I started my first blog back in 2016 when I was going through a healing journey to recover my missing periods. Little did I know that this would be the trigger to transforming my whole life. Since then, I went back to school to study nutrition and trained as a yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. Now I help women overcome hormonal issues and rediscover their natural health and vitality. Today I want to share how to get your period back in 3 simple steps.
This is for those of you who have lost your periods due to Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. If you had regular periods and then your cycles stopped due to dieting, weight loss, intense exercise or stress then this post will explain how to get your period back.
How to get your period back after dieting
One of the main reasons that women lose their period is due to restrictive dieting. This can be either a sudden and dramatic decrease in calorie intake i.e. a crash diet. It can also happen after a long term smaller energy deficit, especially if you lose a lot of weight. When your body perceives that there is not enough energy coming in to meet it’s needs, it starts to panic. It doesn’t know that you are on a diet to lose weight for the summer or for your friend’s wedding. The poor thing thinks you are in a famine and wants to do everything it can to help you survive.
Your Hypothalamus is the master controller gland in your brain. It controls all of your metabolic processes by sending orders to other glands throughout your body. To conserve energy, your Hypothalamus tells your metabolism to down-regulate or shut down unnecessary processes. This can mean your core body temperature drops so you waste less energy as heat, leading to feeling cold all of the time. Your capacity to reproduce is not important during a famine when you need to survive. You stop sending the hormonal signals which produce your menstrual cycle.
So how to get your period back after dieting? The simple answer is to eat more! If you have been cutting calories, gradually increase your food intake to maintenance or higher. Your body cannot sustain a long period of intense dieting. If you are underweight or towards the lower end of the BMI scale, your body may not be happy and fertile at this weight. Or if you do have weight to lose, it’s better to diet in a cyclical way to help your body feel safe. Do you need help understanding how get your period back with food? Check out my period recovery meal plan where I have done all of the hard work for you.
How to get your period back after over exercise
Another common reason for women to lose their periods is due to over exercise. We are made to believe by the media and fitness industry that fit equals healthy. This is simply not true! You can be fit and unhealthy or equally healthy but unfit to a certain degree. Six pack abs, low body weight and endurance exercise all receive gold stars. However, women need a certain amount of body fat to be healthy and fertile. Female athletes often have a very low body fat percentage and many lose their periods as a result.
REDS (relative energy deficiency in sport) is when female athletes do not take in enough energy to meet their needs. Physical activity burns a lot of calories and so it is important for athletes to eat enough to fuel their sport. There is a lot of pressure for female athletes to stay thin either for practical reasons e.g. runners or aesthetic reasons e.g. ballerinas. This can lead to under eating over a long period of time. It is not only professional athletes that can experience this but also women who go to the gym regularly or participate in amateur sports.
So how to get your period back after over-exercise? You guessed it! Take a break from exercise and make sure you are fueling your body. It really is as simple as that. The amount of time your body needs to rest will depend on many factors. A months’ break from intense exercise is probably the minimum, although some women need several months to heal. Low intensity activities such as walking in nature and yoga can be helpful to maintain fitness during this time. Why not join my online yoga class and join a like minded community focusing on true health over aesthetics.
Often clients ask me how to get their period back whilst still exercising. It’s true that some women are able to get their period back when switching from cardio to more strength based training. The worst culprit seems to be endurance training such as long distance running. It varies from woman to woman so the best thing is to listen to your body. Rather than being afraid of losing fitness, see it as a holistic healing retreat and chance for your body to heal any injuries or damage to come back even stronger!
How to get your period back after stress
The final reason for losing your menstrual cycle can be due to stress. Again this can be either a short period of intense stress such as a traumatic event, losing a loved one or physical injury. It can also be a longer period of lower level stress such as an intense job, family issues or mental health struggles. Too much stress from any source can affect your nervous system and trigger your periods to stop.
How to get your period ack after stress? Often what’s needed is patience. It’s first important to reduce the stresses in your life. You can do this my removing yourself from the stressful situation, finding resources to help you deal with the problem or by changing your perspective and mindset. Start by making a list of all the things you feel are stressful in your life. Then one by one decide whether you can do something about it or not.
For those you cannot change, ensure that you have enough support either from family or professionals such as a therapist or counselor. You can also use personal tools such as meditation, journaling, breathwork or spending time in nature to reduce stress. Sometimes our reaction to a situation can be more stressful than the event itself. For example, if we get ourselves worked up about starting a new job. Or if we let our self care slide following a period of change or uncertainty (ahem – the pandemic). So be sure to check in on your mindset and thinking patterns regularly.
My experience with missing periods
Personally, I lost my periods for 8 years due to a combination of all of these things. I was under-eating, over-exercising and putting too much pressure on myself to perform in school and work. I was a classic Type A personality and I wanted to be the best. Needing to be the thinnest, the smartest and the most successful led to A LOT of anxiety and mental strain.
Luckily, I discovered feminine energy yoga and resources for self-therapy. Over a few years I was able to let go of old limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits. Once I truly committed and went “all in” to the healing journey, I recovered my period after 4 months. It has been somewhat regular for the 5 years since. Tracking my cycles has helped me to see the impact of my lifestyle habits and external stress on my hormones. It’s so fascinating to me now – our bodies truly are amazing!
To recap: how to get your period back in 3 simple steps:
- Stop all restrictive dieting, eat enough for your body and nutritious food
- Take a break from intense exercise, especially endurance exercise such as running
- Reduce the stresses in your life and find tools to help you manage stress you can’t change
I hope this was helpful for those of you currently trying to get your period back. It can be a challenging time but also a beautiful period of transformation. I promise, the freedom you experience on the other side is so worth it!
Over to you…
If you would like to work with me to balance your hormones and improve your health, contact me to set up a free 15 minute discovery call. I am a nutritionist, yoga teacher and women’s wellness coach. We work together using a combination of modalities to support your individual needs and help you to feel your best.
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