experts, Maria Särén, where you can turn if you are looking for advice. Please state "Womensync" when booking.
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The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson-Jack